Tag Archives: San Juan

Puerto Rico cancels Calle 13 concert after insult

Rene Perez, right, and Eduardo Cabra of Calle 13, arrive at the “Los Premios MTV 2009” on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009, at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

(AP) – 3 hours ago
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rican officials said Saturday they have canceled a concert featuring Grammy-winning band Calle 13 after the group’s lead singer insulted the governor and other Latin American politicians during an MTV awards show.

San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini said he was calling off the Halloween concert only because no contract had been signed for use of the city’s Roberto Clemente Coliseum — not because of the comments by singer Rene Perez, known as “Residente.”

But his announcement indicated the city did not want the concert, saying, “We are not interested in reaching the contract now or in the future.” The city allowed a similar concert by the same promoter last year.

“Mister Perez, of Calle 13, will not be bothered by the decision … because I don’t think he is interested in benefiting economically from an event that was going to be held in a facility administered by government personnel for whom he has no respect,” Santini said.
During Thursday’s MTV show, Perez used an offensive phrase referring to the mother of Gov. Luis Fortuno as he denounced the state’s layoff of 17,000 workers.

Perez also wore a black T-shirt with a message that appeared to criticize Colombian President Alvaro Uribe for a deal to allow U.S. bases in his country — and which could be read to suggest he has paramilitary links.

The Colombian government issued a statement saying it was “indignant” about the “slanderous” message. Fortuno made his first public comment about the incident while attending a political event Saturday.

“This individual disrespected all Puerto Rican women, all Puerto Rican mothers and the people of Puerto Rico in general,” Fortuno told reporters. “That is what I can tell you.”
Representatives of Calle 13 and production company Arco Publicidad did not immediately respond to requests for comment. City officials declined to elaborate on details of the concert contract.

Calle 13 won a Grammy for best Latin urban album last year and it has won several Latin Grammy awards.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Puerto Rico cancels Calle 13 concert after insult
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Puerto Rico strikers shut down center of San Juan

* Stoppage called to protest large public sector layoffs
* Strike closes government offices, businesses, schools
* Governor appeals for calm, defends layoffs (Updates with protest
details, governor’s comments)
by Matthew Goldstein
Reuters (Oct 15, 2009)

SAN JUAN, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Puerto Rican public workers protesting layoffs shut down the center of the capital San Juan on Thursday in a one-day strike that closed many government offices, businesses and schools.

Labor unions in the U.S. Caribbean island territory called the 24-hour stoppage to protest the firing of thousands of workers by the government, which is trying to shrink a $3.2 billion budget deficit.

While Governor Luis Fortuno insisted the layoffs were essential to cut government spending and bolster the island’s credit rating, around 50,000 protesters packed Roosevelt Avenue, the main thoroughfare of the central Hato Rey financial district in San Juan, witnesses said.

Most government offices and schools, and many businesses remained closed on Thursday during the strike protest, which was also backed by religious and student organizations.

“The street will be our battleground. There will only be peace when those that govern respect the will of the people,” said Methodist Minister Juan Vera, who addressed the protesters along with labor leaders and other personalities.

Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate was 15.8 percent in August, higher than any U.S. state.

The island, which has a population of nearly 4 million and is a manufacturing hub for petrochemical, pharmaceutical and technology companies, as well as a major tourism destination, has been in recession for more than three years.

Fortuno, who last month announced the firing of 17,000 public workers, appealed for calm but defended the government’s strategy. Heavily indebted Puerto Rico is a leading issuer of tax-free bonds in the United States.

“I will not allow our credit ratings to suffer any further because of the effects it would have on the population,” Fortuno told Reuters in an interview. “It is just unthinkable …. We would be impaired from providing basic services.”

The government is hoping to avoid a downgrade of Puerto Rico’s bond rating to junk, or non-investment, grade.

Bond rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s rate Puerto Rico a notch above junk level and Fortuno says any downgrade would lead to even more job cuts.

San Juan’s international airport, as well as the port area, operated normally on Thursday. Buses stopped running but many taxi cabs and the light rail system ran as normal.

Plaza Las Americas, the Caribbean’s largest mall located in the Hato Rey district, shut its doors.

Fortuno says the public sector layoffs are necessary to cut government spending by $2 billion annually. He told Reuters the government had already achieved savings of $1.2 billion and was on track to reach the $2 billion target.

Puerto Rico’s economy shrank a record 5.5 percent in the 2009 fiscal year that ended June 30. The Puerto Rico Planning Board said the decline showed the economy had touched bottom and predicted 0.7 percent growth in fiscal 2010.

(Additional reporting by Michael Connor in Miami; Writing by Pascal Fletcher; editing by Jim Loney)

Puerto Rico: Public News Channel Dismantled

Friday, August 21st, 2009 @ 17:13 UTC
by Firuzeh Shokooh Valle

This post is also available in:
Português: Porto Rico: Canal Público de Notícias é Desmantelado
简体中文: 波多黎各:公共新闻频道遭裁撤
繁體中文: 波多黎各:公共新聞頻道遭裁撤
Español: Puerto Rico: Desmantelan canal público de noticias
বাংলা: পুয়ের্টো রিকো: সরকারী সংবাদ চ্যানেল বন্ধ করে দেয়া হয়েছে
Français: Porto Rico: Démantèlement d’une chaîne publique d’informations
The newsroom of Puerto Rico’s only public channel, TUTV, was practically dismantled recently, allegedly due to budget cuts. The president of the Corporation of Puerto Rico of Public Broadcasting, Israel “Ray” Cruz – who was appointed by the government elected last November – fired about 50 employees, many of them journalists. The newscast, founded 15 years ago, will still be on the air for the next two months, at which point the lay-offs will be final. A group of reporters, camerapeople, producers and editors were not fired, but the future of the program is still uncertain. The government of Puerto Rico has already initiated a financial plan that includes laying-off approximately 30,000 government employees.

The very same day the public channel employees were notified they had been laid off, anchor woman Gloria Soltero gave a biting message to her audience during the newscast. The blogosphere in Puerto Rico has been loaded with comments on Soltero’s words, but first, here are some excerpts of Soltero’s message:

A aquellos que dieron lo mejor de sí para nuestro taller informativo, para que eso acabara, los felicitamos, lo lograron. Entre ellos está nuestro presidente Israel ‘Ray’ Cruz, que siguió al pie de la letra lo dictado por nuestro gobernador Luis Fortuño, quien le deja saber al pueblo de esta forma que no le importa lo que acontezca con la cultura de nuestro país, y mucho menos con lo que pase en nuestro país con sus empleados públicos.

