AAV: Don’t Reject Cabinet Nominees For Political Reasons… Gov’t Makes $3m Available To Aid Businesses… SJ Teachers Protest School Conditions… Bhatia Lobbies To Retain 3 Fed Programs… UPR Students Continue Strike, AAV: New Budget Will Help… Ft Buchanan Rally Set… NPP To Send Congress Status Message

Governor: Cabinet Nominees Shouldn’t Be Turned Down For Political Reasons

April 14, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) - Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila on Thursday criticized intentions to turn down, for purely political reasons, the nominations of some of the people he has named for his Cabinet.

Acevedo Vila said that to turn down a nomination out of vengeance or a political grudge, is to do a disservice to the people who chose them, as much to him as the legislators.

"The Cabinet I have nominated is of the highest order," the governor said, and added the people he chose have a great capacity for work, are highly intelligent, have vision and are committed to Puerto Rico.

The governor noted media reports that said the House of Representatives intends to turn down the nomination of Marisara Pont Marchese as secretary of the State Department, as well as Gloria Baquero in the Department of Education and Roberto Sanchez Ramos, in the Justice Department, among others.

Government Makes $3 Million Available To Help Businesses

April 14, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — The secretary of the Labor and Human Resources Department, Roman Velasco Gonzalez, said Thursday that they will be making $3 million available to mitigate problems for some businesses.

Velasco Gonzalez said the money comes from the Fund for the Development of Work Opportunities and will be destined for the Puerto Rico Trade and Export Co., to finish cases that were not taken care of because of financial limitations in the Mitigation Plan that began last year.

He said in a statement that he signed an administrative order and an agreement between his department and the Trade and Export Co.

"The issuing of this administrative order will cover these businesses that had protection under the mitigation plan for salary subsidies during the revitalization work on urban areas in 27 cities," Velasco Gonzalez said.

Teachers In San Juan Protest Poor School Conditions

April 14, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Teachers, parents and students from the Jaime Rosado Baez School in Barrio Obrero will hold a demonstration at 11 a.m. Thursday morning to protest health and security problems that they say plague the school.

The protest will be held in front of the school, which has 180 students, and will confront serious problems with health issues in the school community, said teacher Luz Gonzalez.

She said there are also serious security problems and "the Department of Education has not attended to repeated requests from the school community to resolve" the problems.

Also, at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the Teachers Federation will hold a demonstration against the management of the San Juan education region for problems in city schools.

Teacher Maria Elena lara, secretary of the organizing group, said the protest will be held in front of the regional offices of Barbosa Avenue in Rio Piedras.

Bhatia Lobbies For Federal Funds In Manufacturing, Infrastructure

April 13, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — The executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, Eduardo Bhatia, on Wednesday said he will speak with several members of Congress to reiterate the importance of maintaining three programs that promote manufacturing and infrastructure projects on the island.

These programs would be affected by the budget cuts proposed by President George W. Bush.

Bhatia said he will lobby Congress in favor of keeping the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the construction projects program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Airport Improvement Program.

The executive director of the PRFAA said the MEP provides technical assistance to small and medium-size manufacturing businesses.

UPR Students Vote To Continue Strike

April 13, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Students from the Rio Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico on Wednesday decided to continue the strike that has halted classes since last week.

The strike is in protest of the tuition hike announced by the UPR board of governors last week.

The decision to continue the strike was made during a General Assembly held Wednesday morning at the Rio Piedras campus.

More than 700 students voted in favor of continuing the walkout and nearly five hundred favored returning to classes.

Acevedo Vila Says New Budget Will Help UPR Situation

April 13, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila told the Legislature on Tuesday that they must approve the budget he recommended, because if it is done any other way, the financial situation at the University of Puerto Rico would be much worse.

The governor said he respects the university’s autonomy and the Executive Branch has already done everything in its power about the fiscal crisis, and the student strike that has halted classes at some UPR campuses.

"The university approached me about the funds that were taken away in the past, and I made the decision to restore the funds that were taken, and as a matter of fact there is an increase of $100 million. I call attention to legislators that if they do not approve the budget I submitted (to the Legislature) the situation will be very serious," he said during a press conference in Caguas.

Last week, UPR President Antonio Garcia Padilla announced that tuition will increase for the next semester that begins in August.

[Students at the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico voted Wednesday to continue an indefinite strike, calling on officials to overturn a decision to raise next year's tuition by 33 percent.]

Hernandez Mayoral Will Hold Rally To Keep Fort Buchanan Open

April 13, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — Sen. Juan Eugenio Hernandez Mayoral on Wednesday called for Puerto Ricans to attend a demonstration to be held Saturday in front of the entrance to Fort Buchanan in Guaynabo.

Hernandez Mayoral said the event will kick off at 9 a.m. Saturday in front of the main entrance.

"Everyone who defends our citizenship and feels proud of our permanent relationship with the United States of America must defend the permanence of this facility, which had an educational institution with 2,000 students, as well as gives support to federal agencies on the island and offers health clinics for our veterans," the senator said.

The U.S. government has included Fort Buchanan on a list of military installations that could possibly be closed.

Hernandez Mayoral said the message sent to the United States with the demonstration must be clear and convincing to support families of Puerto Ricans in the military.

NPP Will Present Resolution To Send Message To U.S. Congress

April 13, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — The president of the New Progressive Party (NPP), Pedro Rossello, on Tuesday announced that the NPP majority in both legislative houses will present a concurrent resolution about status, after which he underlined that "the period of negotiation ends."

The concurrent resolution, which will be presented Wednesday in both the House and the Senate, establishes that the Legislative Assembly will turn to the Congress and the president of the United States to present a message.

The message says: "We, the people of Puerto Rico, by way of the Legislative Assembly … petition the United States Congress debate quickly to provide us with an electoral method through which we would be able to choose what would be, if any, our political relationship with the United States, among fully democratic non-colonial and non-territorial alternatives."

However, Rossello said after the end of a conference with 43 of the 49 NPP legislators that the lower House on Tuesday agreed to reconsider the vote to override Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila’s veto of the status bill.

The vote was issued Monday and was not approved because it lacked the vote of one PDP representative to come up with the two-thirds majority necessary for an override.

Rossello said that by reconsidering the vote, he intends to give an opportunity to a legislator from the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) to "live up to his word."

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