2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2000 13:54:51 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Fellowship of Reconciliation Statement on Resumed Bombing of Vieques
[This was posted to the listserve by John Lindsay-Poland, 

Fellowship of Reconciliation Statement on Resumed Bombing of Vieques
February 1, 2000

Contact:  John Lindsay-Poland, at 415-495-6334 or <forlatam@igc.org>

The Fellowship of Reconciliation condemns the White House's announcement 
yesterday that it would continue military training on the Puerto Rican 
island of Vieques.  The Fellowship calls on its members and people of 
conscience to support the peaceful disobedience in eleven encampments 
established in the explosive impact area of Vieques, by participating in 
demonstrations on February 16 and joining or materially contributing to 
the camps in Vieques.

The Navy used the area beginning in 1941 for bombing practice and 
training for military attacks on Iraq, Yugoslavia and elsewhere until 
last April, when two bombs dropped off-target from a Marine jet killed a 
local civilian guard.  Since then, church groups, teachers, local 
fishermen, students, labor unions, and the Puerto Rican Independence 
Party have set up permanent camps on the beaches and hills of Vieques.

The camps are a creative example of sustained nonviolent action that,
together with support from Puerto Rico and the international community, 
has prevented the Navy from resuming bombing and preparing for 
unilateral military action by its Atlantic Fleet.  A representative 
commission appointed by Puerto Rican Governor Pedro Rosselló concluded 
that the Navy should suspend all training on Vieques, turn back the 
land, withdraw its forces from the island, and clean up hazards 
generated by the training, a position adopted by the Puerto Rican 
government as official policy.

The agreement between the White House and Rosselló announced Monday 
calls for the arrest by Puerto Rican authorities of those camped on the 
impact area, followed by bombing of Vieques in March by the USS George 
Washington battle group, using "inert" munitions.  The agreement also 
calls for a referendum in Vieques, but one next year that excludes the 
option of the Navy's immediate withdrawal.   It makes no mention 
whatsoever of environmental cleanup of explosives and carcinogenic 
compounds that litter the lands and waters of Vieques and have led to a 
high cancer rate in the community.

Vieques fisherman Carlos Zenon, who visited the United States in 
November on an FOR-sponsored speaking tour, said: "If there is anything 
positive that comes from this announcement, it is that now no one can 
justify their inaction and silence saying that we must give space to the 
Governor and continue blindly trusting that an acceptable decision for 
Vieques will be found.  Today no one can doubt that civil disobedience 
is our most powerful instrument for achieving respect for our rights and 
to permanently end the bombing on Vieques."

Vieques community leaders point out that the Navy allegedly reduced the 
use of "inert" munitions in Vieques because they are often even more 
dangerous than live munitions.  "Navy recognized the tendency of inert 
NSFS ordnance to skip on impact," the Navy wrote in a report about 
Vieques last June. "This skipping could endanger fisherman and pleasure 

Vieques leaders and their supporters will gather in Washington on 
February 16 to protest the agreement.  They will hold a press conference 
next to the Supreme Court at 100 Maryland Ave.  SE at 10 a.m., and a 
demonstration in front of the White House at 4 p.m.

For information on supporting or visiting the camps in Vieques, contact 
the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques, 787-741-8651.  
Make checks payable to CPRDV and send them to: CPRDV, Box 1424, Vieques, 
PR 00765.  E-mail: bieke@coqui.net.

Finally, the Fellowship urges readers of this message to contact their 
Congressional Representatives' and Senators' offices in Washington and 
urge them to participate in the press conference and rally to support 
Vieques on February 16.

For more information, see:
Vieques Libre - http://www.viequeslibre.org

Fellowship of Reconciliation
Task Force on Latin America & the Caribbean

*Please note our new street address since January 15:
2017 Mission St. #305, San Francisco, CA 94110
Tel: (415) 495-6334  Fax: (415) 495-5628
E-mail:  forlatam@igc.org
Web:  http://www.nonviolence.org/for

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