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Former Justice Chief Appointed To Bush Work Group

Puerto Rico's Population Rose 8.1% In 10 Years

Calderon Appoints Financial Cabinet Members

Clinton Regrets `No' To Medicare Hike

Calderon Backs Actions To Oust Navy

Calderon Asked To Honor Vieques Deal

Burgos Is NPP President

P.R. Celebrates Flag's 105th Anniversary


December 28th, 2000.  

Former Justice Chief Appointed To Bush Work Group

SAN JUAN (AP) - Former Justice Secretary Jose Fuentes Agostini was appointed as member of the U.S. Department of Justice transition committee for President-elect George W. Bush.

The appointment was made by Vice President-elect Dick Cheney in consultation with Republican Party Puerto Rico Chapter President Luis A. Ferre and positions Fuentes Agostini as a possible appointee at the federal Justice department, according to published reports.

Fuentes Agostini, a Republican, has been working in Washington, D.C. since he resigned as Justice secretary here.


Puerto Rico's Population Rose 8.1% In 10 Years

By Jeffry Valentin-Mari of Caribbean Business

SAN JUAN — 12/28/00 - Puerto Rico's population rose 8.1% between 1990 and 2000 to 3.8 million, according to the first results of the Census 2000 released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Census 2000 results shows that the island population grew by 286,573 over the 3.5 million counted during the 1990 census.

The resident population of the U.S. on April 1 was 281.4 million, representing an increase of 13.2% over the 248.7 million counted in 1990.


December 28th, 2000.  

Calderon Appoints Financial Cabinet Members

SAN JUAN — Gov.-elect Sila Calderon on Thursday announced the appointment of Ramon Cantero Frau as Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce, Juan Agosto Alicea as Government Development Bank President, Melba Acosta as Office of Management and Budget Executive Director, Juan A. Flores Galarza as Treasury Secretary, Jorge Pesquera as Tourism Co. Executive Director and Maria M. Fuentes Pujols as President of the Economic Development Bank.


Clinton Regrets Congressional `No' To Medicare Hike For P.R.

December 27, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The U.S. Congress did not approve an increase in Medicare disbursements for Puerto Rico, contrary to a proposal by outgoing President Bill Clinton and several Congress members.

"I'm disillusioned that the measure doesn't include my proposal of making hospital service payments in Puerto Rico more equal to the indexes that apply to the rest of the nation," said Clinton in a recent message, according to published reports.

Clinton had included the Medicare hike for Puerto Rico in his list of priorities in budget negotiations with the Republican-dominated Congress


Calderon Backs Vieques Mayor-Elect Actions To Oust Navy

December 26, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Gov.-elect Sila Calderon on Tuesday backed statements by Vieques Mayor-elect Damaso Serrano to oust the U.S. Navy from that island municipality.

Serrano sent a letter to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton asking her to "do everything in her power" so that President Bill Clinton issues an executive order to remove the Navy from Vieques before he leaves office on Jan. 20.

"He has my complete backing. I support Damaso Serrano and we work toward the same end," Calderon said.

She said Clinton has a letter before him, which he has not answered, in which leaders of all three political parties, as well as religious and civic leaders, asked him to order the immediate cease of military practices in Vieques before he leaves office.


Calderon Asked To Honor Vieques Deal


December 23, 2000
Copyright © 2000 The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star, Norfolk, VA. All Rights Reserved.

WASHINGTON - The Navy formally notified Puerto Rico's incoming governor on Friday that it won't proceed with economic development programs on Vieques Island unless her administration abides by an aid- for-training agreement struck by the service and her predecessor in January.

A four-sentence letter faxed to Gov.-elect Sila Calderon by Navy Secretary Richard Danzig gave no hint as to whether the service intends to resume live bombing and shelling on its Vieques training range. The deal restricted the Navy to using dummy ordnance, while it implemented a $40 million aid program and prepared for a Nov. 6, 2001, referendum on the future of the 900-acre range.

