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Fortuño Begins D.C. Transition… McClintock: PDP, NPP Platforms Have Similarities… PR Looks To Discovery Day… Voting's Languages… Ruiz Stands His Ground… Gracia Decides Mixed-Vote Ballots Are Valid… Millions Lost To Tax Evasion… NPP Seeks Election Analysis After Vote Counts… Police Corruption In Public Housing Denounced… SEC Sued Over PIP Reinscription… Clemente UM Signee

Fortuño Begins His Transition In Washington

November 15, 2004
Copyright © 2004
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The resident commissioner-elect, New Progressive Luis Fortuño, was received at the airport in Washington by Republican Congressman Bob Ney and has begun preparing to assume his new role in January 2005.

Fortuño is the first Republican from the island to occupy the resident commissioner seat.

He wanted to personally come to meet me, because I am the first Republican in a century to represent Puerto Rico in Washington," Fortuño told a newspaper.

Monday, Fortuño will take the official photo of the Congressional Class 109, with other representatives newly elected on Nov. 2. Later, he will attend a seminar and at night will participate in a dinner hosted by the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert.

McClintock: PDP, NPP Platforms Have Similarities

November 15, 2004
Copyright © 2004
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The next Senate President, New Progressive Kenneth McClintock, said the platforms of his party and that of the opposing Popular Democratic Party will coincide on several points, which will allow a conciliatory government with Anibal Acevedo Vila.

Acevedo Vila was preliminarily certified as the winner of the race for governor with the majority of votes, but the New Progressive Party won the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the resident commissioner seat in Washington, with Luis Fortuño.

"We have already begun to study our platform all the way through, with our sights set on its implementation. And we have also taken a look at the PDP platform. You will see that there are a great number of similarities," McClintock said, according to press reports.

McClintock’s statements contrast with earlier statements he made a few days after the elections, when he said that he will drive the government platform of the NPP even though the governor-elect is PDP.

Puerto Rico Looks To Discovery Day


For the Journal-Constitution

November 15, 2004
Copyright © 2004
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. All rights reserved. 

Today we're going to learn some history. For los puertorriquenos (lohss pwehr-toh-ree-KEHN-yohss) --- that means Puerto Ricans --- Nov. 19 is a national holiday. That's when Cristobal Colon (kee-STOH-bahl koh-LOHN) --- Christopher Columbus' name in Spanish --- arrived on their shores in 1493.

Before his arrival, the Caribbean island was inhabited by the Taino Indians, who called their enchanted island Boriquen (boh-ree-KEHN). It was during Columbus' second voyage in 1493 that he landed on their shores and claimed the land for Spain.

Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista (sahn hwahn bah-oo-TEE-stah) to honor Juan, the son of the king and queen of Spain. A few years later, a Spanish explorer named Juan Ponce de Leon (hwahn POHN-say deh leh-OHN) established a settlement near a good place for ships to land.

He called this beautiful harbor Puerto Rico (PWEHR-toh REE-koh), which means "rich port." Soon these names were changed, and people began to call the island "Puerto Rico" and the city "San Juan."

Voting's Languages

November 15, 2004
Copyright © 2004
The News & Observer Pub. Co. All rights reserved. 

The News & Observer

Every time I read a letter like "One language" (People's Forum, Nov. 5) or hear comments of a similar nature I sign in frustration at the current lack of civics education.

Every Spanish-speaker is not an illegal immigrant. Indeed, most Americans seem to forget that Puerto Ricans are Americans too. Puerto Rico is a U.S. commonwealth and its citizens are as American as North Carolinians, although they do not have the right to vote in presidential elections.

Becky Mitchell

Ruiz Stands His Ground


November 14, 2004
Copyright © 2004
THE NEW YORK TIMES. All rights reserved. 

At Madison Square Garden, in the main event, John Ruiz (41-5-1) retained his World Boxing Association crown with a unanimous decision over Andrew Golota (38-5-1). Ruiz was fortunate to win, considering he was knocked down twice in the third round and had a point taken away for hitting Golota behind the head. There were moments when the Ruiz-Golota bout looked more like a street fight. There was punching after the bell on several occasions, and Ruiz's trainer was ejected from his corner by the referee.

Once Ruiz survived the third round, the fight deteriorated into an awkward skirmish in close quarters, with neither fighter able to establish control. Ruiz did enough to convince the judges he had won. Two of them scored it 114-111, and the other had it 113-112.

Gracia Decides Controversial Mixed-Vote Ballots Are Valid

November 12, 2004
Copyright © 2004
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The president of the State Election Commission, Aurelio Gracia, decided Friday that the state ballots marked under the insignia of the Puerto Rican Independence Party and also marked for the candidates for governor and resident commissioner of other parties are valid ballots.

"After the … discussion, the president has decided that it is an attempt to mix votes," Gracia said, after a meeting held for almost an hour with the commissioners of the three political parties.

