Category Archives: solidarity

Support the demands of Vidas Viequenses Valen

Support the demands of Vidas Viequenses Valen

The Struggle Continues in Vieques

to achieve the just demands of its people

For more than 60 years, about a trillion pounds of explosives and toxic substances were dropped on Vieques by the U.S. Navy, NATO and their allies. After decades of protest and a campaign of non-violent, civil disobedience, the US Navy was forced to close the base on May 1, 2003.

Although we celebrate the closing of the bombing range, the struggle continues because contamination and neglect continues to afflict our communities.  Vidas Viequenses Valen (VVV) was established by the people of Vieques in September of 2015 to continue the fight for justice.  We have organized several protests to remember the victims of cancer and other diseases caused by military toxics and to demand a safe and complete cleanup. In November 2015, a huge cross and a large sign reminding President Obama of his responsibility with Vieques was installed in front of the Navy’s former Camp Garcia.

Vidas Viequenses Valen continues to work through educational forums, peaceful protest, media publicity, meetings with public officials to achieve the “4 Ds“: the historic demands of Vieques:

Demilitarization – Demilitarization will not be complete until the remaining military installations, the ROTHR radar facility and the Mount Pirata telecommunications center, are closed.

Decontamination – We demand that the Navy assign an adequate budget to carry out a complete cleanup of the land and waters that they themselves contaminated with “conventional” arms (bombs, grenades, projectiles) and “non-conventional” arms (napalm, Agent Orange, depleted uranium).  We oppose the open detonation of unexploded ordnance (which is the cheapest form of removal) because it just continues poisoning us.  We demand the use of detonation chambers to protect our community from further contamination. We oppose the Navy’s use of signage and fencing on contaminated areas because it leaves the contamination in place. The Navy must promote genuine community participation in the process of decontamination, so that the cleanup will be thorough and effective.  Puerto Rican and Viequense companies must be granted the lucrative cleanup contracts which are now being given to U.S. companies.

Devolution (return of the lands) –  We demand the return of all of the land which is currently controlled by the federal government –  the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) – but first it must be restored to the condition in which it was found when it was expropriated in the 40’s.  Residents still have restricted access to about half of our 33,000 acres.

Development:   The type of development that is happening currently – which benefits primarily large scale projects and outside interests – gives little support to Viequenses. We support the Master Plan for Sustainable Development of Vieques which was approved by the Government of Puerto Rico in 2004.  This plan was prepared following the directives of the community, and promotes agriculture and fishing, eco-tourism, small guest houses, social interest housing, archaeology, and historic and environmental research, among other things.  Our people have been sickened by military toxics and suffer higher incidences of many diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The federal government must compensate our people for the health problems resulting from the Navy’s activities.  We need a modern hospital, early screening and adequate care for our illnesses.  It is vital to establish efficient maritime and land transportation systems that respond to our needs, especially our needs to access health services in the main island of PR.

For more info: Myrna Pagán (paganveda@aol.com) o Ismael Guadalupe (viequerito@gmail.com), Kathy Gannett: kbg00765@gmail.com, 787-565-2717, www.justiceforviequesnow.org

 

(3)

International Women’s Day Protest 2017

Women in Vieques (and their supporters) blocked the Main St. in front of the Post Office for an hour and a half on Wednesday, March 8, 2017,  as they participated with thousands of women around the world on International Women’s Day protests. Local women spoke out about the right to control their own bodies, education on gender issues, the need to reopen the Vieques maternity ward, need for specialists in Vieques to treat cancer and other diseases, need for a functioning ferry service, need for more well-paid jobs and pay equity, the need for healthy, organic food, among many other issues. Here is the video of our spirited picket.  See Spanish below.

COMUNICADO DE PRENSA

Para difusión inmediata

Paro Internacional de Mujeres en Vieques

Mujeres viequenses bloquean la calle principal de la capital de VIEQUES

8 marzo de 2017. Vieques, Puerto Rico: Hoy casi un centenar de personas se unieron al paro internacional de las Mujeres en Vieques, PR.   Mujeres viequenses bloquearon la calle principal de la capital Isabel Segunda de 11:00 AM a 12:30 PM para llamar atención a la situación grave de injusticias e incumplimiento del gobierno hacia las necesidades del pueblo de Vieques.

La cruzacalle que bloqueó la calle dijo “Mujeres en Contra de la Junta por la Salud de Vieques”.  Las consignas del día exigían la apertura de la sala de parto, trabajo digno y bien remunerado, mejoras en el sistema de transportación marítima, cero tolerancia a acoso sexual, entre otras.

Se hizo recolecta de cientos de firmas en una petición al Gobernador y a la Junta de Control Fiscal con los reclamos de la protesta.

Se pasó un micrófono entre las docenas de manifestantes del piquete ofreciendo la oportunidad a cada persona de expresar sus reclamos.

 

(10)

Celebramos el Día Internacional de Mujeres con un paro

(English below)

Este miércoles, 8 de marzo de 2017, en Vieques celebramos el Día Internacional de Mujeres con un paro de 1.5 horas de 11 AM – 12:30 PM  frente al correo en Isabel II.  Sea parte de mujeres en 30 países celebrando el miércoles.

La manifestación será pro derechos de mujeres, contra la austeridad que impone la Junta de Control Fiscal, y para atención a nuestra crisis de salud y transportación marítima y a la falta de trabajo digno y bien remunerado. 

Vestir de rojo. 

Hombres y mujeres bienvenidos. Aquí las palabras solidarias de Ismael Guadalupe: Me uno a esta convocatoria de la amiga Kathy. Hablar de la mujer es hablar de la madre,  de una abuela, de una hija, de una hermana o de la esposa: razones suficientes para decir presente en esta actividad. Estaré allí haciendo mío los reclamos por una sociedad más justa y equitativa. Ellas estuvieron bien activas en nuestra lucha contra la Marina , decenas fueron arrestadas y defendieron a Vieques contra el abusivo poder militar.

