Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Vieques Island....Ignored.

Vieques: An island east off mainland Puerto Rico is just 21 miles long by 4 miles wide. Not much acreage to cover and sad to think that the Navy owned roughly about 22,000 acres of the island. The sadness isn't so much in the ownership but in its use. The western end of the island was primarily used as a naval ammunition depot and the eastern end was used for training exercises involving ship-to-shore gunfire, air-to-ground bombings, Marine amphibious landings and more. A large portion of this was used for targeting by live ordnance. The over 9,000 residents had no say in these operations. There were attempts at one point to gain total control of the entire island. On May 1, 2001 the western end was returned to Vieques and in May 2003 the Navy withdrew.

Much has been said and reported on the health issues, the agricultural affects and the clean-up required. While the closure of neighboring Roosevelt Roads on the mainland followed in 2004, major changes in the unemployment rate during those time frames are not evident.

A lawsuit remains and the need for help continues. Again, the plight of over 9,000 Americans is ignored and one is left to wonder why.

Island residents sue U.S., saying military made them sick
"Vieques, in my experience of studying toxic substances, is probably one of the most highly contaminated sites in the world," -Dr. John Wargo, a Yale professor who studies the effects of toxic exposures on human health.

History of the Navy in Vieques


  1. Hello, Efrain.
    I come to you from Phil Velez's favorite blogs in 2010 list. I have seen you around in twitter and mentioned many other places.

    I want to express my gratitude to you for bringing such topics you have written about here to our attention. I had no idea about Vieques. Your post brought to mind many of the boycotts I participated in back in college when fighting for the rights of our local farm workers- better environmental conditions so that they wouldn't suffer from an array of cancers or subsequently have deformed offspring one day. It seems to be an environmental issue that can be solved...clean things up! But, first and foremost, it is a humane issue!

    All the best to you and with your writing!
    ~Anna Rodriguez
    "the sol within anna"

  2. Thank you greatly for visiting and leaving comment...!