Vieques No Longer Necessary
Intl Panel Of Doctors To Evaluate Vieques Studies
Cuba Backs Referendum
N.J. Opts Not To Join Lawsuit
Roosevelt Roads Could Be Closed
Pro-Navy Activists Optimistic
Retired Admiral Assures Vieques Not Necessary For Training
July 12, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - Retired Rear Adm. John J. Shanahan told the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. that Vieques is no longer necessary for training the U.S. Navy forces, according to published reports.
Shanahan indicated that the training on Vieques could be done somewhere else, and that most of the training exercises done in Vieques are obsolete.
The naval expert's expressions are contained in a declaration presented Tuesday before the U.S. District Court with the response of the Puerto Rico government to the motion filed by the U.S. Justice Department on behalf of the Navy, in which it asks the court to reject the Puerto Rico government's lawsuit based on the local Noise Prohibition Law.
International Panel Of Doctors To Evaluate Studies In Vieques
July 12, 2001
A group of doctors, scientists, and researchers will meet in Puerto Rico for two days to review the health studies performed among Vieques fishermen who allegedly revealed cardiac anomalies, La Fortaleza said in a prepared statement.
The panel was selected by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the Ponce School of Medicine.
The panel will prepare a report of their conclusions once they finished evaluating the studies' results. The report is expected to be ready in two months.
The panel will evaluate the design of the study, as well as the accuracy of the gathered information, the readings, and the measures of the echocardiograms, according to the prepared statement.
Health Secretary Johnny Rullan, Dr. Manuel Martinez Maldonado, president of the Ponce School of Medicine; and cardiologist Roberto Torres Aguiar will participate in the panel.
Cuba Backs Puerto Rico Vote On Navy's Vieques Bombing Range
July 12, 2001
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's National Assembly, endorsed the Vieques referendum asking residents if the U.S. Navy should immediately stop using the Vieques bombing range.
Alarcon said Cuba's communist government fully supported Puerto Ricans who want the Navy to "leave the island in peace."
Alarcon said the nonbinding referendum "won't have sufficient strength" to evict the Navy immediately, but will be "a demonstration of democracy" for all Latin Americans.
N.J. Opts Not To Join Vieques Lawsuit
By BOB GROVES, Staff Writer
July 11, 2001
New Jersey has declined for now to join nearby states in a lawsuit demanding that the Navy's bombing practice cease on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques because it allegedly harms residents health and violates noise laws.
"Ultimately, this case will affect every state with a military installation, base, training facility, or other activity generating noise pollution," the attorneys general of Connecticut and New York wrote in a recent "friends of the court" brief supporting Puerto Rico 's motion for a summary judgment.
The document was filed jointly in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., which is hearing Puerto Rico 's case against the Navy and the Department of Defense.
Puerto Ricos suit will test whether the federal government, in this case the Navy, is subject to local health laws.
Roosevelt Roads Could Be Closed If Military Exercises Stopped
July 11, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - The U.S. Navy Operation chief said he would recommend that the Roosevelt Roads Naval Base in Ceiba be closed if Vieques could no longer be used for military exercises starting May 2003.
Adm. Vernon Clark said that he would not recommend the Pentagon to continue investing between $200 million to $300 million annually to operate the military base if the Navy has to abandon Vieques.
"My position is that if that structure is not needed for training, my recommendation would be not to support that kind of investment," Clark said in a U.S. Senate public hearing.
Pro-Navy Activists Optimistic On Prevailing In Local Referendum
July 11, 2001
SAN JUAN (AP) - In the middle of an active door-to-door campaign, the Vieques residents who support the permanency of the U.S. Navy on the island municipality are optimistic on prevailing in the local referendum to be held July 29.
However, Luis Sanchez, a member of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) in Vieques, said he felt disappointed by the Vieques PDP leadership because of their support of the exit of the Navy.
According to Sanchez, the PDP leadership's position "betrays" PDP founder Luis Muñoz Marin's stance, since he approved and defended the Navy's permanency on the island municipality.
"Calderon has not honored the permanent union with the United States that former Gov. Muñoz Marin preached," said the leader, while preparing the "pro-Navy Viequenses" campaign committee.
The group, which defends the third column in the referendum, has former PDP Mayor Carlos Castano as one of their most active members.
Sanchez assured that among the population, a new awakening in favor of the Navy's permanency has been produced because of the "alliance with nationalist activists and because the PDP has completely diverted from its roots."
Sanchez pointed out that as the date of the referendum approaches, the support for the Navy permanency increases.
Sanchez also announced that PDP Rep. Jorge de Castro Font and New Progressive Party (NPP) Sen. Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer will participate in an activity in favor of the Navy to take place on Monte Santo, Friday night.