Vieques News

"Mother Earth is not a resource but, rather, the source of life itself."
Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th generation Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Bundle


CONTENTS

El Nuevo Dia Interactivo
Heavy Metals In Fish Of Vieques Diet
Metales Pesados En Peces Comestibles
Local Fight To Reclaim Land Won't Stop When Bombs Do

Chronology
Brief History Of Vieques
Simón Bolívar En Vieques - 1816
The Consequences Of The U.S. Navy Occupation
Vieques: The Struggle Past, Present
Military Commercial Center
For the Future of Vieques Look to Hawaii

El Despotismo De La Marina Yanqui En Puerto Rico
The Despotism Of The Yankee Navy In Puerto Rico

Vieques Libre
Música Para Un Vieques Libre

UN Demonstration - August 25, 2001
NYC Vieques Alliance March October 21, 2000 Fotos
Todo Nueva York Con Vieques Dia De Reyes 1999 Fotos

In Memoriam: Doña Adelfa Vera

Palfrente
Women Of Vieques

Visit To A Small Island
Independencia.Net (PIP)
Vieques Humane Society
American Friends Service Committee

Enchanted Isle - Fotos
Vieques Tourism - Fotos
Bioluminescent Bay - Fotos
Vieques Information Portal - Fotos
Vieques Island Photo Gallery - Fotos
The Eastern Islands - Fotos
Flamingo Travel Group - Fotos

   Heavy Metals in Fish of Vieques Diet

PRESS RELEASE
8 April, 2003


Dr. Braulio D. Jiménez, Director
Ctr. for Environmental and Toxicological Studies


Heavy Metals in Fish of Vieques Diet and Material Particles (PM10) in Vieques-Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico. April 9, 2003. A study done
by the Center for Environmental and Toxicological
Studies of the School of Medicine, in conjunction
with the Department of Environmental Health at the Graduate School of Public Health, UPR-Medical
Sciences Campus, reveals that fish which are part of the Vieques diet contain high concentrations of
arsenic, above exposure levels set by the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
(0.003mg/kg/day) for eating fish, which represents a serious health risk. Also, higher levels of heavy metals were found in the air at Vieques compared to levels found in the town of Fajardo (main island). However, the differences were insignificant.

The students, Leslie A. Acevedo (U.P.R. - Medical
Sciences) and Zenaida J. Rosa (Inter American
University at San Germán) presented the results of
the study, Heavy Metals in Fish of Vieques Diet and Material Particles (PM10) in Vieques-Puerto Rico, at the Fort Count Mirasol Museum on Vieques on Sunday, March 30, 2003.



Persons interested in more details should communicate with Dr. Braulio D. Jiménez at:
1.787.758.2525 X1235



Comm.  for the Rescue & Development of Vieques
PO Box 1424 - Vieques, Puerto Rico 00765
Tel. 787 741-0716 Fax 741-0358
E mail: bieke@prorescatevieques.org
http://www.prorescatevieques.org
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bieke_pr/

Metales Pesados En Peces Comestibles

COMUNICADO DE PRENSA
8 de abril de 2003


Dr. Braulio D. Jiménez, Director
Centro de Estudios Ambientales y Toxicológicas


Metales Pesados en Peces Comestibles y en Material Particulado (PM10) en Vieques-PR

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, 9 de abril de 2003.
Estudio realizado por el Centro de Estudios
Ambientales y Toxicológicas de la Escuela de
Medicina en conjunto con el Departamento de Salud Ambiental de la Escuela Graduada de Salud Pública del Recinto de Ciencias Médicas de la Universidad de Puerto Rico revela que peces comestibles de Vieques contienen altas concentraciones de arsénico que sobrepasan la dosis de exposición establecida por la Agencia Federal de Protección Ambiental (EPA) por sus siglas en inglés (0.0003 mg/kg/día) para la ingesta de peces, lo cual representa un riesgo adverso a la salud. Por otro lado se encontraron niveles de metales pesados más altos en el aire de Vieques al compararlo con los niveles encontrados en Fajardo. Sin embargo estas diferencias no fueron significativas.

