Crime Rises Despite Budget Increase, Acevedo Vila Offers Plan Cotto Stays Unbeaten Teen Hoopsters Top Prospects Protesters Slam U.S. Measures Against Cuba Homestead Welcomes Military Unit Roberto Colon Remembered Fortuño Promises Funds For School Security McAullife: Kerrys Best For Hispanics Base Closings Delayed Penal Code Faces Another Obstacle
Crime Rate On The Rise Despite Police Budget Increase
By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News
May 10, 2004
The increase in economic resources for the Police Department has failed to make a dent in the number of crimes reported since 2001 in Puerto Rico, according to agency reports.
Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila has said he would focus police resources on technology rather than on personnel to help fight crime.
"We will reinforce technology and training instead of recruiting more agents who lack the equipment to do their jobs," Acevedo Vila said on Monday.
However, Acevedo Vilas proposal seems similar to what Gov. Sila Calderons administration has done so far without a visible decrease in the number of murders on the island.
According to police records, Calderon has increased the police budget by more than $230 million since 2001 while maintaining an average of approximately 18,600 active police officers on the force.
Despite the budget increase and the steady number of police agents, the murder rate has been on the rise, climbing from 695 cases in 2000 to 779 in 2003. As of Monday, police have reported 25 murders more than in the same period last year.
New Progressive Party (NPP) Secretary General Maria Milagros Charbonier called Acevedo Vilas proposal pointless.
"He now wants the people to believe the sham that crime can be fought with high technology only. The first thing they need to do to fight crime is to acknowledge the problem," Charbonier said.
The NPP secretary general also questioned Acevedo Vilas ability to bring peace and quiet to the Puerto Rican people, since he has failed to do so under the Calderon administration of which he is also a part.
Cotto Remains Unbeaten
By TIM DAHLBERG
AP Boxing Writer
May 9, 2004
LAS VEGAS -- In a super lightweight fight, Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico remained unbeaten by taking a tough 12-round unanimous decision over Lovemore N'Dou.
Cotto, a 2000 Olympian and the WBA's No. 1 contender at 140 pounds, won on all three scorecards but took some big right hands from N'Dou in improving to 20-0.
Cotto had the edge in the early rounds, landing well with lefts to the body. He continued working the body effectively most of the fight, though he became less aggressive as the fight went on and N'Dou landed some big rights to the head.
"How many more rounds?" a tiring Cotto asked his corner after the ninth round.
Teen Hoopsters Top Prospects
May 9, 2004
Here are some of Art 'Pilin' Alvarez's Miami Tropics players who are expected to garner attention from colleges.
Denis Clemente, 6-1, guard, Calusa Prep: Class 1A state player of the Year after averaging 33 points in his first season in the United States as a junior. Puerto Rican native expected to be heavily recruited this offseason.
David Huertas, 6-5, guard, Jacksonville Arlington Country Day: Puerto Rican native being heavily recruited by Arizona and Kansas. Currently rated the No. 19 recruit for 2005 by Rivals.com.
Sammy Hernandez, 6-6, forward, Jacksonville Arlington Country Day High: Puerto Rican native expected to be one of the top high school seniors in the country next season after transferring from Westminster Christian midseason.
Josue Soto, 5-11, guard: Standout from Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rican Protesters Slam U.S. Measures Against Cuba
May 8, 2004
San Juan, May 8 (EFE).- The Solidarity with Cuba Committee (CSC) demonstrated in Puerto Rico on Saturday against new U.S. measures against the Castro regime.
The Socialist Front (FS) and Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico (PNPR) both joined the protest in front of the Mexican Consulate in San Juan.
CSC spokeswoman Milagros Rivera told EFE that the United States was "trying to strengthen the blockade to create a greater crisis in Cuba and thus foster internal dissidence or encourage mercenaries."
"The United States says it is pushing these measures in pursuit of democracy, but what democracy are we talking about? Democracy that jails Jesus Padilla (a Puerto Rican linked to the 9/11 terrorist attacks) with no right to visits and one where they torture prisoners of war?" she asked. EFE.
New Military Unit Moves Onto Base In Homestead
BY NATHALIE GOUILLOU
May 8, 2004
An elite U.S. military unit opened its new home with flair Friday, while South Miami-Dade officials hailed the troops as possible saviors for the Homestead Air Reserve Base.
Decked out in their best camouflage, members of Special Operations Command South -- soldiers, Navy SEALS and pilots -- claimed some turf at the base as their own, completing a move from the Naval Station Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico.
The unit, part of the U.S. Southern Command, is bringing about 150 military and civilian families to South Florida -- raising hope among state and local leaders that the Homestead base won't be targeted in next year's round of closures.
Roberto Colon Remembered With Exhibit Of His Art
May 7, 2004
Roberto Colon was born and raised in Puerto Rico, served in the U.S. Army in Korea and spent 25 years as a social worker with the Veterans Administration Hospital System.
