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AAV Against Congress Defining Status Options, Wants Closer FBI Collaboration… NPP Still Divided On Senate Presidency… Picu Chicken Returns To Market… Mandatory Drug Tests For Senators Proposed… Calderon Officials Deny Budget Deficit… Hypocrite Athletes… Fiscal Reform Comm. Wants Public Input… AAV Cuts Immigration From ELA, Dem Gov’s Back Him On Status

Governor Objects To Congress Defining Status Options


March 2, 2005
Copyright © 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila on Wednesday clarified his main objection to the process to resolve the status issue preferred by the New Progressive Party (NPP), saying it gives to the U.S. Congress the power to select political options for the island.

Acevedo Vila is fighting for a constitutional assembly to be the process that allows Puerto Ricans to define their status hopes, but

"In the proposal (of referendum) of the NPP it gives the representatives and senators (of the United States) the power to tell us what aspirations we can have and we say yes or no," he said in public hearings of the House Government Committee.

He said he would prefer that people "who dream in Puerto Rican and suffer in Puerto Rican" make the decision.

Acevedo Vila said he was bothered by the categorization that was made of the constitutional assembly by Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño, who he called anti-democratic.

During his presentation of more than four hours, the governor made a call to end the impasse surrounding the status issue, and emphasized that it must be the people that choose which process they prefer, a constitutional assembly or a plebiscite.

AAV Seeks Closer Collaboration With FBI

March 1, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Dow Jones International News

SAN JUAN (AP)--Puerto Rico's governor has asked for more cooperation between the government of this U.S. Caribbean territory and the FBI as the island struggles with violent crime.

Anibal Acevedo Vila called for the "closer relationship" at a meeting Monday with FBI director Robert Mueller in Washington, D.C., where Acevedo Vila was attending a conference of the National Governors Association.

"The first priority" of his government is battling crime, said Acevedo Vila, who was elected to a four-year term in November.

The island's four million people, who are U.S. citizens but have no vote in U.S. Congress and cannot vote for president, have been clamoring for stricter law enforcement and more severe penalties. There were 793 homicides - mostly drug-related - in 2004, surpassing 780 murders in 2003. It was the highest rate in eight years.

By comparison, New York City - with double the population - reported 570 homicides last year.

Acevedo Vila said Mueller told him that, with FBI assistance, a DNA laboratory could be operational and fingerprints computerized in Puerto Rico this year.

Puerto Rico's police laboratories already collaborate with FBI labs, and Acevedo Vila said he had asked the FBI to help train Puerto Rico's police lab workers.

An FBI spokesman in Puerto Rico did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Tuesday. [ 01-03-05 1520GMT ]

NPP Remains Divided On Senate Presidency Issue


March 1, 2005
Copyright © 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — New Progressive Party (NPP) leaders arrived Tuesday at the meeting of party leadership with different positions on the Senate presidency and the aspirations of Pedro Rossello to the post.

For some, such as former NPP president Leo Diaz, and the vice president of the party, Jorge Santini, the subject of the presidency continues and could be discussed at the leadership meeting.

"I am confident that Pedro Rossello will be president of the Senate soon. I did not come to bring up the topic, but if someone does, we are going to discuss it,"Diaz said as he arrived at party headquarters in Hato Rey.

Santini said he called on the senators to hear the call from the party’s base that Rossello should lead the Senate.

He said he did not know the meeting agenda, but said that if someone raises the issue of the presidency, he will be available to discuss it.

However, the mayor of Canovanas, Jose Soto, and Senate vice president Orlando Parga, insisted that the dispute is a "closed subject."

Picu Chicken Returns To Market

March 1, 2005
Copyright © 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SALINAS (AP) — After nine months off the market, chicken will again be sold under the Picu label at businesses across most of the island, said the owner of Productos Avícolas del Sur (PAS), Fernando Echegarray.

The owner said Picu chicken has begun to be sold, and reiterated that he hopes to reopen the Coamo processing plant in October.

"We have the privilege of returning the Picu label to the market, from the past summer it was not there for consumers, the whole world is pleased," Echegarray said in a press conference.

"Picu was the plant and the brand that served as an example, including firms in the United States and supported much of the economy of the central area," he added.

Bill Would Make Drug Tests Mandatory For Senators

March 1, 2005
Copyright © 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — If a bill proposed by legislator Hector Martinez is accepted, senators will have to submit to mandatory drug testing.

