2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 19 Nov 2003 18:22:32 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Viequense assert their presence in meeting with federales agencies
Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques
PO Box 1424          Vieques, Puerto Rico  00765
Tel.  787 741-0716   Fax  741-0358   E mail:

17 November, 2003
Press Release

Viequense assert  their presence in meeting with federales agencies

Yesterday afternoon, around fifty viequenses held a protest in front of
the office of the Federal Service of Fish and Wildlife (FWS) in Vieques
and later entered the office to participate in a meeting with
representatives of the Navy, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), CH2MHILL - company contracted by the Navy to do prelimary studies
on the contamination issues - and community members of the Technical
Review Committee (TRC).  The Committee for the Rescue and Development of
Vieques (CRDV) organized the activity to force the Navy and other
government agencies to allow a more complete community participation in
these meetings.

"We are here to support the community members on the TRC and demand
genuine participation for our people in these conversations about
decontamination.  It is our duty to denounce the genocide committed by
the Navy; but it's also our responsability to participate in all the
processes related to the clean up of our lands."  That was the message
of community spokespersons at the meeting that lasted from 5 to 9 PM.

Member of the community told of suffering by their families due to
illnesses caused by military toxics.  Others spoke of mutations in
animales and crustaceans (goats with three eyes, lobsters with four
antenae, crabs with three claws...) and many mentioned the total lack of
trust the community has toward the Navy and other federal agencies.  One
woman recommended that TRC meetings from now on be open to the public
and asked who would make that decision.  A member of the CRDV answered,
in support of the proposal, that the community already decided!  In
additon to CRDV members, other participants included people from the
Vieques Women's Alliance, Vieques Veterans for Peace, fishermen and
scientific advisors who came at the request of the CRDV to help
"decipher" the language and other technical aspects of the process.

Among the demands presented are the hiring independent Puerto Rican
scientists - with federal or Puerto Rico government funds - trusted by
our people; simultaneous translation; wide distribution of minutes and
other documents; hold meetings in more appropiate place.

CRDV members stated that our people finished with the bombing and now we
will focus energies and skills learned in that struggle to force the
Navy and government agencies to assign all monies necessary to do a
profound and total clean up of Vieques.

Last night the federal agencies - Navy, FWS and the EPA - and the Puerto
Rican government witnessed an important step in the reactivation and
mobilization of our community in defense of our territorial patrimony,
the environment and health of our people.  They know that from now on
there will be a continuous increase in citizen participation, capacity
building and activism related to this life and death topic.

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