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[Robert Venables] is among a growing number of ethnics and academics who are coming to think that the commission has missed the boat with its planning for the celebration in 1992 of the 500th anniversary of Columbus' famous sea trip. The critics have a range of complaints, prominent among them that Columbus did not "discover" America because the Indians were already here.
In a gesture to Puerto Ricans and Virgin Islanders, the bill would extend the life of the commission until Dec. 31, 1993, in order to commemorate Columbus's second voyage, which included stops in both territories.
"You could still have a quincentennial and have Columbus as a pivot of the celebration," said [Ivan Van Sertima], who testified earlier this year during hearings on the measure passed yesterday.