Now through May 31, the local arts community recognizes the late Colon's work as a painter, sculptor and woodworker in a retrospective exhibition at the Horse Barn Arts Center in Falls Park. Colon, a friend of the Horse Barn who regularly worked in one of the downstairs artist stalls, died this past July at age 74.
Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Call 977-2002 with questions, or visit www.siouxempirearts.council.org online.
Fortuño Promises To Acquire Funds For School Security
By WOW News Staff
May 7, 2004
The New Progressive Party (NPP) candidate for resident comissioner, Luis Fortuño, has promised to acquire federal funding to combat violence in Puerto Ricos public schools.
Fortuño said that recent violence in schools and the dangers of the new penal code cannot be tolerated.
"This administrations negligence has led us to witness teachers being murdered in our schools before police are assigned to our schools," said Fortuño who used the opportunity to criticize his Popular Democratic Party (PDP) opponent, Roberto Prats for supporting the controversial new penal code.
He pointed out that the new penal code lowers the jail terms for serious crimes such as child abduction, for which jail time would be reduced from 16-40 years to 8-15 years, and for corrupting a minor, from 2-5 years to 58 months to 3 years.
Among his proposals for improving school security, Fortuño mentnioned a series of programs available in U.S. states and territories.
One such program is the Violence Free Schools Work Group, for which there are $90 million available for all U.S. states and territories.
Fortuño also cited the Drug-Free Communities Support Program sponsored by the United States Dept. of Justice.
That program grants funding to community-based organizations committed to fighting drug abuse among young people. It has a competitive award system with grants as large as $100,000. Its total budget for 2003 was $60 million.
Fortuño also proposed issuing student ID cards that can be used in case of abduction and other emergencies. The ID would include a students physical description, fingerprints and health record.
McAullife Tries To Keep The Hispanic Vote
By Leonardo Aldridge of Associated Press
May 7, 2004
SAN JUAN Democratic Party President Terry McAullife paid a fleeting visit to a sector in San Juan on Friday in an attempt to calm down critics who claim that presidential candidate John Kerry has not been receptive to the complaints of Hispanics and other minorities.
During his trip to Cantera, McAullife said Kerrys presidency would mean more benefits for Hispanics than those they have received under the George W. Bush Administration.
"Kerrys administration will make more for the Hispanic community, like giving incentives to homeowners, raise their income, promote educational programs, and health care", sustained McAullife.
He also pointed out that in the party there is an ample Hispanic participation and recalled that in the 2000 elections 65% of Hispanic vote was for the Democrats.
"And that amount will rise in 2004," he added.
The Democratic leader, knowing the importance of keeping the growing Hispanic vote, which has traditionally been linked to that party, criticized Bush saying that although the president usually speaks Spanish during radio messages and political activities, he hasnt made any real contribution to the Hispanic community.
McAullife, surrounded by Popular Democratic Party (PDP) leaders who favor the status quo, said his party does not endorse a specific political status for the island.
McAullife also said he would contribute to the campaign of PDP Sen. Roberto Prats who is running for resident commissioner.
U.S. Military Base Closings Delayed
May 7, 2004
SAN JUAN (AP) The Military Readiness subcommittee of the United States House of Representatives Armed Forces Committee has approved a bill to delay the closing of several US military bases until 2007.
The Armed Forces committee will vote on Wednesday on a bill that would postpone the closing of hundreds of military bases, including Fort Buchanan, which has presented several reports to the Pentagon on its readiness and budget, defending its existence.
"US military forces are under a great deal of stress because of the war on terror and the effort to rebuilt Iraq," stated subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Joel Helfley, Republican from Colorado.
By proposing a halt to the Base Realignment and Closing Process (BRAC) slated for 2005, Heafly hopes to delay irreversible decisions concerning the United States battle readiness and the status of hundreds of installations.
Buchanans leadership has already appeared before the US Armed Forces Committee to appeal for its continued existence in Guaynabo, where it serves as a mobilizing center for reservist in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
According to current regulations, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has until May 16th 2005 to submit a list of military facilities recommended for closing.
Another Obstacle For The Penal Code
May 7, 2004
SAN JUAN (AP) The new penal code met with yet another obstacle to its conversion into law when the Senate failed to approve changes made by the House of Representatives, on the same day that Governor Sila M. Calderon asked Senate Chairman, Antonio Fas Alzamora, for time to review the document.
Fas Alzamora said he did not agree with House changes meant to delay the bills redirection to La Fortaleza, which would begin a ten-day deadline before the new code is signed or vetoed.
"The Executive Branch asked for more time before its participation in the codes ratification which is understandable," assured Fas Alzamora,
He stated that it is normal for the Executive Branch to ask for more time to review the code, as it took three years for the Legislative Branch to analyze it.
The Governor said that sentences and environmental crimes should be evaluated more extensively and said that a focus group made up of legislators and government officials of the Executive Branch was created to this end.