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Cartagena Urges Citizens To Seek Police Protection Shot Put Medalist Going On The Road Soldiers Return Home From Kuwait Navy Moves Southern Command To Mayport Medina Announces Lawsuit vs. Marc Anthony/Anuncia Angelo Medina intención de demandar a Marc Anthony
Superintendent Urges Citizens To Seek Police Protection
By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News
April 27, 2004
The 12 killings that were reported during the weekend prompted Police Superintendent Agustin Cartagena on Tuesday to reiterate his call for more citizen cooperation to prevent crime and solve murder cases in Puerto Rico.
The police chief noted the importance of citizens role in crime solving and prevention efforts. He remembered that thanks to community cooperation the police were able to solve the double murder of two Outback restaurant managers in record time.
"I received a lot of citizens cooperation in that particular case. However, that has not been the norm in other cases," Cartagena stated.
Cartagena said the drive-by shootings that have staged some of the islands most notorious killings so far this year could be more easily prevented if only people would rely more on police protection.
"When a person has been marked by killers, the individual will be followed until the murder takes place. Those who fear for their lives or know of someone who may be a target, should contact us and well investigate," Cartagena said.
Cartagena said 80% of murder cases are related to drug trafficking. He said this means they are related to individuals who get into trouble with the underworld and fail to seek police protection.
According to police data, 2003 closed with 785 murder cases. The number of murder cases reached 284 as of Monday night or 30 more when compared to the same period last year.
Shot Put Medalist Going On The Road
By Josh Egerman
April 25, 2004
Sylvia Galarza was back at the Penn Relays yesterday, even though she wasn't competing.
She had something to pick up, although her medal for finishing second in Thursday's high school girls' shot put was securely in her family home in Millville, Cumberland County.
Instead, Galarza had to pick up an official certification that she had thrown 42 feet, 71/2 inches.
The certification was needed so that she could compete in the Puerto Rican junior national championships on June 4 and 5 and then in an international meet, representing Puerto Rico, in Mexico on June 11 and 12.
"I'm pumped up about it," said Galarza, a senior.
Galarza, whose parents are from Puerto Rico, was a little thin on the details about which meets she will compete in, but she had a good excuse. She just found out a couple of weeks ago that she could go.
"They contacted me," she said. "My mom and my brother went on vacation, and my brother met the coach and talked to him."
It was just a chance meeting earlier this month when Nestor Galarza, a sophomore at Millville, bumped into the national-team coach. With his sister still in Millville training, it was up to Nestor to tell the coach how good his sister was. He did, and one thing led to another.
All that was missing was certification that she had met the Puerto Rican track association's standards.
So, she may not have the gold medal and Penn Relays watch she coveted, but she does have an all-expenses-paid trip to her parents' homeland, which she hasn't visited since she was a toddler. Then comes the trip to Mexico, from which she's scheduled to return three days before she graduates.
Dozens Of Puerto Rican Soldiers Return Home From Kuwait
By LAURA RIVERA MELENDEZ
Associated Press Writer
April 24, 2004
FORT ALLEN, Puerto Rico (AP) - A contingent of Puerto Rican soldiers was welcomed back from Kuwait on Saturday with hugs and traditional plena music thumping on speakers.
The 56 Puerto Rico National Guard troops arrived to Fort Allen in the southern part of the island following a nearly yearlong tour. Their unit, the 292nd Combat Support Headquarters, was deployed to Kuwait City in May 2003.
But about 20 soldiers from the unit were transferred to monitor a section of railroad from Baghdad to Um Qasr in southern Iraq between December and March.
"Without question the situation has escalated to levels much higher than we would have liked," said Capt. Jesus Irizarry, 30, the unit's commander.
With his 3-year-old daughter Carolina hanging from his neck, Irizarry said it would be "very difficult" to return to the Middle East now that he has returned to his family.
The 292nd was responsible for making sure items ranging from water to ammunition arrived to soldiers in Iraq. None of the unit's members were seriously wounded or killed.
Since the war began in March 2003, at least 16 of the 715 U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq were Puerto Ricans.
About 1,000 islanders from the Army Reserve and Puerto Rican National Guard are currently deployed in the Middle East.
Puerto Rico's 4 million residents cannot vote for U.S. president and have no vote in the U.S. Congress, though they are American citizens and have served in the U.S. military for generations.
Fort Allen is about 70 kilometers (45 miles) southwest of the capital, San Juan.
Navy Moves Southern Command To Mayport
By RON WORD
Associated Press Writer
April 23, 2004
MAYPORT NAVAL STATION, Fla. (AP) - The U.S. Naval Southern Command moved to this base in north Florida Friday, abandoning its former base in Puerto Rico, and the controversy over training on the island of Vieques.
The new command will be responsible for 15 million square miles of waters in Central and South America, and most of the Caribbean, conducting anti-drug and anti-terrorism activities and responding to hot spots such as Haiti.
At a ceremony known as "flag breaking," Rear Adm. Vinson E. Smith officially moved his command from Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, to this sprawling base, which is home to some of the ships that participate in missions under his command.
Smith's boss, Army Gen. James T. Hill, the commander of U.S. military's Southern Command in Miami, said moving the unit to Mayport will increase the efficiency of Southcom.
In the past four years, Hill said the command has patrolled 375,000 miles, flown 38,000 hours, made 62 at sea arrests, seized 81 1/2 metric tons of cocaine, with a street value of $1.5 billion, and seized 3,000 pounds of marijuana, with a street value of $2.8 million.
"I believe the future security and stability of Latin America, the Caribbean and United States, now more than ever, link together in a common destiny," Hill said.
With the expanding Hispanic population in the United States, Hill said it makes sense culturally for the United States to be tied to its neighbors to the South.
"Economically, we have no choice," Hill said. "The region provides over 32 percent of our foreign oil, more than all the Middle Eastern countries combined. Two-thirds of the trade that passes through the Panama Canal is on its way to or coming from the United States. By the year 2010, trade with the region's countries is expected to exceed that of the European economic community and Japan combined."
Florida plays a key role in that trade.
"In the United States, Florida is the single largest trading partner with Latin America, garnering a 43 percent share of all U.S. trade with the region, selling those countries almost $9 billion in good annually," Hill said.
The new command brings 60 staff members to Mayport, including 20 to 30 civilian jobs.
Smith said Mayport was chosen because of its location, quality of life and infrastructure.
"Believe it or not, it is easier to go to South American from Mayport than San Juan, Puerto Rico," said Smith, who said it a trip from Puerto Rico to South America required a flight back to Miami.
The decision to move the command and an announcement earlier this week by Navy Secretary Gordon England that the USS John F. Kennedy would remain at Mayport Naval Station through 2018, should make the base safe during the next wave of base closings and realignments.
Roosevelt Roads was the last Navy base in Puerto Rico and had been the staging area for U.S. intervention from Grenada to Haiti. It fell into disuse when the military gave up its prized training area on the island of Vieques following a 1999 bombing accident that killed a civilian guard.
Last year, the Navy decided to close the base in the face of sustained protests. It moved most of its training to the mainland United States, including Florida.
In recent months, the Navy has moved out thousands of troops, along with bombs, torpedoes and other supplies from Puerto Rico.