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Pesquera Pledges More Bilingual Schools

Radio Spots Raise Stakes In Tight Race

Calderon: Will Not Vote In Presidential Elections

Pesquera Pledges More Bilingual Schools And Extended School Days

by Proviana Colón Díaz

August 3, 2000
Copyright © 2000 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN — Bilingual schools are part of New Progressive Party (NPP) President Carlos Pesquera's campaign promises in education, which he vowed to fulfill if elected governor.

Pesquera presented his education platform Wednesday afternoon at NPP headquarters in Santurce, where he promised to increase the number of bilingual schools in the island to 84, one per school district.

Pesquera said he decided to increase the number of bilingual schools after seeing the "enormous waiting lists" at the already-existing ones in Cidra and Añasco. By increasing the number of such schools, he said he would fulfill the "wishes" of "most Puerto Rican parents."

Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President Sila Calderon, who is Pesquera's contender, has said she would eliminate bilingual schools and instead improve the quality of the English being taught at public schools.

For his part, Pesquera said although he would promote a stronger English education in all public schools, he would increase the number of bilingual schools because that is what most parents want.


Radio Spots Raise Stakes In Tight Race

By Iván Román

August 6, 2000
Copyright © 2000 The Orlando Sentinel. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Indignant over a campaign they say hit a new low, three grim senators, perturbed parents and some blank-faced children stood on the small stage usually reserved for politicians at New Progressive Party headquarters.

They were there to blast a radio advertisement. In it, gubernatorial candidate Carlos Pesquera arrives at a house for a campaign visit. In hushed tones, the father tells his little boy to put the wallet under the mattress and hide his piggy bank.

"Why, Dad?"

"Because Pesquera`s here, and that guy can rob you when you least expect it."

Making obvious reference to public corruption scandals in the current NPP administration that Pesquera was a part of, the ad ends with the slogan, "With Pesquera and his new era, they`ll steal whatever you have left."

The senators and parents objected to calling Pesquera a thief and using children in such a negative message. They alleged the "Committee for Puerto Rico" that sponsored the ad was really an arm of the opposition Popular Democratic Party.

PDP leaders denied it. Then the real culprits came out .

Roberto Alejandro, once a student pro-independence leader who now teaches at a Massachusetts university, said the ads are designed to shake people up enough to establish a new party.

"What we`re trying to do is criticize the `two-party democracy` that rules Puerto Rico and show that neither the NPP or the PDP are true options for change," Alejandro said.

"Those attacks don`t surprise me," Pesquera said of the ads.

Besides denying involvement, PDP gubernatorial candidate Sila Calderon didn`t want to add to the flap by saying much.

But Alejandro and his committee have their sights on her. Soon to air: a commercial portraying a Calderon who takes no firm positions. The narrator says, "Sila Calderon: rhetoric without ideas, words without action."

And there are almost 100 days before voters go to the polls.


Calderon: Will Not Vote In Presidential Elections, If Approved

August 6, 2000
Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN - San Juan Mayor and Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Sila Calderon announced Friday that she will not vote for the U.S. president and vice president in the Nov. 7 general elections if the Legislature approves a law to that end.

"This trivial exercise to legislate for the presidential vote is a ploy and a fraud to the Puerto Rican people," she said. "I am not going to vote for the president now, even if the legislation is approved."

Calderon expressed her opinion in commenting statements by attorney Jose Alfredo Hernandez Mayoral, who asked PDP members to not participate in the process and insisted that they should leave their ballots blank, if the Legislature approves a law for Puerto Ricans to vote for the U.S. president on Nov. 7.

Gov. Pedro Rossello supports the Legislature in approving a bill that allows Puerto Ricans to vote for the U.S. president, which is opposed by PDP and the Puerto Rican Independence Party.

Rossello has the necessary votes in the Legislature for the law to pass.

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