Las estudiantes Leslie A. Acevedo (U.P.R.-R.C.M.) y Zenaida J. Rosa (U.I.P.R.-San Germán) estuvieron a cargo de la presentación de los resultados del estudio Metales Pesados en Peces Comestibles y en Material Particulado (PM10) en Vieques-Puerto Rico que se llevó a cabo el pasado domingo, 30 de marzo de 2003 en el Fuerte Conde de Mirasol en Vieques.

Aquellas personas interesadas en conocer más
detalles pueden comunicarse con el Dr. Braulio D. Jiménez al: 1.787.758.2525 X1235

Comité Pro Rescate y Desarrollo de Vieques
Apartado 1424 - Vieques, Puerto Rico 00765
Tel 1.787.741.0716 Fax 1.741.0358
E mail: bieke@prorescatevieques.org
http://www.prorescatevieques.org
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bieke_pr/

 

Local Fight To Reclaim Land Won't Stop When Bombs Do
By John Marino
Newark Star-Ledger
Monday, January 20, 2003

 


VIEQUES, Puerto Rico -- The muffled roar of Navy jets and the distant booms of off-shore shelling rolling over this island town last week will become a memory once the Navy ends what is likely its last round of training on a disputed bombing range here.

But for residents who have had to share the island since the Navy expropriated roughly three-quarters of its 33,000 acres in the early 1940s, the struggle won't end until they gain control over former Navy lands and win a federal commitment to clean up the contamination from 60 years of bombardment.

The announcement earlier this month that the Navy had found alternatives to its Vieques training -- at bases in the southeastern United States and with computerized training at sea -- was bittersweet for many here.

It preceded the start of a 29-day round of bombing exercises that began Monday, and it was under terms that left nearly half the island --some 16,000 acres -- in the hands of federal agencies.

"We have to continue struggling for the cleanup and return of the lands. Vieques has the right to sustainable development," Vieques Mayor Damaso Serrano said.

The decision to stop the war games comes after years of protest sparked by the April 1999 death of David Sanes Rodriguez, a local resident and civilian security guard killed during a botched bombing run.

The bombing range remained closed for nearly a year, as protesters erected camps on its beaches and shrapnel-scarred hills. It was finally cleared in a May 2000 federal raid after former President Bill Clinton and former Gov. Pedro Rossello reached an accord that first established a May 1, 2003, Navy exit date and restricted Navy practice to the use of "dummy" bombs or inert ordnance in its Vieques training.

Last week, protesters continued demonstrating even after the Navy said it would end training because, they said, of years of broken Navy promises. "If the Navy says they will leave in 2003, it won't be until at least 2004," said Angel Luis Diaz, a 43-year-old construction worker. "It will take a long time after they are gone for me to believe it."

Resentment runs along both sides of the barb-wired fence that cuts off the eastern third of this island from the north coast to the south coast -- dividing military from civilian land.

"I acknowledge the situation with regard to Vieques with extreme disappointment, our sailors and Marines deserve better," said Marines Corps Commandant Gen. James Jones in a Dec. 31 memo to Navy Secretary Gordon England. "Some in Puerto Rico (particularly in Vieques) have demonstrated an appalling hostility towards sailors, Marines and their requirement for pre-deployment training; this at a particularly dangerous time in our nation's history."

Now that the Navy has been forced to abandon its bombing range here, officials say that it could mean closure of Naval Station Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba, on Puerto Rico's east coast.

Adm. Robert Natter, commander of the Atlantic Fleet, has said that without its adjacent Vieques training ground, the base is a "drain" on taxpayer dollars.

The Navy says the base puts more than $300 million a year into the island economy, said base spokesman Oscar Seara. The base hosts 2,394 military personnel and 4,634 of their dependents and provides about 2,370 civilian jobs.

"We will have to change the way we do business without Vieques, but no decisions on how operations will change have been made," Seara said.

A final decision on the base won't be made until 2005. "The fundamental problem here is that the Navy never has had the intention of helping the people of Vieques," said Radames Tirado, 69, a former mayor, who said the Navy blocked his requests for everything from help in winning federal grants to getting old Navy 55-gallon drums to use as garbage cans in town.

