2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 9 Oct 2003 14:08:10 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Residents say Vieques not a priority for the government
Puerto Rico
Residents say Vieques not a priority for the government
By Joanisabel Gonzalez-Velazquez
Thursday, October 9th, 2003.

Five months after the U.S. Navy ended six decades of military maneuvers
in Vieques, the island’s residents believe that their environmental,
housing, health, and development problems are not a priority for Gov.
Sila Calderon’s administration.

“There are no concrete efforts made by the government [to solve the
island’s problems],” Vieques leader Ismael Guadalupe said.

“The government has the people of Vieques attending meetings, but I will
say those are structured meetings and they have not given concrete
solutions to the health, environmental, and development issues we face,”
added Vieques activist Nilsa Medina.

She explained that government agencies—like the Health Department, the
Environmental Quality Board, and the Department of Natural &
Environmental Resources—meet with Vieques residents almost weekly, but
no efforts are made to solve the residents’ main problems.

Guadalupe and a group of civic and union leaders held a press conference
Wednesday at the Bar Association’s headquarters in Miramar, where they
said that in the case of the U.S. Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in
Ceiba, which will cease operations in six months, the government has
prepared a redevelopment plan in a matter of months, while in the case
of Vieques, no plan has been seen.

As a result, the civic organizations that led the opposition against
military exercises on Isla Nena will hold the second March for Peace at
the Peace and Justice Camp (formerly known as Camp Garcia) in Vieques on
Sunday. Marchers will urge the local and federal governments to clean up
contaminated areas and make tangible efforts to solve residents’

Guadalupe, from the Comite Pro Rescate y Desarrollo de Vieques, said the
march will also serve as a vehicle to demand the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service (FWS) to transfer the land under its custody to the people of

Guadalupe said the FWS, the federal agency to which the Navy transferred
nearly 8,000 acres it owned and used for military purposes, is a
“different enemy” of the Vieques people because it represents itself as
a friend of the community.

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