Para ver este documento
en español, oprima aquí.
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Puerto Ricans, Vieques, Civil Rights And Patriotism
ALCIDES ORTIZ, Executive
Director and General Counsel
Puerto Rico Federal Affairs
Administration - Washington
November 1, 1999
Copyright © 1999 THE WASHINGTON TIMES. All Rights Reserved.
The Washington Times editorial "Puerto Rico 's NIMBY problem"
(Oct. 25) accuses Gov. Pedro Rossello of Puerto Rico of demonstrating
"appalling callousness and lack of patriotism" because
of his opposition to the continued use of Vieques Island by the
Navy for live bombing exercises.
Throughout the history of our nation, groups of Americans have
sought to exercise their constitutional right to petition their
government for the redress of a grievance. These Americans were
not accused of being unpatriotic. Indeed, many are honored for
their contribution to our nation's civil rights. But today, the
people of Puerto Rico, who are exercising their basic constitutional
rights, are being called unpatriotic for doing so.
There are legitimate issues of concern on both sides of the
Vieques issue. Different people can look at the facts in this
issue and come to an honorable disagreement on how it should be
solved. But it is insulting to the more than 200,000 Puerto Ricans
who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States to say
that Puerto Ricans who disagree with the Navy are unpatriotic.
More than 1,200 Puerto Ricans have died wearing a uniform and
protecting the flag of our country during battle in this century,
a number proportionately higher than almost every state of the
Union. This is even more remarkable when considering that the
nation these soldiers fought and died for did not grant them the
most basic of political rights in our democracy - the right to
elect their commander in chief, the president.
For more than 50 years, the U.S. citizens of Vieques have had
to live under conditions of war. The live bombing exercises that
occur on this small Caribbean island are unlike those at any of
the Navy's other training ranges around the United States, both
in their size and scale and in the amount of real damage they
cause to a neighboring community of civilians.
It is time for our Navy to find an alternative location for
these exercises - just as it is time for all Americans to recognize
the tremendous contribution of their fellow citizens in Puerto
Rico to our nation's defense and security.