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Berrios Questions Bush’s Motives On Status Issue…$9m For Displaced RR Employees… 'Malcria'o!'… Crespo 'Focused Again' After Scandals… Velazquez: Democrats Better For Hispanic Businesses… Rodriguez New Prasa President… SJ To Host UN Economic Comm… NPP Pledges 'Contract With The People’

Berrios: White House Must Prove Good Will To Solve Status

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

May 25, 2004
Copyright © 2004
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Following the meeting with two White House officials on Tuesday Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) president and gubernatorial candidate Ruben Berrios urged President George W. Bush to prove that he isn’t using the status issue for his reelection campaign.

Berrios questioned Bush’s motives for sending White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Ruben Barrales and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Noel Francisco to meet with key political leaders of the island to discuss the status issue just a few months away from the general elections.

"I proposed the idea of a task force to President Clinton before the past elections. It has taken them all this time to hold this kind of meeting five months away from the general elections. This raises a series of doubts," Berrios said following the meeting with Barrales and Francisco.

Berrios said he proposed that the U.S. acknowledge before the United Nations (U.N.) that Puerto Rico is, in fact, a colony, and that the U.S. is committed to solving the status issue of the island.

The PIP president also requested a meeting with President Bush and the heads of each of the island’s political parties.

This was the last of a series of meetings Barrales and Francisco held with Gov. Sila Calderon, Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila, and New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate Pedro Rossello.

Berrios said that while the meeting was respectful, no promises were made.

Barrales limited himself to expressing general statements and no definite answers as to what could the people of Puerto Rico expect from the round of meetings.

"It is very important for us at this stage to receive the input of the leaders of Puerto Rico (the elective and political leadership of the island). We’ve been well received and we have had very good dialogue and look forward to making progress in this issue," Barrales said.

Also present at the meeting were PIP Secretary of North American Relations Manuel Rodriguez Orellana, and PIP candidate fore resident commissioner Edwin Irizarry Mora.

$9 Million For Displaced Roosevelt Roads Employees

May 25, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The Department of Labor, through the Human Resources and Occupational Development Council (CDORH by its acronym in Spanish), assigned $9 million in relief for workers displaced as a result of the closing of the Roosevelt Roads Naval Base in Ceiba.

The announcement was made on Tuesday by Secretary of Labor Frank Zorrilla and CDORH executive director Brenda Sepulveda, citing that the funds were made available by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

"This federal allocation, for immediate use, will allow workers displaced by the closing of Roosevelt Roads to find new jobs as soon as possible," said Zorrilla in a prepared statement.

He also added that the funds will also aid employees of private businesses affected by the base’s closing.

"The base did not only employ Ceiba residents, it also employed resident of neighboring communities, that is why we have decided to expand the areas eligible for the economic aid," said Zorrilla.

The northeast region is includes the municipalities of de Canovanas, Ceiba, Culebra, Fajardo, Loiza, Luquillo, Naguabo, Rio Grande and Vieques, while south east region in comprised of Humacao, Juncos, Las Piedras, Maunabo, Patillas, Yabucoa y San Lorenzo.

Zorrilla said that displaced worker will receive retraining, transition services for job placement, as well as job offers.

"For us it is important to offer these people the tools they need to once again earn their living. We are confident that this allocation will facilitate their transition into other employment opportunities.


Best bets

By Elizabeth Maupin, Roger Moore and Rebecca Swain Vadnie | Sentinel Staff Writers

May 25, 2004
Copyright © 2004
THE ORLANDO SENTINEL. All rights reserved. 

Elizardi Castro's Malcria'o! is a great example of what a good one-man show can be. Taking a cue from the storytelling tradition, Castro shares memories in Spanish and English about growing up in Puerto Rico and New York City. The result is a show that is touching, funny and infused with true sense of self. (R.S.V.) Remaining performances: 7:40 p.m. Friday, 8:50 p.m. Saturday. Blue venue, Studio B, Lowndes Shakespeare Center, 812 E. Rollins St.

Crespo 'Focused Again' After Paternity Scandals

By Robert Dominguez | New York Daily News

May 25, 2004
Copyright © 2004
New York Daily News. All rights reserved. 

Latin music fans haven't had many Elvis sightings lately. Merengue singer Elvis Crespo stayed pretty much out of the public eye while working on his first album in two years.

His newest CD, titled Saboréalo ("Savor It") has a new sound -- and what he says is a newfound maturity after a paternity scandal almost ruined his 12-year marriage.

Make that three paternity scandals.

In the past three years, Crespo has fathered a trio of kids with three women, including his former personal assistant. The messy, highly publicized affairs brought Crespo to the brink of a divorce, although he and his wife, Ana Cuerto, who have a son, have since reconciled.

"My problems took away my energy and my focus, and I think my music suffered a little with this crisis," he says. "People think artists don't have the same problems, or that we aren't vulnerable. But we are human, and we are vulnerable to making mistakes."

The Bronx-born, Puerto Rico-reared singer -- who got a vasectomy after the scandals broke -- insists he has no regrets.

