Para ver este documento
en español, oprima aquí.
REUTERS ENGLISH NEWS SERVICE
Puerto Rico, Navy on Vieques "Collision"
July 21, 1999
Copyright © 1999 REUTERS LIMITED. All Rights Reserved.
WASHINGTON, July 20 (Reuters) - Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Rossello
said on Tuesday the American commonwealth was on a "collision
course" with the U.S. Navy over the military's use of a small
island off its shores for live-fire training.
Rossello, visiting Washington to meet with Clinton administration
officials and members of Congress, said at a briefing for reporters
that the dispute over Vieques island threatened to become "dangerous."
"Our position in Puerto Rico is on a collision course
with the Navy's position," Rossello said. "The positions
are not resolvable at this time."
Vieques , a 33,000-acre (13,200-hectare) island off Puerto
Rico's eastern shore, has about 9,400 residents. Two-thirds of
the island is owned by the Navy and has been used for gunnery
practice and mock beach assaults by U.S. Marines for the past
In April, a private security guard employed by the Navy was
killed by stray shells in an incident that prompted widespread
On July 4, about 50,000 people demonstrated outside the Roosevelt
Roads Naval Base in Ceiba to demand an end to the shelling of
Vieques . Last weekend in the Puerto Rico capital, San Juan, about
50 protesters clashed [clashed, had a confrontation] with riot
police while the USS Yorktown was participating in a local festival.
President Bill Clinton has appointed a commission to study
the possibility of ending the use of Vieques as a target range.
Earlier this month, a commission formed by Rossello said the
Navy's use of Vieques harmed the island's environment, posed health
risks to its residents and violated their civil and human rights.
Rossello said if Clinton did not order a halt to Navy shelling
on Vieques soon, he may sue on behalf of the island's residents.
"In the end, the decision will be the president's,"
"Unless this (dispute) is solved to the benefit of the
United States citizens in Vieques ... this will be an unresolved
and potentially dangerous problem," he said.
Last Thursday, Navy Secretary Richard Danzig said live-fire
training at Vieques was essential to U.S. national security.
Navy officials said a review of 18 sites from the Caribbean
to Maine found Vieques to be the only one offering the opportunity
for comprehensive training, from sea-launched aircraft capable
of flying over the target zone to beaches that allow training
for Marine landings.