Acuérdense, pueblo de Puerto Rico y a usted, señor gobernador, que como diría nuestro querido y respetado Aníbal González Irizarry, “un pueblo sin prensa es un pueblo esclavo”. Sr. Fortuño: si su deseo es un pueblo esclavo, usted lo ha logrado.

To those who gave the best of themselves for our newscast, in order for it to end, we congratulate you. You accomplished it. Some of those people are our President Israel ‘ Ray’ Cruz, who followed step-by-step the orders given by our Governor Luis Fortuño, who has let the people know that he does not care what happens to our country’s culture, and much less what may happen to the government employees of our country.
Remember, people of Puerto Rico, and you, Mr. Governor, as our dear and respected Aníbal González Irizarry [a famous Puerto Rican journalist] would say, ‘a country without press is a country that is enslaved.’ Mr. Fortuño: if your wish is to have an enslaved country, you have achieved it.

The journalism professor Luis F. Coss says in his blog Calahondo [ES]:

La solidaridad no puede ni debe ser un fenómeno pasajero. La solidaridad debe ser un estilo de vida frente a la codicia y frente a las políticas y prácticas que atentan contra la dignidad del ser humano. Celebro la respuesta de Gloria y de Ojeda ante las acciones destempladas de los patronos. Ahora nos toca a todos transformar los episodios heroicos en trabajo cotidiano, en conciencia madura para explicar lo que nos pasa hoy y el mañana al que aspiramos.

Solidarity cannot and should not be a passing phenomenon. Solidarity should be a way of living, in order to face greed, and the policies and practices that endanger our dignity as human beings. I celebrate Gloria’s and Ojeda’s [a Puerto Rican radio journalist] responses to the harsh actions of employers. Now, we must together transform the heroic episodes in daily work, in a mature conscience to be able to explain what is happening to us today and the future we hope for.
In her blog Hoy me desperté de arena [ES], I. Caballer writes:

El lamento, la rabia y la indignación por el despido de empleados públicos son experimentados en estos momentos en carne propia por otro grupo de trabajadores puertorriqueños en el Canal del Gobierno de Puerto Rico. En esta ocasión, la única diferencia es que pudieron hacer uso de un medio masivo de comunicación para expresar su sentir y pedirle al pueblo que tome acción y no olvide.

The pain, the fury and the indignation caused by the lay-off of government employees is experienced once again by another group of Puerto Rican workers at the the channel of the government of Puerto Rico. This time, the only difference is that they could use a massive communication outlet to express their feelings and ask the country to take action and not forget what has happened to them.
Blogger Luis Daniel Beltrán comments [ES]:

Una reacción que denota la indignación por el cierre de un medio informativo que – aunque en alguna ocasión estuvo maniatado por los caprichos del partido político de turno en el poder – servía al país, sobre todo en los tiempos de incertidumbre que se viven desde comienzos del año en curso.

[Soltero’s] response denotes the indignation caused by the closing of an information space that, even though it has occasionally been at the service of the whims of the political party in power, it has served the country, especially during these times of uncertainty since the beginning of this year.
This post was also translated by the author.
The thumbnail image used in this post, “television”, is by Walt Jabsco, used under a Creative Commons license. Visit Walt Jabsco’s flickr photostream.
Posted by Firuzeh Shokooh Valle Print version
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Ralph J Sierra Jr
Totally irresponsible!! Kudos to Soltero!!

# 2009-08-21 At 17:57 Pm
Reply To This
Thank you for the blog. This news story was ignored by the US media. Thanks again.

# 2009-08-21 At 20:40 Pm
Reply To This
Pingback: La Vida Es Como Una Caja De Chocolates… « El Mundo De Luis Daniel Beltrán
[…] sobre los despidos en el departamento de noticias de la televisora pública WIPR-DT de San Juan en su reseña de lo que la blogosfera puertorriqueña ha estado comentando al respecto. Digo, eso me hace sentir halagado, en tanto hice mi aportación para ayudar al resto del […]

# 2009-08-24 At 2:56 Am

Puerto Rican Origins

I am looking for a bronze plaque in I saw once in one of the plazas in San Juan.  It depicts the origins of the Puerto Rican.  It shows a Taino Indian in the center, a Spaniard on one side and an African on the other.  Any idea where it is, what it is called or where I might find a photo of it?

Why does Sonia Sotomayor call her parents “Puerto Rican immigrants” and other thoughts

From the Culture Kitchen blog

I cannot understand the brouhaha in some circles on the left around Sonia Sotomayor’s description of her parents as “immigrants”. And I certainly cannot believe that people on the right are so petty as to not call her the first “Hipanic”/Latina to the Supreme Court by calling Benjamin Cardozo, a man of Portuguese ascendancy, “Hipanic”.

Many of my readers know how I feel about the word “Hispanic”, so let me put this to rest: The census document quoted in my infamous article expressely describes the word “Hipanic” as used by the agency to describe Puerto Rican and other Americans of Latin American origins who did fall into the category of Mexicans. Citizens of Spaniards and Portuguese backgrounds were not “Hipanics” because they were Europeans. Same with Spanish and Portuguese -speaking African and Asian immigrants.

So people, let’s lay this one to rest: Benjamin Cardozo is not a Hispanic or Latino. Period.

Yet let me get to the issue of whether Puerto Ricans can be called immigrants.

I am appalled that in some mailing lists used by liberal bloggers there’s a rush to accuse right-wing commentators and even Sonia Sotomayor herself for calling her parents “Puerto Rican immigrants”. The logic behind this? That since Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States where Puerto Ricans have US citizenship, that this invalidates calling Puerto Rico a “foreign country” and it’s people as “immigrants to the United States”. The fight is to accuse the right of smearing her parents with the word immigrants because Puerto Ricans, allegedly, have no immigrant experience.

And what baffles me most is that the people pushing this line of thinking are “immigration activists” for whom it is a nuisance to fit Puerto Ricans in their “comprehensive immigration reform” narrative. In the past few years all the talk of immigration laws has been about how it is used to attack Mexicans and other mostly Central Americans. Yet the reality is very different.

