[News] Rangel calls for an investigation into Puerto Rico raids
News at freedomarchives.org
Thu Feb 16 08:34:12 EST 2006
Congressman Demand Investigations
El Nuevo Día
February 15, 2005
By José A. Delgado (<mailto:Jdelgado at elnuevodia.com>Jdelgado at elnuevodia.com)
WASHINGTON - "Democrats in Congress will go to
Puerto Rico to investigate FBI actions on the
island if the Republican majority of the Judicial
Committee of the House of Representatives refuses
to intervene in this controversy," Congressman Charles Rangel said yesterday.
Rangel, elected by New Yorkers, made his
statement Rangel, issued his warning as three
Boricua members of Congress demanded that the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (known as the FBI
by their initials in English) order an
independent inquiry into last Friday's operation
in San Juan, where federal agents assaulted journalists.
The resident commissioner in Washington, Luis
Fortuño didn't sign off on the letter by
Democrats José Serrano, Luis Gutiérrez y Nydia
Velázquez since he also complained, via telephone, with the White House.
We are going to make a formal petition to study
this matter (in the Congress). If they deny it,
we as Democrats will go there to investigate,
said Rangel, who will formally channel his
request through the lower chamber's Judiciary
Committee, which is presided over by Republican James Sensenbrener.
Sensenbrener, a conservative from Wisconsin, had
already rejected last October a call to
investigate the circumstances under which FBI
agents allowed Filiberto Ojeda Ríos. the leader
of the People Boricua Army (or the Macheteros) to
bleed to death. Observers in Washington predict
that the new solicitation by Rangel will once again be rejected.
But Rangel brought forward to El Nuevo Dia that
Democrats will not stay with their arms crossed
and that, at the very least, will find a way to
denounced the attitudes of the FBI.
The three Puerto Rican with PLENOS in the lower
chamber, for their part, requested that FBI
director Robert Mueller (launch) an independent
investigation over the aggression committed by
the agents against journalists last Friday.
"In our democracy, the most fundamental
obligation of law enforcement agencies is to
uphold the constitutional rights of citizens as
well as to protect the freedom of the
press. Even in Puerto Rico, where the Bureau and
its agents have a reputation for behaving as if
they are above the law, the FBI is not exempt
from these duties," noted Democrats Serrano (New
York), Gutiérrez (Chicago) and Velázquez (New York).
"We ask for an immediate independent
investigation to determine if the Bureau's use of
force was excessive or unwarranted,:" said the
Boricua federal legislators, who considered the
situation warranted their attention as was the
case with Ojeda Rios, whose inquiry is in the
hands of the Office of the Attorney General of
the Department of Justice. The three Borrica
members of Congress asked Mueller that they
recieve a response to their request by the latest
tomorrow, when they return to their districts.
"It seems to me that it was an atrocity," the
form in which the FBI acted last Friday, in an
operation in which they were they was supposedly
looking for evidence on the Macheteros, said
REangel, whose intervention arose after the
Chaire of the Bronx Democratic Party, State
Assemblyman José Rivera. Rangel said he hoped to
talk last night with Serrano, Gutiérrez y Velázquez.
Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, on his part,
yesterday telephoned Rangel to get ask that the
he push for public hearings on the actions of the
FBI in Puerto Rico. Acevedo Vilá, also mentioned
that his interest in holding hearings in Puerto Rico.
"We discussed the possibility of carrying out
visits here in Puerto Rico, in a form in which
the members of Congress can receive testimony
from those that suffered the consequences of the
incident and where the FBI can have the
opportunity to say to the members of COngress
their version of what happened," said Acevedo Vilá.
In his statements to El Nuevo Día, Rangel, who
arrived yesterday afternoon in Washington D.C.,
evaded details of his conversation with Acevedo
Vilá. But, he said that he would talk to the
Boricua members of Congress and his good friend,
the Ranking member of the Judiciary Committee,
John Conyers, to insure that there is an investigation.
"If (the Republicans) don't consent to this, the
Democrats will go there. It wouldn't be an
official investigation, but we will do our jobs,"
pointed out Rangel, who is not a member of the
Judiciary Committee but is very influential among
the minority Democrats. Serrano, for his part, is
one of the leaders on the Subcommittee of
Assignments that examines the budget of the FBI.
El Caucus Hispano del Congreso, integrado por
demócratas, efectuó en junio de 2001 una
audiencia en torno a las denuncias de que la
Marina de Guerra cometió abusos en contra de
desobedientes civiles en Vieques, en momentos en
que se avivaban las protestas en contra de las
maniobras militares en esa isla municipio.
On that occasion, the Navy sent a spokesman to
the hearings that refused to give details over
the operations that were carried out against the
acts of civil disobedience. Nevertheless, the
members of Congress, received public testimonies in the halls of Congress.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Fortuño, announced that
he communicated with the White House to demand
that they force the FBI in Puerto to have respect
for the job of the press. "The FBI office has
failed to understand that (while) they have a role, so do the press,"
According to the Commissioner, White House
officials -- which he didn't identify - said that
they would bring the complaint to the FBI. In
those moments, the U.S. Attorney General's
Offices will examine the actions of the federal
agents in the operation that culminated in the
death of Ojeda Ríos on Sept. 23, 2005.
That investigation was the primary reason why
Congressman Sensenbrener rejected the call for
public hearings into that matter.
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