Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Navy To Resume Exercises on Vieques

Expand Messages
  • nativelit@earthlink.net
    http://www.newsday.com/ap/international/ap903.htm Navy To Resume Exercises on Vieques SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- The U.S. Navy has notified the Puerto Rican
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 13, 2001
      http://www.newsday.com/ap/international/ap903.htm

      Navy To Resume Exercises on Vieques

      SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- The U.S. Navy has
      notified the Puerto Rican government that it plans to
      resume training exercises on Vieques soon, drawing
      criticism from the U.S. territory's governor and
      others who want the Navy to stop using the island for
      bombing practice.
      Puerto Rico Gov. Sila Calderon called the Navy's
      announcement ''offensive and unacceptable,'' saying
      that it was poorly timed in the week before Easter and
      that the decision to resume the exercises ''ignores in
      a crass and insensitive way the questions of health
      that are under consideration.''
      Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld ordered the Navy
      to call off planned training last month, saying he was
      trying to find a permanent solution to the dispute
      over the exercises on Vieques, a small island off
      Puerto Rico's eastern coast with 9,400 residents,
      But that was a temporary decision, and Puerto Rico's
      secretary of state received a letter from the Navy on
      Thursday saying it would hold exercises on Vieques as
      early as April 27. The Navy, which is required to
      notify Puerto Rico 15 days before exercises begin,
      said the training will last about six days.
      The Navy owns two-thirds of Vieques and has been
      conducting training exercises there for six decades.
      Its bombing range covers 900 acres on the island's
      eastern tip -- less than 3 percent of its territory.
      Public opposition to the bombing grew in Puerto Rico
      after an errant bomb killed a civilian guard on the
      bombing range in April 1999. Protesters invaded the
      range, preventing exercises for a year until U.S.
      Marshals forcibly removed them last May.
      Since then, the Navy has been using only inert
      ammunition and has scaled back the frequency of
      training, but it says live-fire exercises on the
      island provide vital training for U.S. troops. The
      Navy's letter said only non-explosive ordnance will be
      used in the upcoming exercise on the island's eastern
      tip.
      Calderon, who was sworn in as Puerto Rico's governor
      in January, has urged the Navy to put an end to the
      training on Vieques, citing health concerns. The Navy
      has insisted there is no scientific evidence linking
      the bombing to any health problems.
      Vieques residents are to decide in a referendum on
      Nov. 6 whether they want the Navy to leave the island
      in 2003 or to remain and pay $50 million to be used
      for economic development, housing and infrastructure.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.