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Calderon Says People’s Will Prevents Live Bombing

Vieques Lawsuit Dismissed

P.R. To Appeal

Nat’l Guard Unit To Middle East

Gov’t Ads Reach $1M

PIP: Governor Is Navy’s Enemy & Accomplice

Civil Disobedience To Continue

3 Kings Day To Cost $375K

Governor: People's Will Only Thing Preventing Live Bombing

By Proviana Colon Diaz

January 3, 2002
Copyright © 2002 PRWOW News Service. All rights reserved.

One day after a Washington D.C. U.S. District Court judge dismissed a lawsuit by the Puerto Rico government attempting to halt U.S. Navy military practices in Vieques, Gov. Sila Calderon said the only thing preventing live bombing in the range is the "will of the people."

Calderon made her statement Thursday when asked repeatedly what could prevent the Navy from using live ammunition now that her administration had failed in several of its strategies to obtain the ousting of the Navy from Vieques.

"The will of the United States, the will of the people of Puerto Rico, and our resistance as a society," Calderon said.

Being that Calderon has repeatedly declined to reveal her strategies when dealing with the issue, she alleged Thursday that her strategy had been unchanged.

"Our strategy is exactly what I have said - maintain ourselves strong and continue with our claim and our demands in the White House," Calderon said.

Asked anew whether she would seek a meeting with President George W. Bush to discuss the issue of Vieques, the governor for the first time said there "is a possibility."

"It is a possibility, it is a possibility. It will depend on outside circumstances, but it is definitely a real possibility," Calderon said.

The governor made her statements during a press conference after holding her first cabinet meeting of the year 2002, where rather than announcing what her accomplishments were during her first year in office, Calderon informed her plans to strengthen her administration's top priorities: "clean government, economic development, and social justice."

Judge Dismisses Puerto Rico Lawsuit On Vieques

January 3, 2002
Copyright © 2002 REUTERS. All rights reserved.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Puerto Rico that sought to halt U.S. Navy training exercises on the island of Vieques, citing a lack of jurisdiction in an order released Wednesday.

Puerto Rico sued the Navy in April to force compliance with a new noise-limit law in the U.S. Caribbean territory and the Federal Noise Control Act, which gives states authority to control noise levels in their jurisdictions.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler threw out Puerto Rico's legal action, saying the territory did not have the right to file a federal lawsuit to force compliance with a local noise law.

``While the political and policy issues raised in this case are complex and involve the clash of many important interests, the legal issue, in contrast, is simple and straightforward,'' Kessler wrote in the decision, handed down on New Year's Eve but made public Wednesday,

``The Noise Control Act does not provide the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico with a private right of action to sue in federal district court for the Navy's failure to comply with the peak sound pressure limits established by the Noise Prohibition Act,'' Kessler wrote.

[``We think the decision is erroneous, and we plan to appeal,'' Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez of the U.S. Caribbean territory of Puerto Rico said Wednesday.

Fisherman Carlos Zenon, a staunch anti-Navy opponent, said taking the case further in the courts would be a waste of time.

``The only option the governor has left is to go directly to lobby in Washington for the Navy's withdrawal, and for the people the only alternative is civil disobedience,'' he said.]

Puerto Rico Appeals Decision To Allow Navy To Bomb Vieques

January 3, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Puerto Rico leaders say they will challenge a federal judge's decision to allow the U.S. Navy to continue bombing a prized range on Vieques.

"We think the decision is erroneous, and we plan to appeal" to the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez said Wednesday.

Puerto Rico brought its complaint last year after Gov. Sila Calderon signed a law banning loud noises along island shores. It came at the height of a strong protest movement and was intended to end the Vieques bombing. It cited the U.S. Noise Control Act of 1972, which allows states or territories to set noise-control laws.

But District Court Judge Gladys Kessler dismissed the case, ruling Monday in Washington that the noise law "does not provide plaintiff a cause of action to sue in federal district court for the violations alleged."

