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The Orlando Sentinel

Former Governor's Son Says PDP Being Unfair

by Ivan Roman

April 11, 1999
Copyright © 1999 The Orlando Sentinel

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The latest salvo in the war within the opposition Popular Democratic Party in Puerto Rico came in the form of a three-page letter.

Jose Hernandez Mayoral, the son of a former governor, fired off the letter last week to PDP President Anibal Acevedo Vila, accusing him of using the party's employees, phones, cars and polls to explore a run for resident commissioner, the island's representative in the U.S. Congress. Hernandez Mayoral wants that job, but he has been left out of the party's internal evaluation process for a slate of candidates for the 2000 election.

He says the process should be "fair, transparent and the same for everyone so that no one benefits from the party's institutional resources."

An incensed Acevedo Vila shot back, calling Hernandez Mayoral an "undisciplined" member of the party who is seeking personal political gain at the expense of the party's need to win back both chambers of the Legislature and put San Juan Mayor Sila Calderon in the governor's spot.

"It's a letter that tries to threaten and intimidate me. It's a letter full of lies," Acevedo Vila said. "The party is involved in an internal dialogue, and I'm not going to stop that process."

Some party faithful are furious.

Right now, they say, the PDP should be taking advantage of the constant coverage of corruption tied to Gov. Pedro Rossello's administration, controlled by the New Progressive Party, which seeks statehood. Instead, headlines trumpeting divisions within the PDP compete for news space.

Political commentators and callers to radio talk shows warn of a possible rebellion by the "rafaelistas," those loyal to former Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon, who brought Acevedo Vila and Calderon into politics. The Ponce Municipal Assembly has already backed Hernandez Mayoral even though candidacies for primaries have not been opened.

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