"They have tried to strangle the economy of Vieques so that the people of Vieques would have to leave," he added.

After Sanes Rodriguez's death, the Navy attempted to improve relations through a $40 million spending plan, but few residents were willing to listen.

"After David's death, they came right away offering people work and giving away thousands of dollars," said Osvaldo Gonzalez, 65, owner of Vieques Air Link, one of the island's largest employers with 80 workers.

"It was too late because they lied so much, and they made such fools of the people of Vieques for so many years , that people no longer believed them. And I include myself. I no longer believe the Navy," added Gonzalez, who once sat on a Navy-sponsored economic development board in the 1980s.

While the protests continue, they are not as animated or as large as in the past; one indication that the movement is looking beyond its demand for a halt to bombing to a cleanup and return of former Navy lands.

Plans call for most of the land to become a wild life preserve operated by the Department of Interior, a designation that requires a lower level of cleanup than if it were developed.

The Environmental Protection Agency has yet to comment on Navy cleanup plans for its Camp Garcia, which includes the 900-acre bombing range -- deemed so polluted that authorities are proposing prohibiting access.

"It's what the EPA doesn't know that worries us," said Stacie Notine, 50, a single mother whose concerns over contamination has turned her into a Navy gadfly.

Vieques residents have long suspected that Navy bombing could be harming the environment and their health. The cancer rate in Vieques is about 26 percent higher than that of the main island of Puerto Rico, according to the Puerto Rico Health Department, which began an epidemiological study last year.

"When someone dies in Vieques, no one asks any more from what," said Jose Velez, a 69-year-old Korean War veteran who took part in a protest rally the night the Navy's last round of training began. "We all know it's cancer."
 

Vieques: The Struggle
Past, Present, Understanding

by Ismael Nunez


For one to understand what is going on in Vieques, one should turn the clock back to understand the position of Puerto Ricans on the island fighting for the United States military to leave and for freedom for the island. One should look back at the history of the United States from the days when George Washington was President until now, with George Bush.

Vieques

Before Washington resigned from the presidency, he stated in his farewell address, "We should stay away from Europe, not concentrate on their wars. We should concentrate on our borders." One hundred years later, other notable individuals were saying very similar things. Years later, around the period of the early 1800's to the 1820's, several countries around the Caribbean and Latin America were winning their independence from countries in Europe (notably France and Spain). In Haiti, Toussaint L 'Ouverture, an escaped Black slave, led an army of slaves against France. The revolt was a success; they would win their independence and most importantly slavery was abolished. In Mexico, Miguel Hidalgo, a radical priest, led close to 80,000 individuals against the Spanish Inquisition in the year 1810 and distributed land to the peasants, and demanded freedom for all slaves. In South America, Simon Bolivar, and Jose De San Martin gathered together an army of workers and slaves to drive the Spanish from the continent of South America.

Bolivar wanted to lead an army to free both Cuba and Puerto Rico, but unfortunately the United States threatened war and Bolivar was forced to back down. Bolivar stated, "This country seems destined to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." It was around that time the United States issued a document that would manifest U.S. imperialism in the years to come. In 1823, the fifth President of the United States James Monroe declared Latin America a United States territory. The Monroe Doctrine was put together right around the time countries in Latin America and the Caribbean were winning their freedom from European nations, who were feeling the effects of war during the Napoleonic War period. This document declared, "Any attack in this area, is an attack on the United States." As Ana Lopez, Historian/professor from City University points out in her book The History of Puerto Rico Series In a Nutshell,"The U.S. wanted to be the only ones to exploit Latin America with no competition from the European nations." She goes on to add, "With this document the U.S. would expand its might to occupy militarily!" Here are some of the invasions the United States have performed:

1816-18, Spanish Florida: First Seminole War whose area was a resort for escaped slaves was attacked by U.S. troops under Andrew Jackson. Spanish posts were attacked, and later occupied, British citizens executed. No declaration or congressional approval was ever authorized.

