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PuertoRicoWOW News Service

Pesquera: Won't Back Any Candidate, Praises Leo Diaz

by Proviana Colon Diaz

December 26, 2000
Copyright © 2000 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

Former New Progressive Party (NPP) President Carlos Pesquera declined Tuesday to officially back any candidate as his successor, but praised the qualities of outgoing Rep. Leonides Diaz.

Diaz confirmed Tuesday his inclination to run for the post during a radio interview.

Diaz, who did not seek re-election, was going to take time off for his family and return to the private practice. But when he was approached by several members of the NPP who asked him to challenge Interim President Norma Burgos for the post, he accepted the invitation.

Among other things, Pesquera and Burgos differed on their position over the Vieques issue. Pesquera repeatedly said the issue was solved with the presidential agreement while Burgos said it wasn't.

"In the case of Leo Diaz I recognize that he is someone who has always been supporting the party's decisions, and in my case he was with me both in the difficult and easy moments," Pesquera said.

After resigning his post as president Friday, Pesquera forecast that the aspirations of several people to preside over the party would soon be revealed.

"There are a lot of people who say: `President, we are with you all the way,' but in reality they aren't. It's good that all of this is happening because this is all part of the process to renovate the party," Pesquera said.

Pesquera made his statements Tuesday during a morning press conference to unveil oil portraits of himself and outgoing Department of Transportation and Public Works Secretary Sergio Gonzalez in the Gallery of Former Secretaries on the 17th floor of the department's headquarters.

A confrontational Pesquera accused the press of failing to recognize the "extraordinary work" made by the department under both his and Gonzalez's administrations.

In addition, he accused the press and Gov.-elect Sila Calderon's transition team of creating the image that the island is undergoing a "fiscal crisis."

Pesquera also encouraged Calderon to investigate the Urban Train and the department as a whole where he said she'll find everything in order.

"One can't be accused of overspending when all we did was invest. This is not unnecessary spending, this is necessary investment," said Pesquera, highlighting some achievements of his tenure as secretary, such as the completion of PR-10, from Arecibo to Utuado and Adjuntas to Ponce, and PR-22 from Barceloneta to Vega Alta.

Pesquera headed the transportation department until he was tapped by Gov. Pedro Rossello to take over the NPP presidency last year.

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