Puerto Rico changes leaders
BY MICHELLE FAUL
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Rico's new anti-statehood governor
Monday she will hold true to pledges to oust the U.S. Navy from a bombing range
and resolve the island's conflicted relationship with Washington.
``It's not a collision course, it's not a confrontation. It's
about working within the
respect that we must have for each other,'' Sila Calderón said as she prepared to
take the reins of government today.
Calderón, 58, spoke as grandstands were being constructed
arrived for her inauguration.
Calderón is opposed to statehood, which was championed
by outgoing Gov.
Her victory in November and her Popular Democratic Party's success
the majority of seats in both houses of the local legislature were seen as a
collective ``No'' to making Puerto Rico the 51st U.S. state.
It was also viewed as a popular rejection of an agreement between
White House and the Navy that would delay any withdrawal of the Navy from its
bombing range on the island of Vieques until 2003 -- even if islanders vote against
the Navy's presence in a referendum next year.
``Unfortunately this agreement is not in accord with the general
Puerto Rico,'' Calderón said. ``We have to bring this message to Washington, and
I want to do it in a way that is open and honest and democratic.''
On Sunday, Navy Secretary Richard Danzig informed Rosselló
that the Navy
would not transfer 8,000 acres of Vieques land to the government, planned for
Dec. 31, until Calderón promised to stand by the agreement.
The presidents of Venezuela, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Panama
participate in her inauguration, an indication of the respect commanded in the
region by the woman who helped make Puerto Rico a tax haven for U.S.
companies and used funds from the project to provide some $1.2 billion in aid to
Caribbean Basin countries.
Calderón, a former vice president of Citibank in Puerto
Rico, was an architect of
the plan while she was Puerto Rico's secretary of state in the last Popular
Democratic administration in the 1980s.