2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: bieke@coqui.net
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2000 19:57:00 -0500 (EST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Vieques Digest for 12/12/00
Vieques Digest:

1. Call For Action on Vieques
2. Report from the Peace and Justice Camp


Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques
P.O. Box 1424 Vieques, Puerto Rico 00765
Tel. (787) 741-0716 Fax 741-0358 Email: biekeacoqui.net

9 December, 2000


The movement to achieve peace in Vieques has garnered wide national and
international support. This movement has existed for decades, but gained
widespread consensus following the death of David Sanes Rodriguez, who was
killed by a U.S. Navy bomb in Vieques on April 19, 1999.

At this moment we face a critical juncture: The victory of George W. Bush
as President of the United States, and Dick Cheney as Vice President, only
promises to make things even more difficult for the movement to get the
U.S. Navy to stop bombing and leave Vieques. That is why it is critical
that, in the next few weeks left in President Clinton's presidency, he
exercise his constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief and issue an
Executive Order ordering the immediate and permanent cease and desist of
the bombing and of all military activities in Vieques.

The time is now. In order to achieve this, the people of Vieques are
calling on all the politicians and leaders who have promised in the past to
intervene and intercede with the White House to ACT NOW.

The newly-elected representatives in Puerto Rico, including the new
Governor, Resident Commissioner, and Mayor of Vieques, as well as the
Presidents of the three political parties in the island and civic and
religious leaders, have recently called on President Clinton to issue that
Executive Order. However, we are asking the Democratic politicians, labor
and religious leaders and others, in the United States, to keep the
promises they made to the people of Vieques. We are asking them to act now
and, through a meeting or conference call with the President and the First
Lady, or through whatever means and channels they have, demand now that
President Clinton issue that Executive Order in the coming weeks.

Waiting to act on their promises until we have a Republican White House
won't do much good. We are demanding that they act now, that they call on
the First Lady of the United States to do all she can now to get the
bombing in Vieques to permanently stop, and that they call on President
Clinton to issue that Executive Order. We are calling on these influential
Democratic council members, labor leaders and religious leaders, including
people like Dennis Rivera and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, to use their
influence and their power to act NOW, under the Clinton White House. We are
confident that they will not let our people down.

Robert Rabin
Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques,
Vieques, Puerto Rico

Carlos Zenon
Fishermens' Association of Vieques
Vieques, Puerto Rico

(More signatures from representatives of other Vieques organizations are
being gathered)


Committee for the Rescue and Develoment of  Vieques
P.O. Box 1424 Vieques, Puerto Rico  00765
Tel. (787) 741-0716 Fax 741-0358 Email: biekeacoqui.net

Report from the Peace and Justice Camp

December 9, 2000

Warm greetings from the  Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques
(CRDV) at the Peace and Justice  Camp (PJC). In this post-election,
pre-Christmas period, we offer a brief  summary of recent actions taken by
the CRDV, efforts by our community and  individuals and solidarity groups
related to the Vieques cause in Puerto Rico and  abroad.

After the elections of November 7, work has continued  steadily. During
November, several members of the CRDV travelled to the US,  Europe and
Asia, on missions to spread the word about the situation of our  struggle.
We participated in the International Conference on Military  Contamination
in San Diego, California, where Vieques was one of the main topics.  We
were present at the International Conference on Depleted Uranium  Weapons
in Manchester, England; a young woman from Vieques represented the  CRDV at
the civil disobedience acts in Fort Benning, Georgia, at the entrance  to
the School of the Americas; delegates from our committee travelled to  Cuba
and Okinawa to present the Vieques case before other international forums.

Just before the elections, Americo Boshetti and his  group COLINDANCIAS,
offered a concert during the vigil on the 4th of  November, here at the
PJC. Americo and all the other musicians in solidarity with  Vieques
provide an inspiration that helps our community continue on this  arduous
struggle. THANKS, Americo, Roy, Tito, Zoraida, Noel, Danny, Tony  Mapeye
and so many other dignified representatives of the musical class of this
country that consistently say PRESENTE! here on the firing line.

The  CRDV is meeting to analize the implications of the elections and to
delineate  strategies within this new political context. We were very happy
by  the election by a super majority of Damaso Serrano (PPD) for mayor  in
Vieques and Sila for Governor. Both are committed with the struggle of  our
people. However, our responsibility as a community organization is  1)
maintain pressure against the Navy through protest and civil  desobedience
acts, continue with the process of international divulgation and  education
and organization in Vieques and 2) support the recent elected officials  in
their efforts vis a vis the Navy in Vieques, while pressuring them to  be
loyal to their commitment of working with the community organizations in
the struggle. We can not rest, thinking that the politicians are going to
Obviously, is preferable to count with the support of those whose task is
the  defense of the rights of our community.