You may want to call Puerto Ricans “migrants” because they we live in a US territory, but the peculiar political status of Puerto Rico as a pseudo-“Free Associated State” (aka: Commonwealth) has made many define Puerto Rican identity in the United States as one of immigrants with no immigrant status.

Rene Marques’ La Carreta (the Oxcart) became in the middle of the 20th century “the play” that captured this migrant/immigrant ethos of the Puerto Rican experience. In the play, a family of sugar-cane field workers sets out of the plantation looking for a better life. They not only end in a slum when in San Juan, but their penury there pushes them to New York City, where they only find ruin, despair and a death that returns them to the land they had previously fled from.

The play became an allegory for Puerto Rican identity because it describes the Puerto Rican experience as one that is fundamentally migrant inside the island and immigrant when in the United States. Rene Marques’ neo-realist theater was cemented in history and in this case, in the historical context of Puerto Ricans being a nation of immigrants.

Many of the boricuas of the 20th century were descendants of immigrants themselves. Spain had given to many Europeans indentured labor contracts for settling in Puerto Rico back in the 19th Century. Through these contracts the King of Spain leased the land to whomever wanted to work it and buy it back with their revenues. Many non-Spanish speaking Spaniards ended in the country, especially Catalanes, Basques, Canarinos and Gallegos along with other European groups like Italians, Irish, along with Roma from many Eastern European countries. Even under Spanish rule Central land South Native Americans were imported as the preferred group of household servants for the Spanish elite.

Even though the task of defining what it was to be a Puerto Rican had been taken up by many artists and thinkers by the time Puerto Rico was invaded by the United States in 1898, the Puerto Rican criollo movement (aka, Spanish/European identified Puerto Ricans) was stronger and more influential than their nationalist counterparts and when compared to the separatist nationalist movement in Cuba and at the other corner of the fallen Spanish colonial world, the Philippines.

It explains in many ways why the United States furiously aligned themselves to these criollistas and unleashed a wave of violence against the mostly brown and black nationalist movement in Puerto Rico; even going as far as torturing the leader of the nationalist movement, Don Pedro Albizu Campos, by using him for radiation experiments.

Yet it’s Puerto Rico’s weird constitutional framework that muddles the migrant/immigrant debate. Here’s the preamble to the Constitution of the Commomwealth of Puerto Rico:

We, the people of Puerto Rico, in order to organize ourselves politically on a fully democratic basis, to promote the general welfare, and to secure for ourselves and our posterity the complete enjoyment of human rights, placing our trust in Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the commonwealth which, in the exercise of our natural rights, we now create within our union with the United States of America.

In so doing, we declare:

The democratic system is fundamental to the life of the Puerto Rican community;

We understand that the democratic system of government is one in which the will of the people is the source of public power, the political order is subordinate to the rights of man, and the free participation of the citizen in collective decisions is assured;

We consider as determining factors in our life our citizenship of the United States of America and our aspiration continually to enrich our democratic heritage in the individual and collective enjoyment of its rights and privileges; our loyalty to the principles of the Federal Constitution; the co-existence in Puerto Rico of the two great cultures of the American Hemisphere; our fervor for education; our faith in justice; our devotion to the courageous, industrious, and peaceful way of life; our fidelity to individual human values above and beyond social position, racial differences, and economic interests; and our hope for a better world based on these principles.

I want to stop here a moment because there are no accidents with this preamble: At no point does it say that Puerto Ricans take an oath of loyalty to the United States. At no point does it say that Puerto Rico is part of the United States. On the contrary, this document goes through great pains in defining Puerto Rico as a separate nation and a separate country without acknowledging Puerto Ricans’ right to self-determination, autonomy and sovereignty. On the contrary, the nation of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans aspire continually to enrich our democratic heritage in the individual and collective enjoyment of of the rights and privileges that come with having US citizenship.

Can you understand why constitutionally many Puerto Ricans make the case that we are a nation recognized by the United States and thus a separate, albeit not foreign country?

And it’s this contradiction that defines the Puerto Rico experience in the United States. An experience that even though has been defined by US citizenship since 1917 (Puerto Ricans who emigrated between 1898 and 1917 to the US actually had PR passports), has always been one of emigration to the United States not just migration from the island.

So please, stop wasting time in debating whether it is OK to call Puerto Ricans immigrants. We are. Get over it. Now go and get Sonia Sotomayor confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Further Reading : Puerto Rico: A Colonial Experiment by Raymond Carr is an excellent resource and place to start reading about the development of the Puerto Rican commonwealth. So is Jose Trias Monge’s Puerto Rico: The Trials of the Oldest Colony in the World and Puerto Rico: A Political and Cultural History by Arturo Morales Carrion.

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At Home in Two Traditions: Jazz and the Sounds of Puerto Rico

G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times


Miguel Zenón with his band, including the bassist Hans Glawischnig, the drummer Henry Cole and Obanilu Allende, in hat, who plays plena rhythms.
Published: December 3, 2008

When the jazz saxophonist and composer Miguel Zenón visits his native Puerto Rico to see his mother and other relatives every year around Christmastime, he rarely hears any jazz. Instead he’s surrounded by plena, a century-old Afro-Caribbean musical tradition, a kind of movable street-corner folksong.


The composer and saxophonist Miguel Zenón.

Plena is made with three different-size panderos (like tambourines without the cymbals) and voices singing about island myths and scandals, cultural identity, political reality, love and plena itself.

“It’s really common,” he said in an interview last week in Washington Heights, where Mr. Zenón, 31, now lives with his wife, Elga Castro, a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the New School. “And it’s so simple that you find it at a basketball game, at church — anywhere.”

Panderos are easily portable, as opposed to the barrel-shaped drums used in bomba, another island music. And the four-beat plena rhythm has also been part of the holiday-season ritual of parranda, which is akin to Christmas caroling: surprise late-night musical visits to the neighbors.

Part of the jazz tradition is using whatever’s in front of you, and Mr. Zenón, a New Yorker since 1999, has done this before. His album “Jíbaro” (Marsalis Music), from 2005, dealt with the song form of Puerto Rican back-country troubadours, and it had a preoccupation with numbers, particularly in the décima, a 10-line stanza with specific rhyme schemes.

“Jíbaro” threads Puerto Rican folklore through small-group jazz played at a high level, led by Mr. Zenón’s limpid and graceful alto saxophone sound. The album helped establish Mr. Zenón as one of the important contemporary revisers of Latin jazz and spread his reputation for delivering excellent music from a complicated premise, a reputation that reached the secret committees of the MacArthur Foundation, which awarded him one of its $500,000 “genius” grants in September.

