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Rossello To Intervene In Presidential Vote Lawsuit

U.S. To Appeal Death Penalty Ruling

Anti-Navy March Set

Puerto Rico Contributes $450,000 To Bush

First FBI Files Released

Vieques Exercises Resume; Four Arrested

Sister Isolina Ferre Dies

Rossello To Take Part In Lawsuit Over Presidential Vote

July 29, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - After U.S. District Court Judge Jaime Pieras granted the request from Solicitor General Gustavo Gelpi, Gov. Pedro Rossello will take part in the civil lawsuit over the presidential vote, officials said.

Gelpi presented a motion Thursday, requesting that Pieras give his authorization for Rossello to intervene in the case as Puerto Rico governor, according to published reports.

Gelpi argued that the final decision will not only affect the 11 plaintiffs that initiated the case, but all American citizens that reside on the island.

Pieras ruled last week that 11 Aguadilla residents have the right to vote in the next U.S. presidential elections. The judge concluded that the right to vote for president is inherent to the American citizenship.

"The applicants, the Commonwealth, and Gov. Pedro Rossello have the supreme responsibility to take the necessary affirmative measures at the local level to protect the constitutional rights of all Puerto Rican residents," said the government's motion that was accepted by the judge.

San Juan Mayor and Popular Democratic Party President Sila Calderon said the party will probably also join the lawsuit, but during the appellate stage.

The U.S. Justice Department still has not decided if it will appeal Pieras' decision, officials said.


U.S. To Appeal Death Penalty Ruling

July 29, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The U.S. Attorney's Office formally notified U.S. District Court Judge Salvador Casellas that it will appeal his decision to declare the application of capital punishment to federal cases in Puerto Rico as unconstitutional because its people have no vote in federal elections.

Justice Department officials view the ruling "as saying that Puerto Rico can veto a national law" and that it "has to be overturned."

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Teakell filed the appeal notice, which begins the appellate process before the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

Teakell is the prosecutor in charge of the kidnapping and murder case of a Trujillo Alto businessman. U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno certified that prosecutors could seek the death penalty for the two defendants in that case.

However, Casellas, who presides over the case, last week ruled that the 1994 federal death penalty law can't be applied in Puerto Rico because the Commonwealth Constitution bans capital punishment.


Anti-U.S. Navy March Set For Sunday

By Proviana Colon Diaz of PuertoRicoWOW News Service

August 1, 2000
Copyright © 2000 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN -- More than 20 organizations, including political, religious and labor groups, on Tuesday called for a massive demonstration outside Fort Buchanan on Sunday to protest the renewal of U.S. Navy military exercises in Vieques.

The march comes as a reaction to the Navy's announcement that they will have 12,000 soldiers conducting military practices in Vieques and Ceiba, said Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Vice President Fernando Martin.

"We will let the Navy know that opposition to the military practices has not ceased, but on the contrary, increased," Martin said.

Martin said he had personally invited [Sila] Calderon to participate in the event but she declined as she believed "now isn't the right time."


Bush Collects $450,000 In Puerto Rico

August 2, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The island's Republican Party Committee has collected $450,000 for presidential candidate George W. Bush's campaign, public officials said.

The funds were raised during two major Republican fundraisers held on the island. Former President George Bush attended the last one during his visit in Puerto Rico. Some $300,000 was raised at that time.


Puerto Rico Releases First FBI Files


August 2, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Puerto Rico released long-secret FBI files on the U.S. territory's first elected governor Wednesday, giving a glimpse of Washington's uneasiness as it granted the island more autonomy.

The documents on Luis Munoz Marin were among more than 12,000 FBI files on Puerto Ricans, including independence activists, given to the island's Senate this week. More will be released this month.

Those released Wednesday focus on Muñoz, a one-time independence supporter who fashioned its semi-autonomous status as a U.S. commonwealth in 1952.

An informant erroneously warned in 1940 that Munoz, then a rising star in the island's Senate, was "the ranking official of the Communist Party in the West Indies and the Caribbean Sea area."

The warning touched off an investigation because Munoz was about to visit the White House. The FBI apparently concluded Munoz posed no threat, but it watched him closely for the next three decades.

Puerto Rico itself maintained files on 130,000 suspected independence activists from the 1940s until 1987, when the local Supreme Court banned the practice. Thousands of citizens have since sued the government.


Vieques Exercises Resumed; Four Arrested

Compiled From Wire Service Reports

SAN JUAN - A U.S. Navy battle group trained on the high seas off Puerto Rico Thursday as four activists were detained inside the Navy's Vieques range while protesting the maneuvers.

Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Sen. Manuel Rodriguez Orellana and Rep. Victor Garcia San Inocencio, Presbyterian Rev. Luis Acevedo and PIP Trujillo Alto mayoral candidate Jaime Negron were detained, PIP Vice President Fernando Martin said.

The Norfolk, Virginia-based USS Harry S. Truman Battle Group, including 15 ships and 12,000 sailors, began training some 50 to 100 miles northeast and southeast of Puerto Rico, Lt. Jeff Gordon said.

Operations included aircraft, ship, submarine and communications training. The exercise - to prepare the battle group for a six-month deployment to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf - may run to Aug. 24, according to a Navy notice.


Sister Isolina Ferre Dies

August 3, 2000
Copyright © 2000 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

PONCE, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Roman Catholic Sister M. Isolina Ferre, a U.S. Medal of Freedom recipient who used her wealthy family's influence to create charities, died Thursday at age 85, a family spokesman said. Flags flew at half-staff in the capital in her honor.

Ferre suffered respiratory failure at the Women`s Hospital in Ponce, spokesman Jose Serra said.

President Clinton awarded Ferre the Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian honor, in August 1999 for founding centers for delinquent youth as well as clinics and empowerment centers in Puerto Rico, New York City and the Appalachia region in the eastern United States.

``Her lifetime of selfless commitment to others will remain her greatest legacy,'' Clinton said.

For her work, she was dubbed the "Mother Teresa of Puerto Rico."

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