The 3rd of November, two new  resources for our struggle were presented. In
San Juan, the new edition of the  book, "La batalla de Vieques" (The battle
of Vieques), of our comrade  Arturo Melendez, was presented. The same night
in Vieques, the new  documentary, Vieques =AD a full-length film, of the
puertorican filmmaker,  William Nemcik, was premiered. (Both resources can
be ordered from the CRDV  using our e-mail address.)

The vigil of November 11 was dedicated to the  memory of Angel Rodriguez
Cristobal, martyr of the Vieques struggle. Angel  Rodriguez Cristobal, from
Ciales, Puerto Rico, and member of the Socialist  League under the command
of Comandante Juan Antonio Corretjer, was arrested during  a civil
desobedience act in Camp Garcia on May 19, 1979. Around  twenty other
persons were arrested that day, including Ismal Guadalupe =AD  who was
comdemned to six months in the federal prison of Harrisburg,  Pennsylvania
- and Monsignor Antulio Parrilla (RIP). Angel was sent to the federal
prison in Tallahassee, Florida, were he was brutally murdered in his  cell
on November 11, 1979. This past November 11, -and every year on that  date
=AD we pay tribute to Angel with a protest against the military  presence an=
a special vigil at the PJC.

On November 14,  representatives of the Vieques community participated in
the public hearings about the Land  Use Plan that the Planning Board, with
the Navy, would want to aprove before  the change in government
administration. The Planning Board and the Navy coordinate their efforts to
allow the military continuos interference  on such vital issues as
socio-economic planning and how to support the Navy  in their plan to "hand
over" the land on the west part of the island without  doing the necessary
environmental restoration. With the help of the Technical  and Professional
Support Group for the Sustainable Development of  Vieques, we were able to
effectively participate in the hearings, leaving clear  the people's demand
for genuine community participation in the decision  making about the
future use of the lands to be rescued from the  Navy.

---From Texas arrived, in the middle of November, a delegation of Artists and
Activist in Solidarity with Vieques, that stayed some days at the  PJC
Lodging. The comrade Lourdes Perez (extraordinary singer) lead  the team
that included poets, flautist, chicano-texan activists and  native leaders
of that zone in the US. In addition to their participation at  the vigil of
November 25, the texans with Vieques recorded a series of  interviews with
fishermen, women, youth persons and leaders of the community organization
in struggle.

El Texas group was the most recent  to use the facilities of the PJC
lodgings. This multi-use structure was  built during the past months with
the objective of offering lodging to the  solidarity groups that visit us
from Isla Grande or abroad. Built under the  direction of artesan,
carpenter, singer-author and Guerrillero, Noel Hernandez,  the Lodging has
been used for a great number of meetings, workshops, and  to lodge dozens
of people in the past three months that have come to  participate in
protest and civil desobedience acts.


This past weekend,  the Mountain Festival was celebrated in Aibonito and
dedicated =AD as  so many activities throughout Puerto Rico during this past
year and a half  =AD to the struggle of the Vieques people. Comrade Myrta
Sanes (sister of  deceased David Sanes), represented the PJC during the

Recent threats

The Navy continues its public  relations plan design to improve its image
before the community and to  discredit the argument against its present
here. Through their spokespersons in the  community =AD ex-PNP candidate for
mayor, Juana Rivera Guishard and  a pair of other pro-Navy fanatics =AD the
military try to promote a  student exchange between Vieques and the school
at the Roosevelt Roads naval  base in Ceiba. Great indignation was produced
among viequense teachers, who  in great majority oppose the military
presence, when Mrs. Rivera Guishard,  High School teacher, took a group of
viequense students to Roosevelt Roads two  weeks ago so that the military
could take pictures with them in a ceremony  related to AIDS.

A generalized bad feeling exists now between teachers,  students, parents
and even school directors here because of the delivery of  five used pianos
by the Navy. The delivery of these pianos, without the  authorization of
the school directors, was coordinated by the Navy public relations
official, with last name Negron, the music teacher in Vieques, with  last
name Calderon, and a super pro-Navy teacher, with last name Rosa.  However,
it is worth to quote a recent press release from CRDV about this issue:

Spokepersons of CRDV denounce as hypocritical and  deceiving the "help" to
the schools, that forms part of the Navy's public  relations project to
gain the sympathy of the people. "One day they are distributing  pianos and
next day they are shooting with bombs. We are tired of this wolf a charity
dress. We denounce the position of the Governor, Pedro  Rossello and the
Mayor of Vieques, Manuela Santiago, of approving the continous  use of
Vieques for the Navy exercises," said Nilda Medina, of the Peace  and
Justice Camp.