"I look at what happened as part of my growth as an individual," says Crespo. "I learned from it. Now I am focused again, and I am in love with my career and my family, and I am with my wife only."

Velazquez: Democrats Better For Hispanic Businesses

May 25, 2004
Copyright © 2004
THE WASHINGTON TIMES. All rights reserved. 

WASHINGTON, DC, May. 22 (UPI) -- By 2007 it's estimated one out of 10 U.S. small businesses will be Hispanic-owned, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., said Saturday.

"Unfortunately, even though President Bush often talks about his staunch and unwavering support for Hispanic business, it is only that -- talk -- time and time again, his rhetoric just doesn't match reality," she said in the Democratic Hispanic radio address.

"The president continues to travel all over the country and claim his billion-dollar tax cuts have done wonders for small business owners, yet over half of small firms received less than $500 in his most recent tax relief package, and that's just not good enough."

In the president's latest budget, governmental small business programs experienced cuts of over 70 percent, according to Velazquez.

"Democrats want to provide health care, pensions, access to capital and federal contracts and relief from taxes and regulations, so minority owned businesses can do what they do best -- create jobs," she said.

Rodriguez Nominated As New Prasa President

May 24, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Just as expected, Gov. Sila Calderon on Sunday nominated engineer Jorge Rodriguez as the new executive president of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority.

Rodriguez takes the post in middle of an intense dispute between Prasa’s management and the Independent Authentic Union, and has said that bringing agreements between management and the union is one of his priorities.

"There is a lot of work to be done and no time to lose. I believe the change can still be made," said Rodriguez during a press conference at La Fortaleza on Sunday afternoon.

Calderon said she is confident Rodriguez will be able to head the agency during its transition time as the government has just recently taken over operations of the corporation.

"With Rodriguez’ work and that of Prasa employees we will take control of the agency for the benefit of all Puerto Ricans," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said he plans to visit all water treatment plants in the coming weeks to know first hand the problems that affect them.

Prior to his appointment as Prasa’s new chief Rodriguez worked in the private sector.

Rodriguez will replace Juan Agosto Alicea, who will remain at Prasa as President of the Board of Directors.

UN Economic Commission To Hold Session In San Juan

May 24, 2004
Copyright © 2004
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The city of San Juan announced on Monday that it will host the thirtieth Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLA) in June, which will be attended by over 300 delegates from 34 countries and international organization.

ECLA’s adjunct Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena will visit Puerto Rico on Tuesday to formalize the decision to name San Juan as the site for the meeting of the hemispheric organization, stated Puerto Rico’s State Department.

ECLA work session will be held in a San Juan hotel from June 28 to July 2 of 2004, and will be attended by Secretary of State Jose M. Izquierdo.

Barcena, who will be accompanied ECLA Secretary Daniel Blanchard, will sign the agreement along side Izquierdo.

Izquierdo announced that during ECLA’s conference they would release study detailing Puerto Rico’s economic development and its insertion into the process of globalization.

"This is a historic moment for Puerto Rico. This is the first time an organization of ECLA’s magnitude, has held an event in Puerto Rico. Bringing Puerto Rico to the forefront of Latin American Economic Development," said Izquierdo.

The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) was established by Economic and Social Council resolution 106(VI) of 25 February 1948 and began to function that same year. The scope of the Commission's work was later broadened to include the countries of the Caribbean, and by resolution 1984/67 of 27 July 1984.

Puerto Rico has participated in ECLA as an observer since 1984.

NPP Leadership Pledges ‘Contract With The People’

By Marvin Rodriguez of WOW Staff

May 24, 2004
Copyright © 2004
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

HATO REY- New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate Pedro Rossello has announced a plan to launch a bold Legislative Reform during the first legislative session of 2005 if he is elected, as part of a ‘contract with the people.’

In a Sunday press conference at NPP headquarters Rossello, accompanied by NPP Senate and House candidates, detailed a reform plan aimed at making the legislative branch more responsive to the needs of the people.

"Puerto Ricans are demanding that the government in its entirety act more efficiently and responsibly in its management of public funds. In response to that request we are signing a ‘contract with the people,’ which will bring positive change to the legislative process," said Rossello.

The NPP plan calls for more legislative accountability; the elimination of all pork barrel funds; a reduction of the official vehicle fleet by replacing that privilege with lower car allowances; and prohibiting the use of public funds for cell phone expenses.

Senate for Progress coordinator Sen. Kenneth McClintock said "it is imperative that we (NPP) make the legislative branch more responsive to the needs of the people. To that end we have included strategies in the ‘contract with the people’ that would ensure these changes take place."

Rossello criticized Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila for making symbolic promises, which unlike the NPP’s 50-point reform plan, have not been thoroughly analyzed nor discussed with the legislative leaders who would implement them.

"In 1992 when the people demanded legislative reform we delivered within our first term. The PDP is satisfied with proposing cosmetic reform and doing so at the end of their four year term without any real action, even when they control both the House and the Senate," said Rossello.

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