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Navy Pull-Out Expected To Severely Hurt The Economy… Good Riddance … Puerto Rico To Pay

Navy Pull-Out Expected To Severely Hurt The Economy… Good Riddance … Puerto Rico To Pay


February 10, 2003
Copyright © 2003 Financial Times Limited - All rights reserved.

The US navy withdraw[al] from the islet of Vieques , a ward of Puerto Rico in a move that is expected to severely hurt the economy of the US possession in the north-east Caribbean.

Protesters on Vieques , supported by Puerto Rico 's government, have been demanding an end to the military exercises since an errant bomb killed a civilian navy employee three years ago.

The US Navy completed its final round of targeting exercises last weekend, and said it would complete its withdrawal from the islet by May, as promised by George W. Bush, US president.

The US navy's decision will please Sila Calderon, Puerto Rico 's governor, who took office just over two years ago demanding that the Navy end the war games and leave the islet. "We are very happy that finally the people of Vieques will have peace," said Mrs Calderon. "It is a victory for everyone."

Several protesters have been arrested over the past three years during protests on Vieques , which has 9,500 inhabitants and is located eight miles off Puerto Rico 's east coast. The US Navy owns almost two-thirds of Vieques .

US officials say that the Vieques pull-out will make redundant some facilities at the 8,612-acre Roosevelt Roads naval station on the eastern tip of Puerto Rico . Operations are also being reduced at other military facilities in Puerto Rico .

Reduced operations on Roosevelt Roads is expected to cost the island about $300m per year.

However, local officials and business leaders claim that the impact could be as much as twice this, with cutbacks at other military installations and fewer contracts to local suppliers.

Amid reports that Roosevelt Roads may be shut down, Mrs Calderon said she would try to ensure that it is kept open.

The furor caused by the Vieques exercises has also reignited debate on a controversial issue that has confronted Puerto Ricans in recent years. The island's government could not order the US Navy to stop the war games.

Puerto Rico has a "commonwealth" relationship with the US. Puerto Ricans vote in presidential primary elections, but not in US general elections. They have one non-voting representative in Washington and do not pay federal taxes.

Puerto Rico has control over its internal affairs but the US is responsible for foreign relations, commerce and immigration.

In referenda in 1967, 1993 and 1998, Puerto Ricans voted to keep the island's commonwealth status, eschewing becoming a state of the union, or political independence.

Good Riddance To Puerto Rico

February 13, 2003
Copyright © 2003 PUERTO RICO HERALD. All rights reserved.

To: Puerto Rico Herald

Once again the Puerto Ricans are playing that old song: "Too Little, Too Late".

Th envitable closing of Roosevelt Roads is coming in September 30 of this year (FY 03) and now the Puerto Ricans are screaming, shouting, protesting and defending the closure.

"El desmanatelamiento de este vital componente es el primer paso para justificar posteriormente el cierre de Roosevelt Roads y solo puede entenderse como un acto de venganza en contra de Puerto Rico por el reclamo de los puertorriquenos en favor del cese de las bombardeos en la Isla de Vieques", comento de Ana Angelet of the Federacion Americana de Empleados de Gobierono Federal.

"The imminent closing of Roosevelt Roads of this vital component in its lst phase is the direct result as an act of vengeance against the Island of Puerto Rico for their fight against the bombing range on the Island of Vieques", commented Ana Angelet of the American Federation of Federal Employees.

I wonder where was the American Federation of Federal Employees during the last 26 months while 75% of the Puerto Ricans were protesting the Navy's presence in Vieques and Puerto Rico.

I wonder where this Federation was during the massive protest marches against the United States Military and all the civil disobedient acts and incidents of vandelism and thugery aginst the Military in Vieques & Puerto Rico.

I wonder where this Federation and the PNP Statehood Party was during these past 26 months in not lifting one finger against these protests? Silence is just as guilty as being an accomplice to the fact.

I wonder where ther PNP and this Federation was when that Angel Diaz, Statehooder was attacked and injured by that mob in Vieques while the Police of Puerto Rico stood calmly by like nothing was happening.

Now, the screaming, the protests, the shouting, the marches, the uncertain future and a complete devastation of the economy of Eastern Puerto Rico is forthcoming.

You got exactly what you wanted Puerto Rico. Congratulations on your great victory.

Mark Lauer
Carolina, PR 00983


Puerto Rico To Pay

February 19, 2003
Copyright © 2003 The Harrisburg Patriot. All rights reserved.

Puerto Rico must be willing to pay the price for closing the Vieques Range. It is only right that the jobs with the Navy go elsewhere. Other places will welcome the jobs and provide the facilities so the Navy can train to protect our nation. It has happened before.

The U. S. Territory of Guam wanted the military off the island. Guam, like Puerto Rico , mistreated Navy personnel. Now Guam is poor with corruption and mismanagement.

Guam wants more military organizations back since the decline of tourism for the last 10 years. Some on Guam have the solution of getting Uncle Sam to pay for deteriorating infrastructure and schools that are in utter disrepair due to misdirected priorities. The economy and the perception of safety for air travel along with policies of local government will determine success.

Puerto Rico may or may not do better than Guam has. Hopefully Puerto Rico will.


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