Vieques 10 Years Later

22 Apr

From: David Swanson [mailto:davidcnswanson@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, April 22, 2013 3:35 PM
To: David Swanson
Subject: Vieques 10 Years Later

Here’s a press release you can modify and send to press:

Vieques Marks 10 Years Since Closing Bombing Range

For Immediate Release, April 22, 2012

<http://rootsaction.orghttp://rootsaction.org

RootsAction contacts: David Swanson <mailto:david@davidswanson.org>
david@davidswanson.org 202-329-7847. <tel:202-329-7847>

Additional contacts: Helen Jaccard, Veterans For Peace, Chair, Environmental
Cost of War and Militarism Working Group, <mailto:Helen.Jaccard@gmail.com>
Helen.Jaccard@gmail.com <mailto:206-992-6364206-992-6364; Kathy Gannett,
Vieques Vive, La Lucha Continua, <mailto:kbg00765@gmail.com>
kbg00765@gmail.com 787-565-2717; Carmen Valencia, Alianza de Mujeres
Viequenses, 787-444-9351.

May 1st is the 10th anniversary of the closing of the U.S. Navy bombing
range in Vieques, Puerto Rico. For six decades prior to 2003, approximately
one trillion pounds of explosives were dropped on Vieques by the U.S.
military, NATO, and other military allies in practice exercises.

After decades of protest and a campaign of non-violent civil resistance that
began in 1999 and included the arrests of over 1,500 people, the Navy was
forced to close the bombing range on May 1, 2003. Peace-loving people had
defeated the most powerful military force in history without firing a single
shot.

Presidential candidate Barack Obama wrote to the Governor of Puerto Rico in
2008: “We will closely monitor the health of the people of Vieques and
promote appropriate remedies to health conditions caused by military
activities conducted by the U.S. Navy on Vieques.”

But that promise remains unfulfilled. The Navy’s presence and the
environmental disaster it created continue to afflict Vieques. The arsenic,
lead, mercury, cadmium, and aluminum in the bombs are also found in hair
samples of 80% of the people living on Vieques, who suffer at far higher
rates than on the main island from cancer (30% higher than Puerto Rico),
cirrhosis of the liver, kidney failure, hypertension (381%), diabetes (41%),
birth defects, stillbirths, and miscarriages.

A broad coalition of organizations in Vieques, in the rest of Puerto Rico,
and in the United States has formed to petition the Pentagon, Congress, and
the President, gathering signatures online,
http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=7743 , and
advancing demands for:

“Health Care — Provide a modern hospital with cancer treatment facilities,
early screening and timely treatment for all diseases. Create a research
facility to determine the relationship between military toxins and health.
Provide just compensation to people suffering poor health as a result of the
Navy’s activities.

“Cleanup — Fund a complete, rapid cleanup of the land and surrounding
waters, still littered by thousands of bombs, grenades, napalm, Agent
Orange, depleted uranium and other explosives left by the Navy. Cease the
ongoing open detonation of unexploded ordnance. Guarantee community
participation in the cleanup; train Viequenses as managers, administrators,
and scientists, and foster Viequense companies to do the work.

“Sustainable Development — Support the Master Plan for Sustainable
Development of Vieques which promotes agriculture, fishing, eco-tourism,
small guest houses, housing, collective transportation, archaeology, and
historic and environmental research, among other things.

“Demilitarization and Return of the Land — Close the remaining military
installations still occupying 200 acres of Vieques. Return to the people of
Vieques all land still under the control of the U.S. Navy and the federal
government.”

RootsAction.org is an online initiative dedicated to galvanizing Americans
who are committed to economic fairness, equal rights, civil liberties,
environmental protection — and defunding endless wars.
http://rootsaction.org

David Swanson’s books include “War Is A Lie <http://warisalie.org/> .” He
blogs at http://davidswanson.org <http://davidswanson.org/> and
http://warisacrime.org <http://warisacrime.org/> and works for
http://rootsaction.org <http://rootsaction.org/> . He hosts Talk Nation
Radio <http://davidswanson.org/taxonomy/term/41> . Follow him on Twitter:
@davidcnswanson <http://twitter.com/davidcnswanson> and FaceBook
<http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Swanson/297768373319> .
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