The statute delegates that ministerial responsibility to the U.S. executive branch.

"In her decision and order, Kessler did not invoke any national security foundation but based her decision on a literal interpretation of the federal law, known as the Noise Prohibition Act of 1972, which we think is wrong," the Justice chief said.

The official said she recommended to the governor to appeal, and Calderon accepted. The lawsuit has cost the treasury "several hundreds of thousands of dollars," Rodriguez said. However, she did not know the exact amount.

National Guard Unit Heads To Middle East

January 3, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - A unit of the military police of the Puerto Rico National Guard was mobilized to the Middle East, brigade Gen. Francisco A. Marquez, general aide in Puerto Rico, confirmed Wednesday.

The military official said in a prepared statement that Company 544 of the military police will be sent to an undisclosed location to perform several operations of a public order in the Middle Eastern region.

Marquez said the unit reported Wednesday at Camp Santiago in Salinas to begin the necessary preparation and training for their deployment to the aforementioned region.

Government Advertising Costs Reach $1M

January 3, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - During her first year at La Fortaleza and in the midst of a budget deficit, Gov. Sila Calderon used up $1 million in six advertising contracts and communication and public relations consulting, according to published reports.

Of this amount, $600,000 were spent during the first semester of 2001, and the contracts were renewed until July of this year for $400,000, according to the information provided by La Fortaleza.

This last number, however, may increase because the agreement included finding funds from other allocations to increase these amounts if necessary.

When questioned about the need to grant these contracts, Calderon refused to answer, noting that she had no details of these agreements, and therefore, nothing to say.

Calderon Accused Of Being Both Enemy And Accomplice Of Navy

January 2, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Rep. Victor Garcia San Inocencio described Gov. Sila Calderon as both an enemy and an accomplice of the U.S. Navy.

The PIP legislator explained that the governor's apparent stance is to be against the Navy, but her inaction in the issue denotes an attitude of complicity.

Calderon didn't comment on this but has insisted that she hasn't changed her position regarding the halt of live bombing on Vieques.

Garcia San Inocencio believes that the alleged complicity of the governor toward the Navy responds to two situations: that she has concluded she cannot run for a second term by fighting against the Navy, and that she sees herself as a spokeswoman of an economic sector with great interest in seeking concessions and privileges in Washington.

The PIP representative said one thing is to have Calderon say, as anyone would say, that she wants the Navy out of Vieques and another thing is the change in her government's attitude from being an instrument to seek justice to one of inactivity regarding the Navy's intentions.

Civil Disobedience Acts To Continue In Vieques

January 2, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Acts of civil disobedience will continue in Vieques and the fight against the presence of the U.S. Navy on the island municipality will increase during 2002, according to Robert Rabin, spokesman of the Pro Rescue and Development of Vieques Committee.

Rabin said in a radio interview that there is "much enthusiasm to continue with the fight" of the Vieques people and that includes participating in acts of civil disobedience.

He added that not only will they continue with that type of protest against the military practices of the Navy in Vieques, but will also widen their demands at an international level.

Rabin said he counts with the solidarity of countries such as Japan, England, France, and Spain.

"We will continue not only with civil disobedience, but also we are preparing a series of protest events in Vieques, the main island, and several part of the United States," he added.

Three Kings Day Celebration At La Fortaleza To Cost $375,000

January 2, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - On Sunday, the government will celebrate the traditional Three Kings Day at a cost of $375,000, said Maria Elena Gonzalez Calderon, director of the First Lady's Office.

An additional $175,000 for the celebration was donated by the private sector, according to Chief of Staff Cesar Miranda.

The event will be coordinated by the Milestone company, which is directed by Gov. Sila Calderon's former aide Eduardo Rivero, who will charge $20,000 to organize the event. These funds will come from the Tourism Co., Miranda said.

The toys to be distributed among the children this year will not be violent and will consist of educational and sports items. Children's books will also be distributed this year to promote reading among youngsters.

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