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DOW JONES NEWS SERVICE
Puerto Rico Panel To Lobby U.S. Over Navy Bombing
July 29, 1999
Copyright © 1999 DOW JONES & COMPANY, INC. All Rights
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP)-- Puerto Rico's governor appointed
a committee Thursday to lobby U.S. officials and Congress to compel
the Navy to leave an off-island bombing range.
Gov. Pedro Rossello charged the committee with influencing U.S.
public opinion against the war games on Vieques, a populated island
where the Navy has conducted live-fire exercises since 1941.
An April 19 bombing accident killed a civilian security guard
inside the bombing range and prompted widespread protests against
the Navy, which considers Vieques essential to combat training
of its Atlantic forces.
Rossello, who favors statehood for the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto
Rico, created an earlier panel that recommended that the Navy
abandon the island to Puerto Rico. He presented its findings to
a Pentagon commission that is studying the Vieques controversy
at President Clinton's request.
Committee members include Carlos Romero Barcelo, Puerto Rico's
non-voting delegate to Congress; San Juan Mayor Sila Calderon;
Alcides Ortiz, head of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration
in Washington; Vieques Mayor Manuela Santiago; Government Secretary
Angel Morey and representatives of Puerto Rico 's pro- statehood
and independence parties.