2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: rhugus@cape.com
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2000 16:49:38 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Vieques

>Vieques Libre - http://www.viequeslibre.org
>February 3, 2000
>Congreso Nacional Hostosiano    ****Press Release****
>First of all, the Hostosian National Congress (CNH) wishes to salute and
>congratulate the Puerto Rican people for having maintained themselves
>firmly in rejecting the plan of the Navy to reinitiate bombings against
>the Island of Vieques.  In spite of the fact that some political leaders
>have submitted to pressuring by the Navy and by Clinton, we have observed
>with much pride that the Viequenses and representatives of all sectors of
>civil society firmly reject the plan presented by the Governor to our
>country this past Monday.
>Governor Pedro Rosell=DB betrayed the aspirations for peace and liberty of
>the people of Vieques.  Projected before the world, according to the
>international press, that we Puerto Ricans are corruptible, that we sold
>out, that we are are willing to trade away issues of dignity and human
>rights in exchange for money.  He put aside the interests of Vieques for
>the immorality of three more years of bombings, without guarantees for
>removal of the United States Navy.
>Rossell=DB showed a lack of respect for the Working Commission on Vieques,
>imposing upon them an unconsulted decision, in open opposition to the
>public policy adopted by the Government of Puerto Rico.  Governor Pedro
>Rossell=DB owes an explanation to the Commission members, who represent the
>people of Puerto Rico.
>The real danger of "inert" bombs - alleging that they are "not explosive"-
>should not be minimized, as the Navy and its allies have tried to do.  It
>has been demonstrated by the Armed Forces' own studies that the impact by
>so-called "inert bombs" on contaminated terrain - in our case, with (among
>other toxics) dust from Reduced Uranium - raises a cloud of toxic
>materials carried by the wind up to 25 miles away.  The winds on Vieques
>are strong and blow from east to west, so that toxic and radioactive
>materials unavoidably fall on the civilian population, causing major
>damage to health and provoking more cancer and contamination.  One "inert"
>bomb weighing five hundred or a thousand pounds - falling on barrels
>filled with toxic waste submerged underwater near the coast in the firing
>area - would provoke a toxic waste spill with incalculable consequences,
>affecting the food sources of fish and other sea life and condemning the
>Viequenses and all of Puerto Rico to more cancer, toxic contamination, and
>Governor Rossell=DB alleges that he would assume the consequences of his
>decsions, but in reality those consequences will again fall, as we have
>seen on the Viequenses and on all of Puerto Rico.
>For our part, since the day of the Rossell=DB's announcement of his
>surrender we have been reinforcing the camp of the CNH in the Firing
>Range, together with the other civil disobedience camps, sending more
>provisions and people. We are in the process of coordinating visits from
>international delegations to our camp, including visits of personages such
>as Jesse Jackson, Congressman Lu=CCs Guti=C8rrez (D-IL), and other leaders =
>opinionmakers who have been expressing their willingness to participate in
>acts of civil disobedience.  We congratulate the Catholic Church for their
>determination to construct their own civil disobedience camp.  Their
>presence in the Firing Range will have an incalculable value in fortifying
>the only strategy that has been demonstratively effective in impeding the
>reiniciation of the bombing, and removing the Navy from Vieques forever.
>In reference to the proposed Referendum, we support the position assumed
>by the religious, labor, environnmentalist, and cultural sectors, and by
>the majority of Puerto Ricans, in particular, by the Viequenses: HUMAN
>RIGHTS are NOT subject to a vote or to negotiations.  They are to be
>defended firmly and with dignity.
>We include in this communication a list of at least eighteen (18) elements
>of deceit found in the Navy's proposal.  The Navy's proposal was endorsed
>by Rossell=DB and by some leaders of the New Progressive Party (translator'=
>note: This pro-statehood party is currently in power in San Juan.).
>1) It permits the Navy to effect for ninety (90) days per year its bombing
>practices in the Impact Area in the zone denominated as the "Inner Range
>Atlantic Fleet Weapons Training Facility" (AFWTF), located where at
>present are the civil disobedience camps in the Eastern part of Vieques.
>Under this premise, the Navy may perform the exercises of the Atlantic
>Fleet known as JTFE (Joint Task Force Exercise) twice per year, for 45
>days each time.  To accept these practices means returning the Eastern
>part of Vieques to the levels of desolation, destruction and barbarity
>that we found when we bagen to rescue the area for the benefit and
>enjoyment of future generations.
>2) It would permit the use of the area denominated as the "Eastern
>Maneuver Area" (EMA), located in the Eastern part of Vieques for
>conducting amphibious exercises of the Marine Corps.
>3) The absence of references to the use of "EMA" in the "agreement" also
>opens the doors to its utilization by the Special Operations Command of
>the Southern Command (SOCSOUTH), located in Roosevelt Roads Naval Base
>(translator's note: Ceiba, Puerto Rico, just opposite the bay from
>Vieques); it opens the door to use by the Southern Command of the US Army
>(located in Ft. Buchanan, near San Juan).  It also opens the door to
>military forces from various other countries with whom the United States
>conducts joint military exercises (note: the US has for years "rented"
>Vieques to the militaries of its allies in Europe and Latin America.)  It
>is important to mention that as early as March 2000 naval vessels from
>Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay, Canada, France, and Holland - together with
>an additional squadron of US Navy destroyers, will be participating in a
>"war game", along with the  US Navy combat group of the aircraft carrier
>USS George Washington in waters very close to Vieques in the exercises
>known as "UNITAS."
>4) The negotiated agreement facilitates the transfer and puts at the
>disposition of the US Southern Command the installations at Roosevelt
>Roads, in order to make it the headquarters of the Southern Command Naval
>Forces (NAVYSOUTH).