A vote by local residents to preserve the range was to trigger another $50 million in aid. The Navy had agreed to vacate the island if it lost the vote.

The Navy still wants to honor the agreement, Danzig wrote, "but cannot responsibly do so" if Puerto Rican authorities take actions "inconsistent with the Commonwealth's commitments."

Puerto Rico had agreed to provide police protection at the main gate to the Navy's property on Vieques and to cooperate in a limited schedule of training with dummy bombs on the range. Calderon, who takes office Jan. 2, has said she'll withdraw the police and push for the adoption of noise restrictions that could shut the range down immediately.

Calderon "single handedly has the opportunity to put this process back on track," a defense official said. He warned of a "future of unknown consequences" if she persists in her insistence that the Navy close the range now.


Burgos Is NPP President, Pledges Renovation Without Exclusion

By Proviana Colon Diaz

December 23, 2000
Copyright © 2000 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

"Renovation without exclusion."

That will be the motto of the New Progressive Party (NPP) under the tenure of Norma Burgos as the first woman to lead her party.

Burgos, who held her first press conference as NPP interim president, ascended to the post after President Carlos Pesquera quit. Pesquera resigned after Misla Aldarondo was elected in a caucus Thursday by fellow lawmakers as their minority leader in the upcoming Legislature. Pesquera had asked Misla Aldarondo to drop his bid for the post so he could leave the way clear for a leadership renovation.

"We come here with will and determination to reorganize this party. We are aware of the need to renovate and will do so without setting aside party members who have dedicated the best years of their lives to this party," Burgos said.

Present at NPP headquarters were Misla Aldarondo, Rep. Iris Miriam Ruiz and party founder Luis A. Ferre, among others.

Sen. Orlando Parga Jr. issued a written statement calling for an amendment to party rules. Parga proposed that a presidential board be created to lead the renovation process until a General Assembly is called for the election of a president.

The petition was backed by Sens.-elect Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer, Kenneth McClintock, Bayamon Mayor-elect Ramon Luis Rivera Jr., outgoing Bayamon Mayor Ramon Luis Rivera Sr., as well as Guaynabo Mayor Hector O'Neill.

Ramirez de Ferrer said she backed Parga's decision and added that she could not say whether Burgos can lead the party to a proper transition because "I have never seen her do so."

Asked about the petition, Burgos said she became aware of it Friday afternoon when McClintock called her and told her Parga had issued the two-page statement.

Many within the NPP oppose Burgos' leadership, including her fellow senators at the Legislature, who recently chose McClintock as their minority leader in a meeting that excluded her. Burgos received the most votes of any NPP senator in the past election.

In taking over the party presidency, Burgos becomes president of the legislative conference and is therefore above McClintock.

Burgos said party rules and regulations will prevail and she will have the support of leaders such as Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero Barcelo and Gov. Pedro Rossello. She acknowledged, however, that she had not spoken to any of them.

The group that is recommending the presidential board won't support Burgos for, among other things, her stand on the Vieques issue. Burgos has been vocal that the U.S. Navy must leave the island municipality, alienating more conservative NPP members.

The party's priority will be to call for a general assembly within the next 30 days.

Burgos will then officially announce her candidacy as president. She declined to say whether she would run for governor in 2004.

"To talk about candidacies for 2004 at this time is precisely what hurts this renovation," Burgos said.


Puerto Rico Celebrates Its Flag's 105th Anniversary

December 23, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - For the fifth consecutive year, the Ateneo Puertorriqueño commemorated Friday the anniversary of the Puerto Rican flag, which was proclaimed the island's emblem for the first time 105 years ago by a Puerto Rican section of the Cuban Revolutionary Party in New York.

Before dozens of people, several local artists, and pro-independence leaders, Ateneo Puertorriqueño President Eduardo Morales Coll hoisted the flag accompanied by renowned singer Roy Brown, to whom this year's celebration was dedicated.

"We don't need a special reason to be proud of being Puerto Rican. Let us be proud today," said Morales Coll, who described the flag as a "sublime expression of patriotism and the synthesis of who we are."

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