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Island Pursues Key Caribbean Role

Mercado: PDP Not Separatist

NPP Seeks Improved Relations With U.S.

Dominican President To Visit San Juan

Pesquera Lobbies To Keep Military Bases

Pereira To Intervene In Vieques


Puerto Rico In Pursuit Of A Key Role In The Caribbean

The Island attempts to become a "bridge" for the hemisphere


December 6, 2001
Copyright © 2001 El Nuevo Herald. All rights reserved.

In an attempt to serve as "a bridge" between the great Caribbean and the rest of the hemisphere, Puerto Rico is undertaking the task of becoming more closely united with its neighbors in order to broaden its commercial ties with them, said Gov. Sila M. Calderon yesterday.

The overwhelming repercussions of last September's terrorist attacks are being severely felt by the economies of Caribbean countries. There has been a sharp decrease in tourism, which is one of their main economic activities, but at the same time, commerce has increased and Gov. Calderon's idea is to discover new ways of strengthening commercial ties in the region.

To that end, Calderon will visit the Dominican Republic to promote "greater commerce" between the two islands, which will open the door to greater cooperation and business alliances.

According to Calderon, given Puerto Rico's role within the Caribbean basin in education, medicine and services, it is in the position to collaborate with the region in its developmental efforts, be they technological, humanitarian or financial, so that they will be able to compete in a more global economy.

Moreover, Calderon indicated that her government is making progress in its economic strategy to stimulate foreign investment, mainly from the US, to increase production, tourism and international commerce, and to create new jobs while at the same time fighting poverty.

She made her remarks at the Caribbean Latin American Action's 25th annual Miami conference on Wednesday.

Mercado: Pesquera's Statements Against Government False

December 6, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Secretary of State Ferdinand Mercado said in a prepared statement that New Progressive Party President Carlos Pesquera's statements against Gov. Sila Calderon's administration are "false and irresponsible."

Mercado, who has been working as acting governor during Calderon's visit to Miami and the Dominican Republic, denied that the current administration has "separatist or radical postures."

"We are commonwealth supporters; we respect and value our American citizenship and our relationship with the United States, and we defend the permanent union [with the nation] while being Puerto Ricans," Mercado said in a prepared statement.

The Cabinet member reacted to the statements issued Wednesday by Pesquera, who said he had confirmed that the local government is perceived by the United States as an administration "with a separatist attitude and radical postures."

NPP To Create Committee To Improve Relations With U.S.

By Proviana Colon Diaz

December 6, 2001
Copyright © 2001 PRWOW News Service. All rights reserved.

NPP President Carlos Pesquera announced Wednesday that the party directorate agreed to create a working committee to improve the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States.

In a unanimous decision, the New Progressive Party (NPP) Directorate agreed Wednesday to create a working committee to improve the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States, which in their opinion, has been damaged by Gov. Sila Calderon's administration.

The working committee will be headed by former Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero Barcelo, Sen. Kenneth McClintock, Sen. Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer, former Bayamon Mayor Ramon Luis Rivera Sr., and attorney Hector Ramos.

NPP President Carlos Pesquera made the announcement following the emergency directorate meeting that he held following his return from Capitol Hill, where he met with Republican and Democrat members of the U.S. Congress.

Pesquera also met with White House Puerto Rican Affairs aid Ramon Barrales.

The former gubernatorial candidate said he decided to call the meeting after confirming that Calderon's government is perceived as a "separatist" administration that is more concerned with belonging to international organizations than guaranteeing the stay of the military bases on the island.

"We will not allow the separatist politics or the radical positions of this administration to damage the strong relationship that we have had for over 100 years with the United States," said Pesquera, adding that many people, including NPP and Popular Democratic Party governors, have worked to maintain a good relationship with the United States.

The NPP president added that there is a growing worry among members of Congress with Calderon's continuing decision to establish agreements with foreign countries without following the proper procedures as a Commonwealth should.

One example is Calderon's Thursday trip to the Dominican Republic to establish a collaboration agreement of economic, cultural, and commercial aid between both governments.

Pesquera's meetings in Capitol Hill and the White House come four months after retaking the NPP presidency.

Although acknowledging that "we are at times of war," Pesquera said there is space to discuss the "issue of Puerto Rico" in Washington D.C.

"We, as an institution, will promote the discussion of the status issue on a congressional level, and we will promote that public hearings, both in Congress and in Puerto Rico, on this matter be held over the next year," Pesquera said.

Pesquera added that this does not necessarily mean that the NPP will be seeking a referendum for the island's status, at least not at this moment.

However, he added that he did receive direct information regarding the interest of the House Natural Resources Committee to discuss the matter during the next Congress session.

The NPP directorate also unanimously approved a resolution that begins an orientation process with the island's citizens to inform them of the risk posed by Calderon's current "separatist" administration.

The party also approved to hold multiple activities to express their support for President George W. Bush and Congress in their continuing fight against terrorism.

Dominican President To Visit San Juan

December 5, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini met with Dominican Republic President Hipolito Mejia on Tuesday in Miami and announced that the neighboring leader will visit Puerto Rico in February.

Santini said he explained to Mejia about the capital's programs and efforts in favor of the Dominican community in San Juan.

Some 50,000 Dominicans reside in the capital city.

"The Dominican president, in turn, promised to visit the island in the month of February," Santini said in a prepared statement.

Santini said during Mejia's visit to San Juan, he will tour different sectors of the capital where a great number of Dominican immigrants live.

Pesquera Lobbies To Keep Military Bases On The Island

December 4, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - New Progressive Party President Carlos Pesquera met with officials of President George W. Bush's administration at the White House to lobby for the permanence of the military bases on Puerto Rico.

The NPP announced in a prepared statement that Pesquera met Monday with Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Special Aide Ruben Barrales, through whom Pesquera asked to give priority to the discussion of the status of Puerto Rico.

"My main interest was to discuss the concern of thousands of Puerto Ricans regarding the permanence of the military bases on Puerto Rico in the midst of reports that their possible ousting from the island is being evaluated," Pesquera said.

According to the prepared statement, Pesquera also met with Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-AK) who is also a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee at the U.S. Congress, which deals with matters related to Puerto Rico.

Pereira To Intervene With Law Violators In Vieques

December 4, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Police Superintendent-designate Miguel Pereira warned that he will intervene with those who plan to cut through the fence of Camp Garcia in Vieques because it is a felony in Puerto Rico.

Pereira said in published reports that the police will enforce the local laws in Vieques within the local jurisdiction, while the federal authorities will be responsible for anything that happens on the other side of the fence of the military camp.

The newly appointed chief said he still needs to evaluate how many police officers will be sent to Vieques during the military practices scheduled for January.

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