>5) No mechanisms were negotiated by which the Government of Puerto Rico
>would have some participation in the verification or control of the type
>of military exercises to be developed on Vieques during the next three
>years, nor the type of projectiles that would be used.
>6) There are neither specifics nor definitions of the of the level of
>control that the government of Puerto Rico will have in verifying the work
>of decontamination and cleanup of contaminated waters and lands in the
>Western part of the Island, where no less than 104 warehouses for
>explosives  for the Atlantic fleet are located; nor of tens of thousands
>of bombs of different sizes and destructive capacity dispersed over the
>lands and at the bottom of the sea in the "EMA" and in the "Inner Range
>7) Contrary to publicy policy, which demands the "immediate cease and
>desist of all military operations on Vieques", the so-called "agreement"
>perpetuates the operations of the ROTHR Radar, the electronic surveillance
>operations from Mount Pirata in the Western part of the Island of Vieques,
>and amphibious and firing operations in the Eastern part.
>8) The "agreement" constitutes a mechanism for buying off the conscience
>of the people of Vieques.  They offer forty million dollars (to the
>Viequenses) when, as a matter of fact, through renting Navy-occupied lands
>in the Eastern part of Vieques to other countries the Navy annually
>receives double that amount.
>9) The "agreement" does not adequately or definitively provide for
>retroactive economic restitution for those persons who have been harmed
>(materially or otherwise) as a result of the Navy's activities on Vieques
>during the past (6) decades, in particular the fishermen.
>10) The "agreement" relieves the Navy of responsibility of assuming the
>economic cost of the urgently needed "Epidemiological Study" on Vieques to
>deal with the causes of health problems on this Island.  Nor does it
>commit to action or responsibility for the costs of necessary remedial
>measures in light of (the health problems), much less does it establish a
>deadline for initation and conclusion.  It only says that such work will
>be conducted by the US Department of Health.
>11) The "agreement" proposes the so-called "referendum" only among the
>Viequenses, under the Electoral Law of Puerto Rico, throwing a smokescreen
>to make us suppose that it is the will of the People making the final
>decision.  It is as if to make us forget our experience of electoral
>processes in Puerto Rico, where the Navy has secretly intervened with
>activities designed to influence Puerto Rican electoral behavior in our
>general elections.  In fact, with this "agreement" we already see such
>activities, that the Navy will use (the terms of the "agreement") to
>create conditions for developing initiatives directed at gaining the
>support of the population, so that they will support the Navy's presence -
>and its military exercises - in the Island Municipality when the time
>comes to
>vote, leaving in the hands of the Navy to decide when the referendum
>should be held.
>12) The so-called "agreement" is authorized simply at the level of
>"Executive Order" or "Presidential Directive."  Under this premise,
>nothing would prevent that in the future - even President Clinton before
>finishing his term, or whoever succeeds him - could unilaterally render
>this "agreement" inoperative.
>13) The decison of the Government of Puerto Rico to renounce use of the
>judicial processes closes the doors to a so-called "Consent Agreement" to
>which any agreement would be subject, at least, to compliance by the force
>of law.  This self-restriction, moreover, ties the hands of the Government
>of Puerto Rico in initiating or continuing in judicial forums any type of
>proceedings for the Navy's failure to comply with the 1983 Agreements,
>whereby legally one could argue a new iteration of those agreements as a
>result of new negotiation.
>14) Through this "agreement' the Government of Puerto Rico has placed the
>Puerto Rico Police as a Pretorian Guard for the Navy, assigning to them
>the dirty work of removing the protesters in the civil disobedience camps.
>15) The "agreement" was negotiated behind the back of the Commission on
>Vieques and the people of Puerto Rico.  The letter from the Governor to
>the President of the United States was already written when the Commission
>was "informed" of the achieved agreement.  In the process there were no
>consultations with the members of the Commission, nor with the sectors of
>the Puerto Rican people which the Commission represents, much less with
>the institutions representing the people in the Legislative Assembly.  It
>speaks of an antidemocratic exercise of power, which is at least
>theoretically delegated according to our constitutional structure.
>16) The "agreement" permits continuing the bombing of Vieques for no less
>than three additional years, thus opening the possibility that it might be
>made permanent by a Pseudo-Referendum.  Whether the bombs are "inert" or
>"unexplosive' bombs is immaterial.  First, because public policy has not
>distinguished between classes of bombs; segund, because an "inert" bomb is
>the same as other types of bombs- except that instead of releasing
>explosives, the impact of an "inert" bomb releases projectiles of armored
>concrete, gases, and metals with destructive capacity against structures
>in the firing range, on the coral reefs, and any other type of nearby
>life. Regarding so-called "non-explosive bombs", as yet no Government
>spokesperson that has spoken publically has been able to describe them.
>(translator's note: The military has admitted that these types of bombs
>are less accurate than "live" bombs, which will increase the likelihood of
>accidents on Vieques.)
>17) Contrary to the public policy of the Government, the so-called
>"agreement" leaves in suspense the transferral "in the shortest possible
>time" of the Navy-occupied lands on Vieques, particularly all of the lands
>in the Eastern part of the Island and a portion of the Western part. Let
>us remember that the exercise will continue for not less than three
>additional years, within which no transfer of lands will take place in the
>Eastern part, and the transfer in the Western part will be limited and
>18) In spite of the fact that it speaks of May 1, 2003 as the date that
>the Navy will leave, the reality is that they have no intention of
>leaving. The Navy aspires to stay permanently on Vieques by way of a
>Referendum, and they don't have the slightest intention of abandoning the
>Western part of the Island, where the ROTHR Radar and the electronic
>installations of Mount Pirata are located.
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