This year Mr. Zenón also received a Guggenheim research grant and took a long fact-finding trip back to Puerto Rico. To ask for introductions to the living plena masters, he sought out Hector (Tito) Matos, a plena practitioner who has played with the long-running New York band Los Pleneros de la 21, as well as his own group, Viento de Agua.

Mr. Matos pointed him toward historians and older musicians like Modesto Cepeda and Ismael (Cocolai) Rivera so that Mr. Zenón could understand the music’s origins and functions. He learned about the subtle differences, for instance, between the San Juan-style use of the open hand on the pandero and the slower-tempo “punta de clavo” fingertip style of Mayagüez.

An insight from Ramón López, an ethnomusicologist who has written about plena, helped Mr. Zenón with his work. “He said something to me about how the moment you put plena onstage, it’s not the real thing anymore,” Mr. Zenón said. “So he told me not to worry about it, because it’s already different from what it’s supposed to be.”

Mr. Matos said: “That he decided to focus on plena for a whole recording and a whole research project, that surprised me right away. It’s very important what Miguel is doing, to open the music we play to more ears around the world.”

Mr. Zenón used his research for his composition “Esta Plena,” a work in 10 parts: half instrumental, half with singing. (He wrote his own lyrics too: about the nature of plena, about an all-night New Year’s party at Mr. Matos’s house, about political corruption and the disappearance of cultural tradition.) It will be performed for the first time this week, Thursday through Sunday, at the Jazz Gallery in the South Village. The performances feature his working quartet — Mr. Zenón, the pianist Luis Perdomo, the bassist Hans Glawischnig and the drummer Henry Cole — as well as three extra musicians playing plena rhythms and singing: Mr. Matos, Juan Gutiérrez and Obanilu Allende.

Again in “Esta Plena” Mr. Zenón used numbers as an organizing principle. “There are three panderos in plena,” he said. “So I dealt with the number three. In terms of form I wrote a lot of phrases in three or six. Harmonically I started thinking in terms of major-third intervals and augmented triads, and from there I built melodies and chord progressions.”

That the basic plena rhythm is always in four — with the biggest drum accenting the one and three, the middle one accenting the three and four, and the smallest providing improvised accents — didn’t deter Mr. Zenón. Through “Esta Plena” he has kept the four-beat percussive plena rhythm steady, while writing melodic cycles for the rest of the band in three or nine.

If you think that sounds complex, you’re right. (Mr. Zenón graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1998 and had no formal math training beyond high school. Still, he has a math-and-science way of thinking.) Yet his compositions are always clear and organized, and when they’re making references to folklore, they keep the feeling of dance in them.

The number three, incidentally, has no other significance than the three panderos. Mr. Zenón laughed at the notion that it could signify the trinity. “When I write anything, I need something concrete to help me, something outside of music,” he explained. “On another project it might be letters.”

After the shows at the Jazz Gallery Mr. Zenón will record “Esta Plena” for his next album. And — given the financial freedom of the MacArthur award — then what?

He has an idea. Recently, he said, he was watching the documentary “Heima,” about how the Icelandic rock band Sigur Ros thanked the fans in its home country by playing an unusual series of free concerts: in factories, small-town community centers and even in fields and caves. Mr. Zenón said he got the urge to do something similar in Puerto Rico, particularly in small towns and mountainside areas where jazz is almost never heard.

It could make a difference, he said, to play jazz of the sturdiest sort; not his own, but music by Charlie Parker or John Coltrane or Miles Davis. He might also talk to audiences about improvising, play them records, offer clinics.

“When I grew up there,” he said, “there wasn’t really any live jazz. It was usually background music, and it was always the same eight or nine guys in San Juan. So I saw this movie, and I started thinking: man, if I could do that, just play the music, without having to worry about the business part — tickets, publicity, who’s going to pay the guys, are enough people going to show up — it would be incredible.”

Miguel Zenón performs Thursday through Sunday, 9 and 10:30 p.m., at the Jazz Gallery, 290 Hudson Street, South Village, (212) 242-1063, jazzgallery.org.


Avelino was ordered extradited to Connecticut today to stand trial for the legendary Wells Fargo heist of 1983, an act that the Macheteros took credit for. FBI Criminal & Division Head Luis Fraticelli says that the FBI’s arrests against the organizations’ leaders will continue, so let us be prepared to continue supporting our freedom fighters, who are fighting for the freedom of a colony, even as the White House admits & officially adopts the position that Puerto Rico is a colony…JO

Ordenan extradicion de Gonzalez Claudio
Prensa Asociada
11 Feb 2008

Pese a que el presunto machetero Avelino González Claudio pidió que se le juzgue en Puerto Rico y se describió como un “prisionero político”, el magistrado federal Marcos López ordenó hoy, lunes, su extradición a Hartford, Connecticut, en un procedimiento judicial generalmente automático.

La defensa de González Claudio también denunció ante el togado que su cliente está recibiendo “trato inhumano” en la cárcel federal porque se le mantiene en una celda en la que se le selló la única ventana con una plancha de metal para impedirle ver la luz del día.

La portavoz del Centro Metropolitano de Detenciones en Guaynabo, Migdalia Torres, aseguró en una carta remitida a Prensa Asociada que, en el penal, se están reparando algunas de las celdas y que esos trabajos pueden requerir que se tapen sus ventanas temporalmente.

Y negó que González Claudio reciba un trato especial o diferente al de los demás reclusos.

“El tratamiento al reo González Claudio no es diferente al que recibe cualquier otro recluso en espera de juicio y con las mismas necesidades de seguridad”, aseguró Torres en la misiva.

El acusado fue arrestado la semana pasada por supuestamente participar en el robo de 7 millones de dólares de un camión blindado de la compañía de transporte de valores Wells Fargo en Hartford, Connecticut, el 12 de septiembre de 1983.

González Claudio aceptó el lunes que responde a ese nombre, aunque a través de su representación legal dejó establecido que no reconoce la autoridad de la corte estadounidense en la Isla para extraditarlo.

“Avelino González Claudio no niega su identidad. Este ciudadano puertorriqueño frente a usted es Avelino González Claudio”, dijo el licenciado Juan Ramón Acevedo Cruz, principal abogado de defensa del supuesto miembro del Ejército Popular Boricua-Los Macheteros, al magistrado López.

