March 11, 2000
Puerto Rico Exploited, Not Protected, By U.S.
Re the Feb. 26 letter about Vieques: Puerto Rico was an autonomous nation with voting representation in Spain's legislature and its own currency, when it was invaded by U.S. troops on July 25, 1898. The U.S. annexed it as a territory not to protect Puerto Rico, but to exploit it.
After 50 years of U.S. rule, Puerto Rico (not Haiti) became known as The Poor House of the Caribbean. The U.S. was shamed into providing aid to a nation it had ruined.
Puerto Ricans fought and died in conflicts declared by the U.S. (from World War I to the present), never taking into account the best interest of Puerto Rico. Due to economic segregation in the U.S. and lack of jobs on the island, Puerto Ricans join the U.S. military in numbers disproportionately higher than should be expected. As to the defense of Puerto Rico, practically during the last 200 years Puerto Rico has only been attacked by the U.S. The U.S. is not defending Puerto Rico; the U.S. military act as our jailers, this is the typical role of any occupation army in a colony.
Due to the depressed wages in Puerto Rico, the U.S. takes out much more money from Puerto Rico than it sends. The U.S. considers the minerals and oil deposits in Puerto Rico as part of its own reserves (Puerto Rico has large unexploited nickel, gold, silver and copper deposits).
If the letter writer does not believe this to be true, he can write his congressman and tell him you want to grant independence to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico was annexed by an act of Congress, and short of a revolution, it can be freed only by an act of Congress.
RAPHAEL PEREZ, Coconut Creek
Keep Practice Bombing Away From Civilians
March 8, 2000
Move the practice bombing at the Puerto Rican island of Vieques to the Everglades? No way. It would destroy the environment and it is too close to the civilian population. That is what any resident would say about having the military dropping bombs close to the civilian population.
I am responding to the recent letter on bombing in Vieques and federal aid to the island. As a Puerto Rican, I must agree that the island is not large enough and does not have enough resources to create its own economy, have its own currency, support its own army and in general produce enough to support its current living standard. Look at larger Caribbean islands such as Hispanola and see how they are struggling with poverty.
However, the letter writer is dead wrong on one point: Military bombing close to the civilian population is unacceptable in almost any place, in Puerto Rico , in the States or in any country where common sense and respect of its citizens is exercised. I do not oppose a military presence on the island and I fully support our nation. Military practices must be done away from civilians regardless of location. This has nothing to do with federal aid. Remember how many Puerto Ricans gave their lives in World War II and Vietnam?
ORLANDO RUIZ, Coconut Creek
February 26, 2000
Stop Vieques Training, And Aid To Island, Too
It bothers me when I hear about the protests in Puerto Rico concerning the island of Vieques. But if that is what the people want, then that is what they should get.
But when the Navy leaves Puerto Rico, it should take a few things. First of all, all U.S. currency should be rounded up and taken home. Secondly, all U.S. military personnel and equipment should be brought home. Third, all U.S. military bases, airfields, harbors and any buildings built by the U.S. on those bases should be torn down or rendered unusable. Also someone needs to cancel that $11 billion check we Americans send over there each year. Let them print and back their own currency. Let them defend themselves and fund their own military. Let them establish their own economy.
Our Navy could probably find another place to train if they looked hard enough, but why should they have to? For the past 60 years, our troops have trained on Vieques and the people have remained quiet and supportive. I feel for the loss of the security gaurd who died because of a misguided bomb, but I'm sure he realized there could be some risk involved when working on a bombing range. If the people in Puerto Rico get their wish, good for them. But I wonder what would happen if the island were to come under attack? I bet those same people would probably take to the streets demanding that the U.S. do something, such as sending an aircraft carrier and the U.S. Marines to help them.
ANDREW KRAUS, Hollywood