English: Come to celebrate International Women’s Day by participating in a one and a half hour work stoppage from 11 am to 12:30 PM in front of the Post Office this Wednesday. We will be part of dozens of countries with women striking on this day for women’s rights. In Vieques we will focus our demands to oppose the austerity of the Fiscal Control Board and to demand attention to our health crisis and ferry system crisis and for attention to a lack of dignified and well-paid jobs for women. Men welcome. WEAR RED as those around the world will be doing.

(3)

Cualquier intento de vender esos terrenos a los buitres especuladores … se enfrentará a un pueblo unido…/ Don’t sell our Refuge lands

English below:

Sobre los terrenos de Vieques mencionados en el borrador proyecto de ley para crear la Junta de Control Fiscal Federal para Puerto Rico:

Hace poco salió a relucir en la prensa del país que el borrador de ley para crear la Junta de Control Fiscal Federal sobre Puerto Rico incluye la idea de vender a intereses privados 3 mil cuerdas en la zona oeste de Vieques actualmente bajo el control del Servicio de Pesca y Vida Silvestre del Departamento del Interior.

Pedro Pierluisi, comisionado residente de Puerto Rico en Washington y un congresista en Utah, aparentemente, son los autores de esta sugerencia que concuerda con los pensamientos neoliberales de la privatización de todo.

Mis pensamientos:

Todos los terrenos que la Marina de Guerra de EU expropio en Vieques deben regresar al pueblo de Vieques bajo un Fideicomiso de Terrenos, con el fin de asegurar el control y uso comunitario de ese patrimonio.

Pesca y Vida Silvestre (DOI) fue impuesto en Vieques por el congreso de los EU, como manera de castigar al pueblo por haber sacado a su Marina. Aquí como en muchos otros lugares en EU, PVS/DOI entran en control de terrenos contaminados por las fuerzas armadas u otras agencias federales como estrategia para minimizar el nivel de responsabilidad de limpieza.

El pueblo viequense, con el apoyo de amplios sectores de la nación puertorriqueña y con enormes sacrificios, puso fin al uso militar de aproximadamente 23 mil cuerdas en la Isla Nena. Esos sacrificios fueron parte de una lucha histórica de décadas de pescadores, trabajadores, lideres religiosos, universitarios, mujeres y jóvenes para rescatar su isla y emprender un proyecto de desarrollo saludable para las próximas generaciones.

​​

Cualquier intento de vender esos terrenos a los buitres especuladores y mal llamados “desarrollistas” se enfrentará a un pueblo unido con una nueva oleada de militancia y desobediencia civil a la 1999-2003.

Es urgente una conversación seria entre los sectores viequenses y la gente solidaria del resto de la nación puertorriqueña – aquí y en la diáspora

​ ​

​ ​

para crear las estrategias necesarias para lograr la devolución de cada pulgada de territorio viequense al pueblo. Parte clave de este proceso será la creación de mecanismos – como un Fideicomiso Comunitario de Tierras – para garantizar el uso apropiado de estos recursos en beneficio del pueblo viequense ahora y en el futuro.

  1. Rabin, Vieques 7 de abril de 2016

 

ENGLISH 

​-

Google Translation from Spanish of article above:

 

Regarding the lands of Vieques mentioned in the draft bill to create the Federal Fiscal Control Board for Puerto Rico:

 

Recently it  came up in the national press that the draft  law to create the Board of Federal Fiscal Control over Puerto Rico includes the idea of ​​selling to private interests 3,000 acres in the western part of Vieques currently under the control of Service Fish and Wildlife (Department of the Interior).

 

Pedro Pierluisi, Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in Washington and a congressman in Utah, apparently, are the authors of this suggestion which is consistent with the neoliberal thoughts of privatization everything

 

My thoughts:

 

All lands thoughts  that the US Navy expropriated must be returned to the people of Vieques under a Land Trust, in order to ensure control and community use of that heritage.

 

Fish and Wildlife Service (DOI) was imposed on Vieques by the US Congress as a way to punish the people for having thrown out the Navy. Here as in many other places in the US, FWS / DOI enter contaminated land control by the military or other federal agencies as a strategy to minimize the level of responsibility of cleaning land.

 

The people of Vieques, with the support of broad sectors of the Puerto Rican nation and with enormous sacrifices, ended the military use of approximately 23 thousand acres in the Isla Nena. These sacrifices were part of a historical struggle of decades of fishermen, workers, religious leaders, academics, women and youth to rescue their island and undertake a project of healthy development for future generations.

 

Any attempt to sell the land to speculators and vultures for so-called “development” will face a united people with a new wave of activism and civil disobedience to 1999-2003.

 

It is urgent to have a serious conversation between viequenses sectors and caring people from the rest of the Puerto Rican nation – here and in the Diaspora – to create the necessary strategies to achieve the return of every inch of land to the people of Vieques. A key part of this process will be the creation of mechanisms – such as a Community Land Trust – to ensure the appropriate use of these resources for the benefit of the people of Vieques now and in the future.

 

  1. Rabin, Vieques April 7, 2016​

 

 

From Kathy – here are some news articles:

http://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/nota/zonasprotegidaslocalespodrianserentregadasalsectorprivado-2181664/

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/04/05/3766697/puerto-rico-land-sale-proposal/

http://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/nota/secretariadelinteriordeeeuuprometeimpulsarturismoenvieques-2181589/

http://refugeassociation.org/action/#/49  ( a draft letter to send to Comgress to oppose this bill)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/will-rogers/puerto-ricos-problems-shouldnt_b_9621110.html

 

(3)