“En cuanto al asunto de la extradición, nosotros vigorosamente objetamos cualquier intento del gobierno de Estados Unidos de remover a González Claudio de su isla de Puerto Rico”, agregó el letrado en la vista de identificación del acusado.

El fiscal federal José Ruiz indicó a la AP que la extradición podría tardar más de 20 días y que generalmente si en Puerto Rico no se impone una fianza en la jurisdicción donde será trasladado permanecería encarcelado.

“Si se impone fianza aquí, allá generalmente lo honran”, indicó Ruiz. Según Acevedo, como “prisionero político”, González Claudio reclama su potestad, al amparo del derecho internacional, de permanecer en su tierra natal.

El abogado reclamó, además, que el gobierno estadounidense cumpla con la Resolución 1514 de la Asamblea General de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU), que declara el colonialismo como “la negación de un derecho humano fundamental”.

“Desde 1972, el Comité Especial de Descolonización de las Naciones Unidas ha reconocido el derecho inalienable de los puertorriqueños a la autodeterminación y la independencia de acuerdo con la Resolución 1514”, agregó el abogado citando la resolución.

La defensa también solicitó una vista de fianza, que fue señalada por el magistrado para el 21 de febrero a la 1:30 de la tarde.

La fiscalía federal, representada por Ruiz y Carlos Cardona, no objetó que se le garantice la vista de fianza al sospechoso.

Pidió con éxito que González Claudio permanezca encarcelado en la institución federal de Guaynabo por considerarlo un “riesgo de fuga” y “un peligro para la comunidad” porque usó nombres falsos por 22 años y por la naturaleza de los delitos que se le imputan.

Sobre la denuncia de trato inhumano, el magistrado dijo que eso no sería jurisdicción de la corte.

Ante los reclamos del abogado para poder ver a González Claudio en un cuarto de visitas de la cárcel y no en un salón de conferencias donde no tiene privacidad, y para que se le quiten las esposas y pueda firmar documentos, el magistrado le respondió que hiciera los arreglos pertinentes con el Negociado federal de Prisiones.

Le indicó que si la situación persiste entonces el tribunal podría intervenir.

Mientras la vista se llevaba a cabo, frente al edificio federal en Hato Rey hubo una protesta de organizaciones independentistas.

“Esta corte representa los intereses del imperio y van a seguir fielmente la orden de Washington, pero vamos a dar todas la batallas legales para que se quede aquí”, expresó Osvaldo González Claudio, hermano del acusado.

Agregó que abriga la esperanza de que su pariente sea juzgado “por sus pares” y no en Connecticut.

To: panamaglobaljustice@lists.riseup.net

Coordinated protests were held today in New York and San Juan to protest the Gestapo FBI’s kidnapping of this freedom fighter…

Torture of Machetero denounced
MINH alleges that the “different treatment” González Claudio is receiving is intended to “soften” him.

By The Associated Press
February 11, 2008 El Nuevo Día

SAN JUAN – The co-chair of the National Hostos Independence Movement, (MINH), Héctor Pesquera, denounced today the fact that federal prisoner Avelino González Claudio, linked to the clandestine group The Macheteros, is supposedly being tortured in the federal detention center in Guaynabo where he has been confined since he was arrested on Wednesday [sic].

“We have information that they have already started to torture him, covering up the windows so he cannot know whether it’s day or night,” said Pesquera in a radio interview (WSKN).

Pesquera, a doctor by profession, said that the supposed “different treatment” González Claudio is receiving in the jail is meant to “soften him, preparing to break his will.”

Asking about the matter, governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá said that any allegation of mistreatment must be “immediately” taken to the highest levels of federal jurisdiction by González Claudio’s attorneys.

However, he said that in Puerto Rico, “let’s not fool ourselves. Here, historically, federal and state authorities… the way they treated independentists was very different from the way they treated other citizens.”

Immediately, Migdalia Torres, public information officer at the federal jail in Guaynabo, said she had no information about Pesquera’s allegations, but promised to investigate and get back to the Associated Press.

“I’ve just arrived; I don’t have any information,” said Torres.

Pesquera pointed out that González Claudio, while clandestine for 22 years, was a teacher of computer science for the musician and comedian Silverio Pérez and a president of the Supreme Court who could not be identified.

“We know that Avelino González Claudio, during the life he lived under another name, was a very productive person for the Country,” said Pesquera.

As for the judicial process which is to continue this afternoon, Pesquera said that González Claudio will not recognize the jurisdiction of the federal court to extradite him.

“He is going to ask that he be judged here, in Puerto Rico,” said Pesquera.

“That he be judged in his own land… anything else would be kidnap,” he added.

González Claudio has an identification hearing today before being extradited to Hartford, Connecticut, where he will face charges of bank robbery, among others, related to the robbery of $7 million of a Wells Fargo deposit in that city in September of 1982 [sic].

The clandestine organization The Macheteros claimed responsibility for this robbery.

On August 30, 1985, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), arrested 11 of 17 people related the clandestine organization which claimed responsibility for the deaths of two sailors from the Sabana Seca Navy Base and for the death of a police officer, in addition to the destruction of nine Puerto Rico National Guard airplanes.

Translation of letter from Avelino Gonzalez Claudio’s Defense Committee

We extend to you our cordial greetings from Mayaguez: As we have already denounced, Comrade Avelino Gonzalez Claudio was arrested by the F.B.I. today, and will be confronting charges which will be leveled against him outside of Puerto Rico.

Avelino was one of the comrades that the F.B.I. had been unable to capture during its repressive onslaught against our movement in 1985. That period saw the imprisonment of comrades like Papo Segarra Palmer, who spent 19 years of his life in U.S. prisons.

We should not lose sight of the fact that the colonial police of Puerto Rico took part in the surveilance that was maintained against Avelino Gonzalez, and his eventual arrest. This is after all an election year, and our colonial governor is susceptible to the pressures of the F.B.I. and a Republican Party in the U.S. which despairs over the failures of its undemocratic efforts against “terrorism,” the very thing that they’re guilty of inflicting on the world.

Avelino Gonzalez Claudio is a militant who has pursued the decolonization of Puerto Rico. He is not unlike those who continued the struggle of Filiberto Ojeda, those who confronted the
U.S. navy in Vieques, or those of us who today resist the abuses of the F.B.I. in our country.

