"Viva George Bush", Fortuño Alludes To Status In GOP Convention Speech Medical Products Firm In $45m Expansion Saldaña Claims Verbal PRIIF Exoneration Students Get Satellite Internet Connection Governor Signs 93 Measures Feds Arent Investigating NPP Or Rossello Puerto Rican Pride In Paterson Parade
"Viva George Bush"
Remarks by Luis Fortuno at the 2004 Republican National Convention on Monday, August 30, 2004
August 31, 2004
I am Luis Fortuno and I will be the next Republican Congressman from Puerto Rico.
But I'm an American. To be an American is about shared values -- not about your ethnic background or the language you use to pray with your children at night.
President Bush understands that that is why he believes in empowering Hispanics through improved education, better job opportunities, affordable health care and lower taxes.
And that's why President Bush believes in empowering the American citizens of Puerto Rico so that we can fulfill our aspirations regarding our political status.
May God Bless America -- y que Viva George Bush!
Fortuño Doesnt Mention Statehood In Convention Speech
August 31, 2004
SAN JUAN (AP) Luis Fortuño gave a short speech before the Republican National Convention in New York City during which he did not mention the status of the island, but he assured that the president and candidate for reelection, George W. Bush, will compromise with Puerto Ricans to decide their political future.
Fortuño, New Progressive candidate for resident commissioner and Puerto Rican delegate to the U.S. Republican party, was one of 25 Republicans running for Congress that had the opportunity to give a one-minute speech on the first day of the convention.
"President Bush believes in awarding power to the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico so we can reach our aspirations in terms of political status," said Fortuño, according to newspaper reports on Tuesday.
Of the 435 members of the House, not counting the territory delegates, the Republicans control 227 seats, for which they have about 200 candidates that are not incumbents.
"I am Luis Fortuño and I will be the next Republican Congressman from Puerto Rico. But, I am an American. To be American is about common values, not about ethnicity or the language you use when you pray at night with your children.
Fortuño added that President Bush "understands this very well. He understands us," said Fortuño, switching to Spanish.
"For this," he continued in English, "he believes in awarding the power of Hispanic people through education, better work opportunities, medical insurance at a reasonable cost and lower taxes," he said.
After making reference to the compromise that he said Bush had on deciding the political future of Puerto Rico, Fortuño ended his speech, saying " God bless the United States and" he added in Spanish, "long live George Bush."
At the end of his speech, Fortuño said that his interventions contained "direct references" to statehood.
"This speech is exactly as I presented it (to those responsible for the convention), and they did not change one comma. In the time they gave me, I wanted to emphasize the importance of giving power to the citizens and of our common values," he said.
"Everyone knows that I favor statehood. In the short time that each candidate had the (theme of status) was directly mentioned," he added.
The Republicans passed a government program that supports statehood if Puerto Ricans vote for that choice.
Medical Products Firm Will Invest $45 Million In Expansion
August 31, 2004
SAN JUAN (AP) The medical products firm Bard Shannon will invest $45 million to construct a new building in Humacao, with the promise to create 100 jobs, announced Economic Development Secretary Milton Segarra.
Segarra said on Tuesday that he would place the first symbolic stone of the project, and that the first phase of construction should create 350 jobs.
"This expansion is evidence that Puerto Rico is highly competitive in the industrial medical device sector, and we have great potential for growth," he said at a press conference.
Segarra said the new building, which is planned for completion in 2006, will be located in the San Jeronimo Industrial Urbanization and will have administration and manufacturing operations for Bard Shannon that currently are at its plant in Las Piedras.
Comptroller Says He Was Verbally Exonerated On PRIIF
August 31, 2004
SAN JUAN (AP) The former Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez, verbally told Commonwealth Comptroller Manuel Diaz Saldaña that there was no evidence that could be used to charge him for his participation in the creation of the Puerto Rico Industrial Incentives Fund (PRIIF) in 1997, when he was Treasury Secretary.
This was maintained by Diaz Saldaña himself during the third day of his testimony at hearings of the House Treasury and Public Integrity Commission about alleged irregularities in the creation and management of PRIIF, which is calculated to have cost the treasury $1 billion.
