Puerto Rico Herald
February 19, 2004

Cheney’s Visit To Be Marked By Demonstrations For And Against Him

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

Copyright © 2004 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved.

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to arrive to the island Friday to participate in a fund raising event that observers expect will be marked by demonstrations of local organizations for and against him.

On Thursday, the Republican Youth Federation National Committeewoman Yanira Martinez announced that several pro-statehood organizations will gather in front of the Condado Plaza Hotel at 10 a.m. to show their support for Cheney.

"Our goal is to show Vice President Cheney how proud we are of our American citizenship and what our great nation stands for," Martinez said.

Meanwhile, members of the Pro-Independence College Front (also known as FUPI), Socialist Organizations, and the Congreso Nacional Hostosiano have announced that they will also be present, but to protest Cheney’s visit.

In a written statement, Pro-Statehood Puerto Rican Youth President Felix Plaud—who has been part of heated disputes at the University of Puerto Rico—urged anti-American organizations to put their differences aside so both groups could protest in peace.

"It is our wish that all demonstrations during this historical visit be conducted in democratic harmony, with mutual tolerance and respect for the freedom of speech protected by the Commonwealth and U.S. constitutions," Plaud said.

The local police has already announced that it would increase surveillance and control traffic access to Ashford Avenue in Condado.

The U.S. Secret Service will be in charge of security inside the hotel during Cheney’s visit.

It has yet to be announced if members of the local press will have the opportunity to talk to the vice president.

The National Republican Party expects to raise around $200,000 for the re-election campaign of both Cheney and U.S. President George W. Bush during a luncheon. The vice president is expected to return to the mainland on the same day of his arrival.