The comrades of the Frente Socialista, (Socialist Front,) the Committee for Human Rights and La Nueva Escuela, (The New School,) call for a demonstration in support of Avelino Gonzalez Claudio, on Monday February 11 2008 at 3:00PM. At that time, a hearing will be taking place at the colonial “federal” court in San Juan to discuss the extradition of the comrade to the United States. We must demand that the comrade remain in Puerto Rico.

Denuncian tortura a machetero
MINH alega que el “trato distinto” que recibe González Claudio tiene el propósito de “ablandarlo”.

Por The Associated Press
11 febrero 2008 El Nuevo Día

SAN JUAN – El copresidente del Movimiento Independentista Nacional Hostosiano (MINH), Héctor Pesquera, denunció hoy que el preso federal Avelino González Claudio, vinculado con el grupo clandestino los Macheteros, supuestamente está siendo torturado en el centro de detención federal en Guaynabo donde está confinado desde que fue arrestado el miércoles.

“Tenemos información de que ya comenzaron a torturarlo tapiándole las ventanas para que no sepa cuándo es de día o cuándo es de noche”, dijo Pesquera en entrevista radial (WSKN).

Pesquera, médico de profesión, dijo que el supuesto “trato distinto” que recibe González Claudio en la cárcel tendría el propósito de “ablandarlo, irle quebrando la voluntad”.

Cuestionado sobre el asunto, el gobernador Aníbal Acevedo Vilá dijo que cualquier alegación de maltrato debe ser elevada a los más altos niveles de la jurisdicción federal por los abogados de González Claudio “inmediatamente”.

No obstante, dijo que en Puerto Rico “nadie puede tapar el cielo con la mano, aquà históricamente las autoridades federales y estatales… la forma en que trataban a los independentistas era muy diferente a la que trataban a otros ciudadanos”.

De inmediato, Migdalia Torres, oficial de información pública de la cárcel federal en Guaynabo dijo que no tenía información sobre las alegaciones de Pesquera, pero prometió indagar y comunicarse nuevamente con Prensa Asociada.

“Acabo de llegar, no tengo información”, dijo Torres.

Pesquera, por su parte, destacó que González Claudio, mientras estuvo clandestino durante 22 años, fue maestro de ciencias de computadoras del músico y comediante Silverio Pérez y de un presidente del Tribunal Supremo a quien no pudo identificar.

“Sabemos que Avelino González Claudio, durante su vida bajo otro nombre, fue una persona muy productiva para el País”, dijo Pesquera.

Sobre el proceso judicial que continúa esta tarde, Pesquera dijo que González Claudio no reconocerá la jurisdicción del tribunal federal para extraditarlo.

“Va a solicitar que se le juzgue aquí, en Puerto Rico”, dijo Pesquera.

“Que se le juzgue en su tierra, cualquier otra cosa sería secuestro”, agregó.

González Claudio tiene hoy una vista de identificación antes de ser extraditado a Hartford, Connecticut en donde enfrenta cargos de robo a banco, entre otros relacionados con el robo de $7 millones de un depósito de la Wells Fargo en esa ciudad en septiembre de 1982.

Por ese robo se responsabilizó la organización clandestina los Macheteros.

El 30 de agosto de 1985 el Negociado Federal de Investigaciones (FBI, por sus siglas en inglés) arrestó a 11 de 17 personas relacionadas con la organización clandestina que se responsabiliza por las muertes de dos marinos de la Base Naval de Sabana Seca y la de un policía, además de la destrucción de nueve aviones de la Guardia Nacional de Puerto Rico.

Pesquera denuncia tortura a Machetero

Lunes, 11 de febrero de 2008

El copresidente del Movimiento Independentista Nacional Hostosiano (MINH) Héctor Pesquera denunció hoy que el preso federal Avelino González Claudio, vinculado con el grupo clandestino los Macheteros, supuestamente esta siendo torturado en el centro de detención federal en Guaynabo donde está confinado desde que fue arrestado miércoles.

“Tenemos información de que ya comenzaron a torturarlo tapiándole las ventanas para que no sepa cuando es de día o cuando es de noche”, dijo Pesquera en entrevista radial (WSKN).

Pesquera, médico de profesión, dijo que el supuesto “trato distinto” que recibe González Claudio en la cárcel tendría el propósito de “ablandarlo, irle quebrando la voluntad”.

Cuestionado sobre el asunto, el gobernador Aníbal Acevedo Vilá dijo que cualquier alegación de maltrato debe ser elevada a los más altos niveles de la jurisdicción federal por los abogados de González Claudio “inmediatamente”.

No obstante, dijo que en Puerto Rico “nadie puede tapar el cielo con la mano, aquí históricamente las autoridades federales y estatales… la forma en que trataban a los independentistas era muy diferente a la que trataban a otros ciudadanos”.

De inmediato, Migdalia Torres, oficial de información pública de la cárcel federal en Guaynabo dijo que no tenía información sobre las alegaciones de Pesquera pero prometió indagar y comunicarse nuevamente con prensa Asociada.

“Acabo de llegar, no tengo información”, dijo Torres.

Pesquera por su parte destacó que González Claudio mientras estuvo clandestino durante 22 años, fue maestro de ciencias de computadoras del músico y comediante Silverio Pérez y de un presidente del Tribunal Supremo a quien no pudo identificar.

“Sabemos que Avelino González Claudio, durante su vida bajo otro nombre, fue una persona muy productiva para el país”, dijo Pesquera.

Sobre el proceso judicial que continúa en la tarde del lunes, Pesquera dijo que González Claudio no reconocerá la jurisdicción del tribunal federal para extraditarlo.

“Va a solicitar que se le juzgue aquí en Puerto Rico”, dijo Pesquera.

“Que se le juzgue en su tierra, cualquier otra cosa sería secuestro.

González Claudio enfrenta el lunes una vista de identificación antes de ser extraditado a Hartford Connecticut en donde enfrenta cargos d robo a banco entre otros relacionados con el robo de siete millones de dólares de un depósito de la Wells Fargo en esa ciudad en septiembre de 1982.

Por ese robo se responsabilizó la organización clandestina los Macheteros.

