Resumption of bombing Vieques denounced
Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques
P.O. Box 1424 Vieques, Puerto Rico 00765
Tel. (787) 741-0716 Fax 741-0358 Email: email@example.com
Press Release 6 December, 2000
The Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques (CRDV) denounced the resumption of bombing yesterday (Wednesday) by the US Navy. Residents of Vieques complained early in the day of loud noises and vibrations felt in their homes. Navy ships were seen off the coast of Vieques beginning on Tuesday. The Navy did not announce these exercises fifteen days in advance, as stipulated in the 1983 Memo of Understanding between the PR Government and the Navy. Not until Tuesday afternoon did military officials place in the local Post Office the "Notification to fishermen and all other persons navigating in Vieques coastal waters," indicating the calendar of operations and the related imposed restrictions. According to the notification, the Navy practices present "a danger for people, fishing equipment and/or boats", and will extend through the ninth of December beginning early in the mornings until late at night.
The Viequenses expressed their concern that as during the past maneuvers, the Navy will use live bombs. Vieques veterans (from Vietnam and Korea) who participated in civil disobedience actions during NATO exercises in October, confirmed the use of live bombs on that occasion. "Sixty years of abuse and lies from the Navy make it impossible to believe in the military here," said Robert Rabin, of the CRDV. "The people of Vieques and all sectors of Puerto Rican society have manifested their support for the immediate and permanent end of all military activity here, with live bombs or not live bombs," expressed Rabin. Several fishermen indicated they will go into the fishing areas to work and if necessary defy the Navy ships. Carlos Zensn, veteran activist in the struggle against the Navy here, informed yesterday that several fishermen entered the restricted zone during maneuvers, forcing the Navy ships to momentarily stop firing their canons.
The bombing began again here during the same week that Navy officials attempt to coordinate a student interchange between Vieques and the school at the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in the town of Ceiba. Recently, military official met with the Superintendent of Schools, Luis Bonano Casillas. Also this week, Navy officers together with the President of the New Progressive Party and mayoral candidate in recent elections, Juana Rivera Guishard, donated pianos for five schools here.
Spokespeople for the CRDV denounced these 'donations' as hypocritical and dishonest, part of the Navy's public relations plan to try to improve their image among the community. "One day they are handing out pianos and the next day they bomb us. We are sick and tired of this 'wolf in sheep's clothing'. We denounce the position of Governor Pedro Rosells and Vieques Mayor, Manuela Santiago, in support of the continued use of Vieques for Navy exercises," stated Nilda Medina, spokeswoman for the Vieques Peace and Justice Camp.
Contact: Nilda Medina [00 1] (787) 741-0716
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