7 Held For Throwing Rocks
Encarnacion: Governor Fooled Us
Paralitici Wants End To Police Intervention In Vieques
P.R. Defeats Brazil, 91 84
Calderon Says Exercises Violate Human Rights
Rodriguez Keeps Navy Recommendations Secret
4 Vieques Demonstrators Detained For Trespassing
7 Held For Throwing Rocks
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 8, 2002
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Police detained seven people on Vieques in a rock-throwing incident near U.S. Navy land at the end of a first week of bombing exercises, authorities said.
One of the people detained late Saturday is a brother of leading pro-statehood politician Carlos Pesquera, said Col. Cesar Gracia, the police official in charge on Vieques.
No charges had been filed.
Gracia said two police officers were slightly injured in the clash.
Navy security officers fired tear gas at demonstrators who were allegedly throwing rocks over a Navy fence line, he said.
The detentions came at the end of a first week of bombing exercises, which began Sept. 3 and are expected to last some three weeks. No exercises were scheduled for Sunday.
President Bush has promised the Navy will withdraw from Vieques by May 2003, but as the United States moves closer to a conflict with Iraq, there are doubts whether the Navy departure will be stalled.
The latest exercises in the U.S. territory -- the third since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- involve 10 ships, two attack submarines and some 80 planes in the USS Harry S. Truman Battle Group.
The military has used the bombing range for more than six decades. Opposition grew when a civilian guard was killed by two bombs dropped off-target in 1999. Since then, only inert bombs have been used.
Opponents say the exercises harm the environment and health of Vieques' 9,100 residents. The Navy denies the claim.
Hundreds of people have tried to thwart the exercises by invading the range and have been arrested, jailed and fined.
Protests have weakened since Sept. 11, with activists saying they fear stiffer jail sentences and fines.
Encarnacion: Viequenses Allowed Themselves To Be Fooled
September 8, 2002
VIEQUES (AP) - Vieques teacher Albal Encarnacion said during the weekend that her neighbors let themselves be fooled by Gov. Sila Calderon when they believed in her promise that she would try to oust the U.S. Navy before May 2003.
"I saw street signs that read 'Sila traitor.' I believe Sila didn't betray Vieques. I believe that we fooled ourselves," said Encarnacion when reacting to the governor's visit on Friday.
She also criticized the governor for not insisting that U.S. President George W. Bush put in writing his promise to withdraw the military from Vieques by 2003.
Encarnacion added that the governor seems to have lost hope that the Navy will leave the island before that date.
"I believe the governor is just praying everyday waiting for what will happen in 2003," Encarnacion said.
Paralitici Asks To Stop Police Intervention In Vieques
September 8, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) - Vieques activist Jose Paralitici urged Gov. Sila Calderon to stop local police from interfering with anti-U.S. Navy demonstrator in Vieques.
He held Calderon responsible for any incident that may occur during police interventions with protesters.
Paralitici said it is unusual for local police to intervene with demonstrators who peacefully gather in front of Camp Garcia's fence.
"The police are in front of the camps, which is something they've never done before. They are entering the camps to intervene with protesters, gathering up activists' information and giving it to the federal authorities. This is something that former Gov. Pedro Rossello's government never did," Paralitici said.
The college professor, who is one of the activists who showed more support for Calderon's promises, said the situation needs a more direct approach from the governor.
Puerto Rico Defeats Brazil, 91 - 84
September 7, 2002
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Daniel Santiago had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Raymond Dalmau scored 18 points to lead Puerto Rico to a 91-84 victory over Brazil in the seventh-place game Saturday night.
The two ignited a 16-5 fourth-quarter spurt that led Puerto Rico past the Brazilians and to its best finish at the World Championships since 1994.
The Puerto Ricans have never finished higher than fourth in the tournament and ended this showing by waving to their few hundred fans inside Conseco Fieldhouse.
Brazil, which also expected to contend for a medal, lost its fifth straight game after opening the 16-team tournament with four straight wins. It was Brazil's best finish since 1990.
Brazil used an 8-2 run to take a 69-65 lead with 8:05 to go, but a basket by Santiago and a coast-to-coast layup by Dalamu tied the score. Elias Ayuso followed that with a 3-pointer, Dalmau a three-point play and Ayuso another 3-pointer to make give Puerto Rico a 78-72 lead.
Calderon Visits Vieques, Says Navy Exercises Violate Human Rights
September 7, 2002
VIEQUES (AP) Gov. Sila Calderon arrived Friday by helicopter at the Susana Centeno Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Vieques to announce the beginning of the smart health card program in the municipality.
Before her arrival, municipal employees erased a huge sign posted in the road in front of the health center that read: "Sila traidora, vende patria" [Sila traitor, betraying the homeland].