1846-48, Mexico: The Mexican War, President Polk's occupation of disputed territory precipitated it. War was formally declared.

May 1916-September 1924: U.S. Marines occupied the Dominican Republic to maintain order during a period of insurrection.

Eventually, the subject of Puerto Rico came up, for which the United States had on its mind for nearly thirty-years. In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State Steward stated, "The United States has consistently cherished the belief that someday she can acquire this area by just cause." Thirty-one years later, the Spanish-American War was to take place and then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, who made a name for himself (as an opportunist some might say) during the war by leading the Rough Riders stated, "Do not make peace until we have Puerto Rico." Around this period on May 24th of 1898, U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge in a written memo to Roosevelt, said "Puerto Rico is not forgotten and we mean to have it." On July 25th 1898, the United States invaded Puerto Rico on the port of Guanica Bay.

General Nelson Miles, who led the invasion on the island, (who, by the way led massacre of 300 Native Americans at Wounded Knee in 1890) stated "We have not come to make war upon the people of a country that for centuries has been oppressed, but on the contrary, to bring you protection." MENTIRA! which in English means Lie.

The protection was for the interest of the United States in the area of the Caribbean and Latin America.

1898 to 1917 was a key period for the United States; Theodore Roosevelt, who was the president from 1901 to 1909 stated, "We can sit quietly on our borders." This was the era of "Walk Quietly and Carry a Big Stick" policy. Also during this time, the United States issued in Cuba the Platt Amendment, which gave the United States the right to control Cuban foreign policy and intervene militarily to regulate the activities of the Cuban government. In 1903, the construction of the Panama Canal would go along and finally on the year 1917 the Jones Act was passed, which imposed U.S. citizenship on the people of Puerto Rico. Ironically, Puerto Ricans did not take part in the passing of this bill.

Many would ask how did all of this lead to Vieques; it leads to it in many ways. As Ana Lopez states again in her book, "They considered that the Panama Canal needed to be protected from potential foreign attacks, particularly from Europe. This meant increasing the might of the U.S. Navy to set up key military bases in the Caribbean and Latin America." The key place was obviously the island of Puerto Rico and the island of Vieques.

In the book Colonial Dilemma (a must buy) edited by the brothers Edwin and Edgardo Melendez, in an article by Humberto Garcia Muniz, he stated "Vieques has played a major role in U.S. interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean." Case in point: Dominican Republic 1965, Grenada 1983; in the article by Muniz, it concludes that the rehearsal for "the invasion of Grenada, took place in Vieques (code-named Universal Trek I-83), and finally the invasion of Panama in 1989." Currently, the U.S. Navy controls between 70 to 80% of the land in Vieques, bombing practices go on almost everyday. In a video called Puerto Rico: Hidden Colony, Hidden Struggle, Carlos Taso Zenon, a resident of Vieques who has been active in the struggle for Vieques says, "This is the only place in the whole world in which WW II has never ended. The bombing goes on from 7:00 in the morning sometimes until 7:00 the next day. It's an outrage." The military presence there is not the only problem there. There's also problem of health, and then the desruction fishing industry.

In other powerful video called The Battle for Vieques, fishermen state the problems they've had with the military. "It's frightening, they do this all-year around." Other fisherman stated, "In areas where we often fish there are times we are scared to fish in that area, due to the fact that we might accidentally hit a piece of metal or sharp objects left from the bombing exercises. The Navy hardly never cleans-up after themselves."

"The are times we just have no place to fish in Vieques, the U.S. military is everywhere."

The health problems have been growing in Vieques. In a serious of articles put together by The Amsterdam News, cancer and asthma is the rise in Vieques.

