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THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Many Are Upset With Leadership Of Puerto Rico
by Gina Cavallaro
February 13, 2000
Copyright © 2000 THE WASHINGTON TIMES. All Rights Reserved.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The question of whether and when the
Navy should abandon its training facilities on Vieques has created
new divisions among Puerto Ricans, who less than two weeks ago
enjoyed what seemed to be an airtight consensus for no more bombs.
With the announcement by Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Rossello on
Jan. 31 that he had reached an agreement on Vieques with the White
House stipulating, among other things, the resumption of
target practice with inert ordnance consensus nose dived.
A week later, President Clinton asked Congress for $2.5 million
to help develop a mechanism for addressing Puerto Rico 's political
status. Mr. Rossello wants Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth yielded
by Spain in 1898 after the Spanish American War, to become the
The proximity of the two announcements prompted a flurry of
accusations that the governor had made a quick deal behind his
committee's back to trade concessions on Vieques for a White House
commitment on status.
But the governor and Puerto Rican Secretary of State Angel
Morey, who represented Mr. Rossello at the Vieques negotiations,
both denied there was any link, saying the White House decision
to help clarify the island's status had been the result of years
The accidental death in April 1999 of a private security guard
on duty at a Navy observation post led to the immediate halt of
exercises and sparked a flurry of criticism about the environmental
and health effects of the Navy's activity there.