14 February, 2002   Viequenses denounce military detonations

The Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques (CRDV) denounced military exercises the US Navy carries out in the Eastern part of this island municipality the past three days.  At midday on Wednesday, 13 February, residents of the Fort area, close to Vieques Public Square, heard a strong detonation from the bombing area inside Camp García.  The Viequenses accused the Navy of carrying out “open detonation” practices for which they have no permits from environmental agencies neither in Puerto Rico nor at the federal level.  

Last week the Navy placed at the Post Office and at other public places a Notice to fishermen and other operators of boats that navegate the coastal waters of Vieques, indicating the US Navy will be carrying out dangerous naval activities that present a danger for people, equipment and/or boats.  The document includes a calendar and schedule that covers the 11th to the 17th of February and informs the hours of operations will be from noon to 5 PM on the days mentioned.
Historically, this action takes place in preparation for upcoming maneuvers, prompting the Committee for the Rescue of Vieques to confirm its preparations for the next round of civil disobedience actions.

Jorge Fernández Porto, environmental advisor to the Puerto Rican Independence Party and to the CRDV, said that “…from the environmental perspective, each detonation in this zone forces up into the atmosphere the ‘poison soup’ that everyone knows gets into the air the people of Vieques breath.”  The soup Fernández referes to is made up of the military toxics accumulated on the Eastern end of Vieques as a result of sixty years of bombing and experimentation with a wide variety of conventional weapons and others, like uranium.