The senator said the drug tests would be done at random to detect the use of controlled substances.

"Our interest is to show that the Senate … is seriously committed to the people and that all the legislators assume a commitment of zero tolerance against drugs," Martinez, the president of the Senate Commission for Public Security, said in a statement.

He said that although a program to detect controlled substances in the Senate already exists, his project would make the tests mandatory, and put the situation in the hands of the Ethics Commission if a senator tests positive.

La Fortaleza: No Comment On Statements By Calderon Officials

March 1, 2005
Copyright © 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Silence was the official position of La Fortaleza Tuesday, after allegations by members of the Cabinet of former governor Sila M. Calderon, that there is not a deficit of $1.3 billion, as has been alleged by the administration of Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila.

Chief of Staff Anibal Jose Torres refused to enter into a controversial debate with the administration of the former governor, and said Acevedo Vila’s staff will concentrate on presenting alternatives to overcome the difficult financial situation.

"I am not going to enter into a dispute with good friends and colleagues from the administration of Sila Maria Calderon. Here we are going to present alternatives, we are going to look for solutions and every statement we make will be to present the alternatives to the people of Puerto Rico," Torres said in a radio interview.

The former officials did not deny that the existing budget could face a deficit, but attributed it to the excess in agency expenses in the past six months.

The deficit has been estimated at some $300 million to $400 million.

Hypocrite Athletes


March 1, 2005
Copyright © 2005 SO FL SUN-SENTINEL. All rights reserved. 

I never cease to be amazed at the blatant hypocrisy of these arrogant athletes. Here we go praising an individual who cannot stand for the playing of God Bless America, but can accept American dollars to support himself, 52 million American dollars to be exact.

If Mr. Delgado was an honest man, he would forgo accepting American dollars, and he would have remained in his Puerto Rico to pursue whatever nationalistic objectives he desired.

Mr. Delgado is entitled to his opinion of America and his love for Puerto Rico, but I am entitled to point out his hypocrisy in accepting money from a country that he cannot respect.

Edward C. Osborne

Fiscal Reform Committee Wants Public Input

February 28, 2005
Copyright © 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The committee named by Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vila to study fiscal reform announced Monday that it will begin a dialogue with members of the community interested in presenting their ideas on the issue.

The Special Committee for Fiscal Reform for Puerto Rico will hold hearings on March 4 in San Juan, March 8 in Mayaguez, and also will take written presentations from interested parties.

The co-presidents of the group, Andrés Morgado and Luis Benítez, said in a staement that written presentations must be sent to Vanessa Fernandez and requestes to testify must be made to Carlos Cuevas, located on the eighth floor of the Intendente Ramírez building.

Interested parties can e-mail Telephone is 787-751-6164.

Democratic Governors Back Acevedo Vila’s Status Proposal

February 28, 2005
Copyright © 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The Association of Democratic Governors of the United States on Monday endorsed the status proposal from Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila to hold a referendum in which Puerto Ricans choose the process with which to fight for their political future.

La Fortaleza announced the resolution would be presented by the governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, explained by Acevedo Vila, and seconded by the governor of Pennsylvania, Edward Rendell.

"It was resolved by the Democratic Governor’s Association to back the governor of Puerto Rico’s initiative to hold a referendum so the people of Puerto Rico can, democratically, choose the procedure to follow in relation to the political future of Puerto Rico," the resolution read, according to a copy sent to the media by La Fortaleza.

"I am satisfied and profoundly grateful that the Democratic governors have understood and supported our initiative, which seeks to place in the hands of the people the important discussion on status and take it away from the monopoly the political parties have maintained," the governor said in a statement.

ELA Development Should Not Include Immigration Laws, Governor Says

February 28, 2005
Copyright © 2005 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila said the restructuring of the ‘Estado Libre Asociado’ (ELA) should not include the local government reclaiming control of immigration laws, an initiative that has been considered in the past by Popular Democratic Party leaders.

The governor said current circumstances differ from the 1970s, when then-PDP leader Rafael Hernández Colón argued that Puerto Rico should assume control over the immigration system.

"The thoughts on migration are different than in the 1970s," Acevedo Vila said to a paper from Washington, D.C.

The issue of immigration has been relegated to the development initiatives of the ELA that the PDP has proposed in recent years, including the most recent definition, approved in 1998.

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