Near the entrance to the health center, three protesters carried a sign that read: "Sí a Biequé, no U.S. Navy, no Pereira, no monigotes" [Yes to Vieques, no to the U.S. Navy, no Pereira, no rag dolls].
"I know Im here at a difficult moment, when the military maneuvers that for more than 60 years have violated human rights, peace, and the health of the Vieques residents are being conducted. I reiterate my complete opposition to those exercises," the governor said as she started her press conference.
Calderon is visiting Vieques as the Navy is conducting military maneuvers and already nine anti-Navy activists have been arrested on military land and another three in the civilian area.
The governor also visited the Villa Borinquen area in the Monte Carmelo sector, where groups opposed to the military presence held a protest to attract her attention.
The protesters, led by Miguel Reyes, arrived when the governor had already left the area with signs that read: "Take the police out of Vieques now," among other requests.
Vieques anti-Navy groups accuse Calderon of abandoning her campaign promise to insist on the immediate and permanent ceasing of bombing in Vieques and the ousting of the military corps before 2003. On Friday, the groups requested a written commitment from the U.S. president.
The governor responded by saying that she "does not think there is anyone in Puerto Rico who doubts how energetic Sila Calderon can be. I think there is no doubt about that, and Puerto Rico should be confident that I have given all my efforts, all my energy, and all my will to fight for this."
Calderon acknowledged, however, that she has not achieved the results her administration and the people of Puerto Rico expected.
"You dont always obtain the results that you want, but there cannot be any doubt about the energy, the love, and the determination I have given to this claim before the U.S. president," Calderon said.
Calderon, who supports the ceasing of the bombing, has recognized that her administration cannot do anything to halt the military maneuvers and said she only awaits May 2003, "so all this can end."
Justice To Reserve Agencys Recommendations To Navy
September 6, 2002
SAN JUAN (AP) Justice Secretary Anabelle Rodriguez reiterated Friday that she will reserve the 12 recommendations that her agency made to the U.S. Navy in an attempt to alleviate the impact of the war practices in Vieques.
However, Rodriguez said the Navy has ignored these recommendations during the new round of military exercises that started Tuesday.
After attributing her refusal to reveal the recommendations because the dialogue process is continuing, she said the Vieques case has been "one of the most difficult and complex matters" that her department has had to battle with in the past 12 months.
Rodriguez called a last-minute press conference Friday to offer an updated report on the steps conducted by the Justice Department during the last year in respect of the island municipality.
Rodriguezs press conference was cited after Gov. Sila Calderon said in Vieques that the Justice secretary would offer all the information possible in respect of the military use of the small island.
Four Demonstrators Detained For Trespassing In Vieques
September 6, 2002
VIEQUES (AP) - U.S. Navy security officers detained four demonstrators who broke through a fence onto military property Friday to protest bombing exercises on Vieques.
The latest arrests brought to nine the number detained for trespassing during the round of training that began Tuesday.
Gov. Sila Calderon, an opponent of the exercises, was visiting Vieques later in the day. Some activists protested her visit, saying she hasn't been strident enough in her opposition.
The latest training has drawn only small groups of protesters, but sporadic confrontations have flared along the Navy's fences. On Thursday night, the Navy said servicemen fired tear gas at protesters who were throwing stones.
"They're only using the tear gas when they're concerned for their safety," Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Kim Dixon said. "We've been fortunate that no one has been harmed yet."
Police also detained three demonstrators Thursday for allegedly cutting through Navy fences.
President George W. Bush has promised the Navy will withdraw from Vieques by May 2003, but as the United States moves closer to a conflict with Iraq, there are doubts whether the Navy departure will hold.
At least 27 members of Congress have urged Bush to issue an executive order guaranteeing the Navy's departure.
Calderon has said her government has little choice but to wait for next May. But protest leader Ismael Guadalupe said: "We would like to hear that she has obtained the executive order from Bush."
A message painted on one Vieques road awaited the governor, proclaiming: "Sila traitor."
On Friday morning, two men and two women crossed through a cut section of fence onto Navy lands. They were quickly detained by security officers, who bound their hands with plastic handcuffs.
"We are doing it for justice, human rights, and the victims of cancer," said protester Cristina Corrada, a 38-year-old anthropologist.
The four detained included one Methodist minister, the Rev. Esdras Rodriguez Diaz.
Another demonstrator, 70-year-old Aida Matos Nieves, cut her left forearm as she stepped through the torn fence. She was treated by Navy medical workers, Dixon said. The four were to be charged with trespassing.
Meanwhile, the Navy went ahead with the fourth straight day of training on Vieques. The destroyer USS Deyo and guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook were to fire 5-inch inert shells, and fighter jets were to drop non-explosive training bombs.
The latest exercises in the U.S. territory - the third since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks - involve 10 ships, two attack submarines and some 80 planes in the USS Harry S. Truman Battle Group.