El 30 de agosto de 1985 el Negociado federal de Investigaciones (FBI en inglés) arresto a 11 de 17 personas relacionadas con la organización clandestina que se responsabiliza por las muertes de dos marinos de la Base Naval de sabana seca y la de un policía, además de la destrucción de nueve aviones de la Guardia Nacional de Puerto Rico.

Vicente “Panama” Alba
(917) 626-5847

“if you tremble with indignation at every injustice then you are comrade of mine.”

“Let’s be realistic, let’s do the impossible”
Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Governor of Puerto Rico and Twelve Others Indicted for Election Related Crimes

Note: Below is the news release from the Department of Justice that outlines the charges against Puerto Rico Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila and his associates.

—Angelo Falcon

U.S. Newswire (March 27, 2008)

WASHINGTON, March 27 – Puerto Rico Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila and 12 associates in Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., and the Philadelphia-area have been charged in a 27-count indictment unsealed today and returned by a grand jury in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 24, 2008, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez of the District of Puerto Rico announced today.

The defendants face charges ranging from conspiracy, false statements, wire fraud, federal program fraud and tax crimes related to campaign financing for the governor’s 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 campaign for Resident Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and subsequent 2004 gubernatorial campaign.

According to the indictment, the defendants conspired to defraud the United States and violate various Federal Election Campaign Act provisions by having Puerto Rico businessmen make illegal and unreported contributions to pay off large and unreported debts stemming from Acevedo Vila’s 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 campaigns for Resident Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Payments were made principally to the public relations and media company for the campaigns. The illegal actions continued into 2003, due to the significant debt accumulated by the campaigns, some of which was also concealed from the FEC and the public.

Acevedo Vila and legal advisor, defendant Inclan Bird, solicited, accepted, and then reimbursed illegal conduit contributions from Acevedo Vila’s family members and staff. Conduit contributions are illegal campaign contributions made by one person in the name of another person. In addition, a group of Philadelphia-area businessmen solicited, accepted, and then reimbursed illegal conduit contributions from their own Philadelphia-area family members and staff for defendant Acevedo Vila. Acevedo Vila, in his official capacity, then personally assisted the businessmen in their attempts to obtain contracts from Puerto Rico government agencies for themselves or their clients.

The indictment also alleges a scheme to defraud the Puerto Rico Treasury Department of $7 million by fraudulently pledging to abide by a voluntary public funding law in defendant Acevedo Vila’s 2004 successful campaign for governor of Puerto Rico. The funding law required a cap on campaign spending and required full reporting of all contributions and expenditures. In exchange, the Treasury Department provided up to $7 million of public funds to the candidate’s campaign.

The indictment alleges that defendant Acevedo Vila and his associates conducted unreported fund-raising and made unrecorded vendor payments for the 2004 campaign in order to raise and spend far more than the limited amount to which they had agreed. According to the indictment, one significant aspect of this fraud was to have Puerto Rico businessmen (described as collaborators) use large amounts of money from their personal or corporate funds to pay for large and unreported debts to the campaign’s public relations and media company. Large sums of cash were also used to keep contributions and vendor payments concealed from the Treasury Department and the public.

As further alleged in the indictment, for many of the collaborator payments the media company created fake invoices to make the payments appear to be legitimate business expenses of the contributors’ companies. The indictment charges Jose Gonzalez Freyre, one of these contributors, with falsely claiming that a $50,000 invoice was real and that bona fide services had been provided to his company in exchange for the payment, when in fact, the invoice was fake and the $50,000 payment was part of the unrecorded fundraising and expenditure scheme.

In related illegal actions alleged in the indictment, Acevedo Vila, aided by Inclan Bird, accepted numerous forms of personal income from funds related to his campaigns or official position, which he failed to report as required on his income tax returns.

“This indictment demonstrates the commitment of the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico to ensure the integrity of the electoral process. Candidates for office and elected officials will be held accountable for corrupting the electoral process by disregarding campaign financing laws. Electoral fraud undermines the essence of our representative form of government, and operates to the detriment of every Puerto Rican,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez.

“The Department of Justice will continue to enforce public corruption laws which are designed to protect citizens’ right to honest and fair government representation,” said Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher.

“Our democratic system cannot function when public officials act as though they are above the law. Public officials must comply with the law and those who do not comply will be held accountable,” said Luis Fraticelli, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s San Juan Field Office.

“Today’s indictment is a reminder that the tax laws apply equally to everyone. No one is above the law. It is the responsibility of every taxpayer to file correct and accurate income tax returns,” said Michael E. Yasofsky, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Miami Field Office.

The defendants and their individual charges are as follows:

(1) Anibal Acevedo Vila, 48, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is charged with conspiracy, false statements, wire fraud, federal program fraud, and tax crimes. Defendant Acevedo Vila was Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001 through 2005, and has been the Governor of Puerto Rico since 2005;

(2) Candido Negron Mella, 41, of Glenn Mills, Penn., is charged with conspiracy and false statements. Negron Mella is a Philadelphia businessman and was designated by defendant Acevedo Vila as his U.S. deputy campaign finance chairman (Resident Commissioner campaign) in 2002;

(3) Salvatore Avanzato, 69, of Boothwyn, Penn., is charged with conspiracy. Avanzato is a Philadelphia-area businessman;

(4) Jorge Velasco Mella, 38, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is charged with conspiracy and false statements. Velasco Mella, a cousin of Negron Mella, received a job in defendant Acevedo Vila’s San Juan Resident Commissioner office and assisted in the handling of campaign contributions;

(5) Robert M. Feldman, 60, of Gladwyne, Penn., is charged with conspiracy. Feldman is a Philadelphia-area political and business consultant and was designated by defendant Acevedo Vila as his U.S. campaign finance chairman (Resident Commissioner campaign) in 2002;

(6) Marvin I. Block, 74, of Philadelphia is charged with conspiracy. Block is a Philadelphia-area businessman and lawyer;

(7) Ramon Velasco Escardille, 49, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is charged with conspiracy, false statements and wire fraud. Velasco Escardille was defendant Acevedo Vila’s Resident Commissioner campaign treasurer;

(8) Edwin Colon Rodriguez, 35, of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, is charged with conspiracy and false statements. He is also charged with embezzlement in a separate indictment unsealed today. Colon Rodriguez was defendant Acevedo Vila’s Resident Commissioner campaign assistant treasurer;

(9) Eneidy Coreano Salgado, 40, of Rockville, Md., is charged with conspiracy. Coreano Salgado was defendant Acevedo Vila’s administrative director in his Washington, D.C. Resident Commissioner office;

(10) Luisa Inclan Bird, 47, of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, is charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and federal program fraud. Inclan Bird was a legal advisor for defendant Acevedo Vila’s San Juan office and volunteered in his 2004 gubernatorial campaign’s finance department. Currently, she is a senior advisor for Governor Acevedo Vila;

(11) Miguel Nazario Franco, 60, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is charged with wire fraud and federal program fraud. Nazario Franco volunteered in defendant Acevedo Vila’s 2004 gubernatorial campaign finance department, and is currently a businessman in Puerto Rico.

