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Journalists Detained On Trespassing Charges

Navy Gives OK For Vieques Study

NRC Officials, Activists Clash Over Depleted Uranium In Vieques

Journalists Detained On Trespassing Charges

by Ivan Roman
June 4, 2000
Copyright © 2000 THEORLANDO SENTINEL. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The U.S. Navy arrested six journalists along with 27 protesters who re-entered the Vieques target range Thursday and added another twist to this hot campaign issue.

The gubernatorial candidates split along party lines about whether journalists who tagged along on the trek into the restricted grounds should have been arrested.

After being handcuffed and taken on boats to Naval Station Roosevelt Roads (without life jackets), they were cited for trespassing and released to await a court hearing.

New Progressive Party candidate Carlos Pesquera, who agrees with President Clinton`s directive that allows the Navy to train using dummy bombs for another three years, said no one should have been on the target range and that if journalists went in, "they must face the consequences."

Sila Maria Calderon of the opposition Popular Democratic Party said she doesn`t endorse people endangering themselves by entering the range, but she respects those who feel they must do so to get the Navy out. Once they go in, she said, journalists should document what happens.

"They have a role in our democracy, which they were fulfilling there," said Calderon, who opposes Clinton`s directive and accuses the local government that backs it of betraying Vieques.

U.S. Magistrate Jesus Castellanos barred Thursday`s protesters and the 55 people arrested last month not only from re-entering the restricted Navy grounds, but from returning even to the civilian part of Vieques unless they live there, a move lawyers are contesting in court.

Journalist organizations on the island criticized the Navy for moving against people for doing their jobs, and some suggested it was part of a strategy to hinder coverage of the protests.

Tuesday, June 6th, 2000.  

Navy Gives OK For University Study In Vieques

June 6, 2000
Copyright © 2000 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The U.S. Navy has authorized a group of university students and professors to enter the Vieques restricted zone Tuesday to perform an environmental and health study, said Ram Lamba, dean of academic affairs at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Cayey Campus.

Participants in the study titled "Environment and Health in Vieques" will enter the Navy's firing range accompanied by a guide for security reasons.

Lamba said authorization to enter the restricted area was requested through President Bill Clinton, who said the study is in keeping with his mandate to improve the health and environment of Vieques.

"We need to study the whole island, no just the part where the population is located," Lamba said, adding that it took him four months to obtain the authorization.

The study will be headed by Prof. Juan Giusti, of the UPR Rio Piedras Campus, along with other professionals, teachers and students in Vieques, according to published reports.

NRC Officials, Activists Clash Over Depleted Uranium In Vieques

June 7, 2000
Copyright © 2000 THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE. All Rights Reserved.

Environmental activists clashed with a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission official Tuesday over cleanup plans that could leave buried some of the radioactive depleted uranium rounds mistakenly fired on the Navy's Vieques bombing range.

"The risk of leaving a few buried in the ground is minimal," said commission's regional director Luis A. Reyes. His announcement outraged activists who have been demanding the Navy clean up 263 rounds mistakenly fired from two Marine Corps Harrier jets on Feb. 19, 1999, in violation of federal law and Navy regulations that restrict their use to combat zones. The Navy recovered 57 rounds last year.

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