"The commissioner of the New Progressive party reserves the right to turn to the courts," Gracia said.

The vote count process was partially stopped Friday due to a complaint by Thomas Rivera Schatz, the NPP election commissioner, who protested the awarding of ballots on which the voters allegedly did not follow the instructions for a mixed vote.?

Treasury Dept. Says Millions Lost To Tax Evasion

November 12, 2004
Copyright © 2004
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Treasury Secretary Juan Flores Galarza said Thursday the government has yet to receive $650 million due to the past administration, because they didn’t implement a program to uncover tax evasion.

Nevertheless, he said that during his term he created the Fair Taxes Program (FTP) which will allow the Treasury Department to identify tax evaders more quickly.

"The FTP system is a database to integrate data from several governmental agencies and provide a profile of the taxpayer," Flores Galarza said.

He said that as part of the FTP system, the Treasury Department has access to financial reports that banking institutions submit to federal authorities, which include transactions worth more than $10,000.

NPP Asks For Election Analysis To Be Done After Vote Counts

November 12, 2004
Copyright © 2004
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Two NPP leaders suggested that the party hold a meeting in January to analyze reasons why their candidate for governor, Pedro Rossello, did not do better in the Nov. 2 elections.

The mayor-elect of Toa Baja, Rep. Anibal Vega Borges, as well as former governor Carlos Romero Barcelo, agreed that, even if Rossello wins the race for governor over PDP candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila, the NPP must study why the support for Rossello was less than for the overall party.

According to press reports, Vega Borges said they must hold a "meeting to evaluate the change that has occurred."

"Because the people voted for the NPP and not for Rossello," he said.

Romero said the meeting must be held after the State Election Commission ends the vote count and possible recount to decide the official winner of the election.

"I saw in the street a very large triumph, which obviously did not happen. After the elections are over, there must always be an analysis," he said.

Acevedo Vila was preliminarily certified as the candidate win the most votes, with an advantage of 3,880 over Rossello.

However, the NPP won the Legislative majority, the office of resident commissioner and the majority of the mayors’ offices.

Vargas Vidot Denounces Police Corruption In Public Housing

November 12, 2004
Copyright © 2004
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

PONCE (AP) – The executive director of the Community Initiative organization, Dr. Jose Vargas Vidot, on Thursday denounced police corruption in some public housing and neighborhoods in the San Juan metropolitan area, where authorities allegedly allow armed youths to decide who enters or leaves the areas.

Vargas Vidot, known for his work to help drug addicts and the homeless, said his organization has to ask permission from armed youths in order to offer health services to residents of these areas.

"I go to the houses or to a site near a (drug) spot, and I have to ask permission from a 16-year-old "chamaquito" who is armed in order to see if I am allowed to do public health work. These are places that are besieged, these "chamaquitos" have this power because it has been given to them by police authorities, because there is corruption," he said.

Vargas Vidot refused to give the names of the housing projects and neighborhoods that have this problem, adding that "the most high-up people validate and legitimize these actions."

Non-Traditional Parties File Lawsuit Over PIP Reinscription

November 12, 2004
Copyright © 2004
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The Civil Action Party (CAP) and the Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico – neither inscribed at the national level – announced Friday that they will file a lawsuit to stop the process of reinscription by the Puerto Rican Independence Party.

CAP President Nelson Rosario said both parties submitted the complaint to the San Juan Court.

"We are alleging that the State Election Commission … has given an undue advantage to the PIP because it is letting the party use the structure of privilege of the Election Law in the process of inscription," Rosario said.

The PIP has already started the process of collected the 100,000 signatures necessary to reinscribe the party, after it did not obtain 3 percent of the vote in the Nov. 2 elections.

Clemente UM Signee

Calusa Prep basketball star Denis Clemente was among three locals committing to UM as the weeklong early-signing period opened.


November 11, 2004
Copyright © 2004
THE MIAMI HERALD. All rights reserved. 

Two years ago, Denis Clemente was living in Puerto Rico, dreaming about one day playing in the NBA.

On Wednesday, the 6-foot shooting guard for Miami's Calusa Prep took a step toward that dream when he signed a letter of intent with the University of Miami.

Clemente, The Herald's Class 4A-1A Player of the Year and the state's leading scorer a year ago and who was named the state's Class 1A Player of the Year, led the state in scoring with 33.5 points per game last season. He was named first-team All-American for the Christian schools. This past summer, he averaged 25.8 points per game at the Peach Jam and finished as the top scorer of the tournament while shooting 58 percent from the field.

On Wednesday, he put on a Hurricanes cap and celebrated with his coaches and classmates.

''My parents really wanted me to stay home so they could see me play,'' said Clemente, who turned down Arkansas, Cincinnati, Ohio State, South Florida and Clemson. ``I picked Miami because I think they are a program on the rise. They're a good team in a great conference. Plus, I get to play with my friend Guillermo [Diaz].''

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