16 March, 2002     Viequenses denounce resumption of bombing will cause more cancer  related deaths

The Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques (CRDV)   denounced plans by the Navy to resume bombing here in April as the  continuation of a genocidal policy against the people of Vieques that  began in the 1940's.  Spokespersons for the community group mentioned  that with live or `inert' bombs, the use of the bombing range on the  East end of Vieques will disperse into the air dangerous toxics  accumulated there during sixty years of bombing.  They asserted that  the increase in toxic particulates in the environment, that always  occurs with military exercises, will produce more cancer victims in  Vieques.

The Navy admitted in May of 1999 they had fired uranium projectiles  on Vieques.  The uranium oxide produced on impact of these  projectiles can travel more than tweny miles in the wind – the  civilian population lives less than 10 miles downwind from the  bombing zone.  A study by Viequense chemical engineer and ex  artillery officer, Rafael Cruz Pérez, demonstrates how heavy metals  and other cancer causing elements are transported by wind currents to  the civilian area.   In past weeks, no less than half a dozen  Viequenses have died from different types of cancer, sickness related  to environmental contamination.

"We will do everything humanly possible, using peacefull civil  disobedience, to defend the safety of our people," said Nilda Medina,  of the CRDV.  "If the government cannot protect us from this threat  to the health of our children, our older folks and all Viequenses, we  have no alternative but to defend ourselves", added Medina.