In the articles by Karen Juanita Carrillo and John Price, they interviewed Dr. Rafael Castano, an epidemiologist and a retired professor from the University of Puerto Rico who stated, "The probable cause of the prevalence of asthma among children living on the island is air pollution. We don't have factories-the primary source of pollution is the U.S. Navy." Laura Carreras, supports that claim. "Right after the bombings a lot of people, especially children are wheezing and coughing from asthma. Many people also have "red-eye" after the bombing." Francisco "Pache" Pimentel has a story to tell; according to the articles, Pache has lost up to seven friends to cancer since 1996. He blames the Navy for these deaths. "Every bomb that falls on our island, the dust will come up and the winds blow them east and west across the island. It is poisoning our people." The northern town of Isabel Segunda, according to Pache is often called "Villa Cancer" (Cancer Village) due to the fact that it's so close to the Navy's Camp Garcia.

The Vieques movement has gotten a lot of support. Puerto Rican baseball stars Juan Gonzalez of the Cleveland Indians, Ivan Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers, Singer Marc Anthony, and boxer Felix "Tito" Trinidad, have supported the Vieques movement and demanded that the bombing be stopped. Currently you have to ask yourself, does the United States have any respect for territory? What's going on here is without question is a form of terrorism. Then again when this country does it, it's democracy! If groups like the Young Lords or the Macheteros fight back, they are terrorist.

Hey, compare these two with what the U.S. has in Puerto Rico; the world knows who's the bad guy.
 


Vieques - Military Commercial Center
http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/unframed/10/2681.html
http://www.defenselink.mil/acq/ebusiness

 

Contract Price - A contract entered into under subsection (a) shall include a provision that requires a commercial entity using a Major Range and Test Facility Installation under the contract to reimburse the Department of Defense for all direct costs to the United States that are associated with the test and evaluation activities conducted by the commercial entity under the contract. In addition, the contract may include a provision that requires the commercial entity to reimburse the Department of Defense for such indirect costs related to the use of the installation as the Secretary of Defense considers to be appropriate. The Secretary may delegate to the commander of the Major Range and Test Facility Installation the authority to determine the appropriateness of the amount of indirect costs included in such a contract provision.
 


For the Future of Vieques, Look to Hawaii
By Debra A. Klein

Copyright 2001 The New York Times
 

SAN FRANCISCO -- For decades the Navy strafed the island with gunfire. Ordnance exploded on windswept hills and bright blue reefs. After a lengthy political struggle that included arrests and illegal occupation by activists, islanders got what they wanted. The Navy stopped bombing and withdrew from the land.

This is not the story of Vieques, the island off Puerto Rico, but rather of Kahoolawe, Hawaii, a 45-square mile island about seven miles off Maui's coast. What happened there serves as a cautionary tale. Indeed, the controversial White House decision to order the Navy to stop bombing Vieques in 2003 could be the first spark in a long battle over how to restore the land.

During World War II, despite Kahoolawe's status as a sacred place to Hawaiians, the Navy commandeered the island for live-fire training for its Pearl Harbor fleet. Evidence of ancient cultures, from stone temples to one of the region's largest troves of adzes, tools used to trim wood, dotted the island. Many artifacts were over 1,000 years old, preserved for centuries under wild grasses and brush.

In the 1970's, Hawaiian activists organized as the Protect Kahoolawe Ohana began protesting the shelling. In 1976, some staged a daring dawn raid to occupy the island. Seven were arrested, but two eluded capture and hid out on the island for three days. By 1980, the courts granted Hawaiians permission to visit the island for spiritual services, roughly once a month. The island was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. Finally, in 1990, President George Bush issued an executive order that stopped the bombing.

But the conflict didn't end. In 1993, Congress agreed to finance a 10-year Navy cleanup, but activists complained that the job should have gone to a more experienced branch of the military, like the Army Corps of Engineers.

It took five years for the cleanup even to begin. Circumstances unique to the island slowed the pace; hundreds of workers had to be transported onto a rocky shore without a dock or landing strip. The island's iron- rich natural soil made metal detectors an impractical way to find buried bombs. Instead, each small swatch of land had to be tediously examined by a procession of surveyors, archaeologists, brush cutters, surface sweepers and bomb technicians.

Local people complained that the Navy had squandered much of the $400 million cleanup budget on expensive helicopter transports. The Navy countered that Hawaiians took too much time building a consensus on how best to restore the land.

