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April 10, 2000
Copyright © 2000 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

Morey: Removal Of Vieques Protesters Coming Soon

SAN JUAN (AP) — Secretary of State Angel Morey, who is acting governor, said Friday that the presidential directives on Vieques, which have yet to be carried out, will be implemented "in the next few days," once protesters are removed from the U.S. Navy’s firing range.

Morey acknowledged that these are "sensitive moments" in Vieques, but he declined to reveal the strategic details of the government and the U.S. Navy on when they will vacate the federal territory, occupied for almost a year by demonstrators.

"All the ingredients that make up the presidential directives will be carried out, and already many of them are being carried out or have been carried out, and others are in the process of being carried out in the next few days," he said.

He said this includes the renewal of bombings with inert bullets in the target range that is occupied by protesters. The directives provide that the target range must be cleared for the resumption of military practices.

"The best way of achieving that [the Navy’s exit] for Vieques is that the demonstrators abandon their civil disobedience so that then all the directives can be implemented," Morey said at a news conference in Corozal.


April 10, 2000
Copyright © 2000 PuertoRicoWOW NEWS SERVICE. All Rights Reserved.

Rossello: U.S. Officials Won’t Notify Vieques Protesters Of Removal

By Proviana Colon Diaz

According to the presidential directives on Vieques, federal authorities are not required to notify the local government when they make a move to clear the inner range of protesters, Gov Pedro Rossello said Monday.

If the U.S. Navy plans to resume military practices, there is a formal process where they have to notify the government of Puerto Rico, specifically Secretary of State Angel Morey, as to when the exercises will start, the governor said.

"To clear the area and comply with the presidential agreement that the inner range be available, the federal Government is no obligated to give any notice," Rossello said Monday during his first press conference after returning from Maryland, where he spent almost a month convalescing after kidney surgery.

Rossello said people currently engaged in civil disobedience within the Navy’s restricted areas in Vieques will not receive a notice of removal.

"Each of the instructions in the presidential directive will be implemented. Our responsibility will be carried out by us and we will support them in their responsibility," Rossello said, referring to the accord with the White House that would funnel aid to Vieques and limit Navy practices to inert ordnance and to half the time they used to be able to carry out their maneuvers in that island municipality.

Rossello said he had no information on whether or not the Navy’s military exercises will be postponed anew.


April 12, 2000
Copyright © 2000 PuertoRicoWOW NEWS SERVICE. All Rights Reserved.

Toledo And Feds Meet To Discuss Removal Of Vieques Protesters

By Proviana Colon Diaz

For the third time in less than two weeks, Police Superintendent Pedro Toledo and U.S. Marshals director in Puerto Rico Herman Wirshing met Tuesday to discuss plans to clear the inner range of protesters and remove demonstrators outside Camp Garcia in Vieques.

During the Tuesday afternoon meeting Toledo and Wirshing discussed what mechanism should be used to clear the inner range.

In Toledo’s opinion the best way to clear the area is by a court order for each of the demonstrators’ removal. However, Washington had the final word on the issue, he said.

"Those who fail to comply with the court order could be found in contempt of court. That is a serious accusation, and I think people would respect a court order," Toledo said.

Toledo added that he doesn’t know when the arrests will take place but hopes federal authorities will notify him ahead of time, because he believes U.S. officials won’t be able to perform the arrests outside federal grounds without the help of the local police. That includes any kind of demonstrations that might take place in the main island, he said.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Toledo said he would recommend to Wishing that any king of operation to remove protesters be postponed until after the end of the month, when the Holy Week holiday period is over.

"Not only because it’s Holy Week, which deserves a solemn respect, but also because the number of people who visit Vieques traditionally increases during that week and the following one, when students are off from school," Toledo said.

To that effect, the number of officers in Vieques will increase beginning this weekend. The agents, however, will be in charge of patrolling the streets and the beach to ensure that everything is in order.