(12) Ricardo Colon Padilla, 39, of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, is charged with wire fraud, federal program fraud and false statements. Colon Padilla was the finance director for defendant Acevedo Vila’s political party during his 2004 gubernatorial campaign.

(13) Jose Gonzalez Freyre, 56, of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, is charged with wire fraud and false statements. Gonzalez Freyre is the owner of Pan American Grain, a Puerto Rico agricultural company, which contributed at least $50,000 to defendant Acevedo Vila’s 2004 gubernatorial campaign.

Each count carries the following maximum prison terms and fines, along with terms of supervised release:

Count one (conspiracy): five years in prison and a $250,000 fine;

Counts two through nine (false statements to the FEC and federal agents): five years in prison and a $250,000 fine;

Counts 10 through 21 (wire fraud): 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine;

Count 22 (program fraud – obtaining money by fraud): 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine;

Counts 23 and 24 (false statements to the FBI and IRS: five years in prison and a $250,000 fine;

Count 25 (conspiracy to defraud the IRS): five years in prison and a $250,000 fine;

Counts 26 and 27 (filing false tax return): three years in prison and a $100,000 fine;

This case is being prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria A. Dominguez of the District of Puerto Rico and Trial Attorney Daniel A. Schwager of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. The Public Integrity Section is headed by Chief William M. Welch, II. The case is being investigated by the FBI and IRS, with assistance and cooperation from the Office of the Comptroller of Puerto Rico.

The investigation into related corruption and other crimes is ongoing in the District of Puerto Rico. An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice

Contact: U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs, +1-202-514-2007, or TDD, +1-202-514-1888

Pesimismo entre boricuas de la Gran Manzana

Por Claudia Torrens/EDLP

El Diario-La Prensa (28 de marzo 2008)

Nueva York — Líderes políticos e intelectuales puertorriqueños de Nueva York reaccionaron ayer con una mezcla de sorpresa y tristeza a la noticia del arresto del gobernador de la isla y mostraron su preocupación por la estabilidad política y económica de Puerto Rico.

Se estima que unos 770.123 puertorriqueños viven en la ciudad de Nueva York, según el Censo.

Los cargos de corrupción emitidos contra Aníbal Acevedo Vilá llegan en un momento crítico, con las primarias demócratas a la vuelta de la esquina y a menos de ocho meses para los comicios generales donde se escogerá nuevo gobernador en la isla, dijeron expertos.

“Es un momento triste para Puerto Rico”, expresó el congresista José Serrano, que representa el distrito 16 de El Bronx.

“No sabemos la reacción de los puertorriqueños que le respaldan cuando se le acusa de algo tan serio”, dijo Serrano. “Yo y él (Vilá) fuimos colegas en el Congreso así que esto es algo que siento mucho”.

Varios expertos boricuas calificaron las acusaciones a Vilá de recibo de donativos presuntamente ilegales para sus campañas como “un desastre” para la isla.

“La gente de Puerto Rico está muy frustrada políticamente y económicamente esto tiene implicaciones muy serias”, dijo Angelo Falcón, director del Instituto Nacional para Políticas Latinas. “Esto ocurre también en tiempos de recesión aquí. Y uno ya sabe: ‘si se tiene un resfriado aquí, en Puerto Rico es una neumonía’”

Falcón dijo que el nivel de pobreza de la isla es más alto que cualquier otro estado.

Sin embargo, muchos puertorriqueños apoyan a Vilá y le creen cuando dice que las acusaciones son una conspiración del Gobierno federal para hacerle daño, dijo Falcón. Vilá responderá hoy ante el Tribunal Federal en San Juan.

Carlos Vargas, investigador en política pública del Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, en Manhattan, explicó que Vilá es inocente hasta que se demuestre lo contrario.

“Hay que tener en cuenta que el Departamento de Justicia está muy politizado”, dijo Vargas.

Inocente o culpable, los cargos contra Vilá dan fuerza al líder del Partido Nuevo Progresista, Luis Fortuño, que también es candidato a gobernador.

El doctor Víctor Alicea, presidente de Boricua College, en Manhattan, habló de una época difícil, donde primero renuncia un gobernador como Eliot Spitzer en Nueva York y ahora llegan las acusaciones contra Vilá.

“El gobernador debe tomar una decisión sobre su futuro político lo más pronto posible.”

Puerto Rican Governor Faces 19 Counts

Associated Press (March 27, 2008)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila was charged Thursday with 19 counts in a campaign finance probe, including conspiracy to violate U.S. federal campaign laws and giving false testimony to the FBI.

The indictment also charged 12 others associated with Acevedo’s Popular Democratic Party as a result of a two-year grand jury investigation, acting U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said.

The 13 are accused of conspiring to illegally raise money to pay off Acevedo’s campaign debts from his 2000 campaign to be the U.S. island territory’s nonvoting member of Congress.

Acevedo, now running for re-election as governor, will not be arrested, Rodriguez said. But at least five others named in the indictment were led in handcuffs into the U.S. federal building in San Juan early Thursday morning.

“The governor will be permitted to turn himself in deference to his position,” she said.

Acevedo has called the campaign finance probe a case of political persecution by federal officials, partly for his criticism of a September 2005 FBI raid in which a fugitive militant Puerto Rican independence leader was killed.

His allegation has support in Puerto Rico, where many feel a deep-rooted nationalism and hostility toward the U.S. federal government.

A Harvard-educated attorney and career politician, Acevedo, 45, served in Washington as the island’s nonvoting delegate to Congress, and was elected governor in 2004 after campaigning on an anti-corruption platform.

Acevedo’s party favors maintaining the island’s semiautonomous relationship with the U.S. mainland. His leading opponent in this year’s governor’s race favors making Puerto Rico the 51st state.