By 2000, the Navy had cleaned only one-tenth of the island and had to scrap its initial plan to clean not only the entire island's surface, but also one-third of the subsurface. Today, the Navy projects it will clear two- thirds of the surface and small areas of the subsurface by 2003, when Congressional financing runs out. The money will be gone, but the bombs won't. The grand plans for a cultural and historic park on the island have been drastically curtailed.

In 2003, the same year the Navy withdraws its cleanup operation from Kahoolawe, it will stop firing on Vieques. The bombs may well fall silent on that island after decades of struggle, but their echo is sure to haunt Puerto Ricans for years.


Don Pedro
Sept 12, 1891 -  Apr 21, 1965
 



ALBIZU CAMPOS
DR. PEDRO ALBIZU CAMPOS

El Despotismo De La Marina Yanqui En Puerto Rico
The Despotism Of The Yankee Navy In Puerto Rico

Escrito en el año 1945 por Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos
Written in 1945 by Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos


ORACIÓN
Pedro Albizu Campos
Escrito en la Cárcel de la Princesa
del Antiguo San Juan, Semana Santa del año 1951


Dios mío, apiádate de mí. Dame tu luz. Dame tu vida eterna. Imploro me sea clara la misión mía y me des los medios para cumplirla a tu satisfacción.

Hágase en mí exclusivamente tu voluntad y ninguna otra. Dame la humildad y la mansedumbre de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, su amor, su perdón y su caridad para los que lo sacrificaron.

Que esos son nuestros sentimientos para los que nos hayan hecho mal, para los que intentan hacernos mal, para los que lograron hacernos mal.

Líbranos del odio, la sed de venganza, del rencor contra ellos. Rogamos que sea con todos y cada uno de ellos el Espíritu Santo, y que sean purificados, santificados y ungidos por su Divina Gracia; que se haga en ellos exclusivamente tu Santa y Divina Voluntad y ninguna otra; que sea de ellos también tu paz, tu alegría, tu felicidad y tu gloria; que en esos sentimientos de amor, de perdón y caridad de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo, se reconcilien con nosotros, y que, en esos mismos sentimientos nos reconciliemos nosotros con ellos para bien de la patria y de la humanidad.

Rogamos que nuestro Señor Jesucristo nos acompañe, que no nos abandone, que viva con nosotros; que nos envíe el Espíritu Santo para mantenernos en estado de gracia y merecer la gloria de ser expresión del Espíritu Santo y de la Justicia Divina.

Danos el talento, el criterio, la inteligencia, la sabiduría, el genio y la visión eterna del Salvador; Su valor, Su heroísmo, Su infinito poder para resistir los dolores del sacrificio, la gracia y la resurrección de la vida eterna; Su energía, Su salud, Su belleza, Su juventud, Su virilidad en todo momento; Su bondad infinita, Su dulzura, Su cariño, Su fuerza, Su humildad, Su mansedumbre, Su majestad. Rogamos el poder para llevar la cruz del martirio con Su majestad; y que la cruz no haga sombra y siempre sea brazos de luz eterna sea cual fuere la orientación del peregrino en busca de la Fuerza Divina.

Concédenos la gracia para rechazar todo mal contra nosotros y deshacerlo. Vemos clara nuestra misión de liberación. El sufrimiento que colleve su cumplimiento de acuerdo con tu Divina Voluntad ha de ser de alegría, porque tu voluntad es la Gloria.

Suplicamos la Gracia eterna para poder encontrarnos a tu llamada ante tu divina presencia donde están los nuestros adorados.

Todo te lo pedimos en nombre de tu Divino Hijo Nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

Amén


LINKS
Palfrente
Vieques Libre
Women Of Vieques

Visit To A Small Island
Independencia.Net (PIP)
Vieques Humane Society
El Nuevo Dia Interactivo
Enchanted Isle - Fotos
Vieques Tourism - Fotos
Bioluminescent Bay - Fotos
Vieques Information Portal - Fotos
Vieques Island Photo Gallery - Fotos
The Eastern Islands - Fotos
Flamingo Travel Group - Fotos
American Friends Service Committee



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