"She told me there was nothing that there was no resolution regarding me," the Comptroller said about the meeting with Rodriguez in his office, according to newspaper reports.
The Comptroller was called to testify before the Commission because while he was Treasury Secretary, he authorized in 1997 the creation of PRIIF, which was the object of two reports about alleged irregularities by the Blue Ribbon Committee.
Federal authorities also are investigating the creation of the fund, through which incentives were awarded to Section 936 companies in exchange for reducing taxes that prevented the treasury from receiving $1 billion.
Puerto Rican Students Get Satellite Internet Connection
August 30, 2004
On the island of Puerto Rico where terrestrial-based, conventional Internet access often is cost-prohibitive and unreliable for educators, SES Americom, the U.S. satellite arm of Luxembourg-based SES Global, today announced its satellite-delivered broadband service has been selected to connect more than 1,500 Puerto Rico schools to the Internet.
The AMC-6 satellite, orbiting 22,000 miles above the Earth, is providing connectivity for thousands of students on the island just in time for the new school year. Roughly 1,539 schools will be connected to a satellite IP platform next month. Participating schools would receive two-way broadband service via a small satellite antenna, which also is capable of providing voice-over-IP (VoIP) telephone service between the schools and the Puerto Rico Department of Education.
Governor Signs 93 Measures
August 30, 2004
SAN JUAN (AP) - Gov. Sila M. Calderon on Sunday signed a total of 93 plans and resolutions, among them a measure that authorizes the Treasury Department to issue $500 million in bonds for public improvements, which were not specified.
She also authorized the Agriculture Service and Development Administration to incur in bonds $67 million to finance projects and strengthen agricultural activity, but details were not offered by the press office at La Fortaleza.
Another plan made into law by the governor is the permanent prohibition against people convicted of corruption to occupy elected posts.
Federal Authorities Are Not Investigating NPP Or Rossello
August 30, 2004
SAN JUAN (AP) Neither the New Progressive Party or its candidate for governor, Pedro Rossello, are the object of investigations by the Division of Public Integrity of the federal Justice Department, based in Washington, D.C.
This was stated by the Election Commissioner of the NPP, Thomas Rivera Schatz, who showed a letter from the head of the division, Noel Hillman, that confirmed the information.
"We can confirm that neither the New Progressive Party nor Rossello are objects or targets of any investigation of this office," said the letter sent to Rossellos lawyer, James Hibey.
Rivera Schatz said that Mary Butler, Public Integrity prosecutor, is the one that should explain why, if neither Rossello or the NPP are being investigated, she asked that the State Election Commission for the financial reports of the NPP gubernatorial candidate in 1996.
Butler said that the investigation about allegations of corruption actions took place during the construction of the Superaqueduct, which produced accusations against the secretary general Marcos Morell and Rossellos 1996 campaign director, Rene Vazquez Botet.
Rossello, who was governor of the island from 1993 to 2000, is currently campaigning to be elected for a third term.
Puerto Rican Pride In Paterson Parade
ERIK ORTIZ, SPECIAL TO THE RECORD
August 30, 2004
PATERSON - As people lined up for small cups of coco helado (coconut ice) in Sunday afternoon's sticky temperatures, 10-year- old Robbie Chavez stood on a curb and stared anxiously down Main Street.
"Here they come!" the young boy, wearing a scarf emblazoned with "Boricua," shouted to his parents.
Regaled by a steady flow of salsa and merengue music, thousands of people - decked out in red, white, and blue - filled the sidewalks of downtown Paterson to watch about 20 floats and organizations celebrate the city's 32nd annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.
Drum and bugle corps, the Paterson Fire Department, and various local businesses and Hispanic civic organizations participated in the event. The sign on one float read, "Viva Puerto Rico!"
Paterson residents Nia Alvarez and Margarita Vasquez watched the parade and chatted about their Puerto Rican pride.
Alvarez was born outside of San Juan, in the industrial city of Carolina, but moved to the mainland when she was 2.
Vasquez was born in Ohio, but spent much of her life in Puerto Rico.
"I miss everything about it," she said.
"I love our heritage, our language," Alvarez said. "We're a mixture of all these races: Taino Indians, Africans, Spaniards. We come from such a beautiful island."