The Navy continues, desperately, looking for a  way to change the position
of our community that rejects by absolute  majority, that they continue
their military maneuvers here. The Navy officers are so  arrogant that they
believe that with old pianos, trips to Roosevelt  Roads, a pair of
temporary jobs and with a lot of repression, they can erase  sixty years of
abuse and violations of the dignity of this  Nation.

To contradict the arguments and scientific information about the  great
dangers to the health that cause the military contamination, the Navy  has
solicited help from the Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and  Disease
Registry (ATSDR). According to the testimony of persons that have suffered
in  their own flesh the machinations and deceptions of this federal agency,
as  was the case of the Ex-Residents of Ciudad Cristiana (Humacao, Puerto
Rico)  and the histories of the interventions of the ATSDR in communities
in Puerto  Rico and the United States, ATSDR carry out incomplete studies,
manipulated  and distorted and, in almost all cases, have exonerated the
contaminating  industry or agency of being the originator of the
devastation of the  health of the community.

We already know what to expect of this agency  in Vieques. The Rear Admiral
Kevin Green has already announced publicly  that the ATSDR will exonerate
the Navy of being the cause of any health  problem that can affict the
Vieques community.

And to try to divide the  defenders of Vieques on Isla Grande from the
fighters on Isla Nena, the federal  district attorney's office invented a
strategy that gives a  privileged treatment to the viequenses with pending
legal cases due to civil desobedience acts. We quote from a press release
on this theme:

Lawyers of the viequenses arrested for protest acts in the  Navy's
restricted zone in Vieques, informed to their clients about an offer  to
file the viequense cases while the desobedients from Isla Granfe and from
abroad face the judicial processes with fines.

"The Attorney's  office and the Navy want to separate the viequenses from
the rest of the Puerto  Ricans. We are not going to allow that. We will not
accept any special and  different treatment that divide us from the Puerto
Ricans of the Isla Grande.  Vieques is Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico is
Vieques." So declared Ismael  Guadalupe, spokeperson of the Committee for
the Rescue and Development of  Vieques, main community organization of the
struggle for the desmilitarization of  the Isla Nena.

Unanimously, the Viequenses reaffirm their strong  solidarity with the
civil desobedients from the Isla Grande that have made sacrifices  in
defense of the cause of Vieques. Without exception, the arrested from
Vieques indicated their rejection to the offer to be acquitted  without the
people from the Isla Grande receiving the same  treatment.

"When we entered the restricted zone on August 7 with the comrades of  Isla
Grande, we entered together. When we leave this, we will leave all together
from  the same door. We will not negotiate neither with the Navy nor with
the  Federal Court. If they want to file the cases, it must be the cases of
all  the Puerto Ricans =AD from Isla Grande and the Puerto Ricans that live
in Vieques," expressed Norma Torres, that convoked the entrance of 31 women
from  Vieques and the Isla Grande the past month of August.

(FOTO) Part of the  fifty viequense civil desobedients that met at the
Peace and Justice  Lodging to analyze and then reject the divisory offer of
the federal  attorney's office.

Comrades. As you can see, we continue strong in the  struggle, with a high
sense of dignity and historic responsibility before this  and the next
generations. The people of Vieques do not surrender, do not give  up, and
we are not seated waiting a miracle from politicians from Puerto Rico  or
Washington. Our faith is deposited in our people =AD with our  women, young
persons, fishermen, teachers, grandparents, with our religious,  community
and labor leaders, with the good people in solidarity from  the Isla
Grande, in the United States and from many parts of the world. This
struggle will be won in the sea, in the streets, against the military
fence,  in the courts, in the jails, and with the supreme sacrifice if
needed.  We hope that our elected officials =AD and in particular those whos=
campaigs supported the immediate and permanent cease of military  activity
here =AD also walk with us and take their direction from the people.

(Foto) The grandson of Comrade Helen Navarron, of the CRDV, as so many
other viequense children, participate actively in the  vigils and other
activities in the PJC.

The Navy has in calendar for the months of January to  March a series of
exercises here with a battle group from the aircraft  carrier, USS
Enterprise. We also have a calendar of exercises =AD the  exercise of the
defense of the dignity, the exercise of the historic role of the heroic
people of giving example to the world of a struggle of courage  and
sacrifice in defense of the natural and inalienable right of living  in=

In struggle, in solidarity,

Robert Rabin, CRDV


Special Note: This report and recent press releases  were prepared on our
new laptop computer, donated to the CRDV por the wonderful people in
solidarity with Vieques from Vermont. MOUNTAINS OF THANKS TO  MANUEL O`NEIL

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