Vieques & the Navy

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Mandy, Sep 17, 2002.

  1. Mandy

    Mandy FREE CITIZEN Forum Contributor

    :assult: :assult: :assult: :assult: :assult:

    Hi guys:

    I'm sitting here wondering what do you think about this issue.
    For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, here it is:
    For the last 60 years our lovely Navy has been bombing the beautiful little island of Vieques located at the east side of PR.
    This island has over 9,000 residents, all of them full time US citizens.
    The Navy has about 2/3 of the island designated as restricted area (the most beautiful parts). This people have been living here for many generations and they're not planning on leaving the island to the Navy.
    There's been opposition to the Navy for decades now, but about 2 years ago, an accident killed a civilian (one of many in 60 years) and the whole country started protesting and demanding the Navy to leave the little island, clean the mess that they've done and to indemnify this BONAFIDE US CITIZENS.
    No issue in PR history has united people more, the whole country wants them to stop bombing.
    Most of the people don't want the Navy to leave, they want the Navy to stop the bombing, that's all.
    This municipality has been neglected for years one of the most common rights, the right to live in peace (these people live less than 3 miles from the shooting range and you can hear the bombs in your house, at school, even in the neighboring island of Culebra). It is like living at war for 60 years on your own backyard.
    I can keep telling you for hours the horrors (highest rate of cancer in PR, hearing problems, post traumatic streess disorders without going to war, ect. ect. ect.) lived by this people for the last 60 years but I think that you get the picture.
    PR is a US territory and all puertoricans are US Citizens, the same as all of you at the mainland.
    WE ARE NOT ANTIAMERICANS like some people want you to believe, we're US Citizens with the right to live in peace in our homes.
    We value this Citizenship very much, to the point that we proudly serve in the best armed forces in the world.
    We've been fighting in all the wars or conflicts that Uncle Sam decides to enter and we'll continue to do so as Uncle Sam sees fit.
    We don't want to be independent like some people want you to belive, but enough is enough so please I beg you (the Navy) to stop the bombing now and take it some place else.
    Some people (congressmen) said that there's no place in the whole world like Vieques, if this is true, then why practice in a unique enviroment, take it somewhere that better fit the real wolrd.
    I can't understand why they want to bring peace to Afganistan and want to impose war in their own country.
    If the people of Vieques would've asked for this then there's no problem but last year there was a voting in Vieques about this issue and 70% of Vieques residents voted for the Navy to leave ASAP.
    Isn't democracy one of the pillars of the US?

    My position on this issue should be clear by now but I'm going to make it clearer:
    1) 60 years of bombing is enough time served.

    2) I love and value the relationship that we have with the US.

    3) IF I HAVE TO DIE FOR THE US, I'LL PROUDLY DO SO ANY TIME AND ANY PLACE THAT'S REQUIRED BY THE US GOVERNMENT.

    4) I love to travel to the US and I've been all over the US in many ocasions and I'm proud to be part of the greatest nation in the world.

    This is serious bussiness and it should be taken like that.
    I don't mean to start nothing here nor to offend nobody but I'm curious about what the mainland people think about this issue and if you're well informed about the real thing or just being manipulated by someone on the media or the government.

    If you have any questions about this, please ask and I'll try to answer to the best of my knowledge.

    I'm asking this in the most respectful way and please don't hesitate to post even if you disagree with my point of view.

    Thanks for listening (reading) me out, I feel better now it's off my chest.


    :assult: :assult: :assult: :assult: :assult:
     
  2. jerry

    jerry Since 03-15- 2002 Forum Contributor

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    Mandy,
    I have been to PR on occassion. I find it to be a beautiful place. I have not been to Vieques. Seen the old fort, spent time in San Juan, para sailed at the beach etc.. I don't get a warm fuzzy on the bombing practice thing. But wish I knew more. I allways thought it a crying shame to bomb the AZ desert to the stone age at Barry Goldwater too, albeit not as many lives are affected. I hope it works out for you and your neighbors. The only advice I could give is keep pressing.
     

  3. Oxford

    Oxford G&G Evangelist

    Don't target practice in my back yard!

    Mandy:

    You brought up some good points. It's a good bet that most of us weren't aware of quite a lot of what you wrote. You know the old saying, "Out of sight, out of mind." Your bringing it to this forum should help with the awareness problem.

    I visited San Juan, PR about four years ago. Had a great visit...saw some good latin dance shows...dropped a few bucks on some trinkets...you know how the tourists go nuts when they think they're away from home. (ha)

    Anyway...back to your concerns. Apparently your federal representatives aren't getting listened to in congress. What reasons do they give for our military continuing to use your real estate for training purposes?

    I'm sure no prospective buyers in their right mind would be interested in buying property adjoining the military maneuvers. Therefore owners can't just buy somewhere else with their sale proceeds.

    It seems to me that more heat needs to be put on congressmen who are on defense committees. Let them find an acceptable alternative sight for maneuvers.

    Oxford
     
  4. oneastrix

    oneastrix G&G Newbie

    I had no idea, therefore I'll make it a point to keep up with this post and learn more.
     
  5. Klaus

    Klaus Guest

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    The USN only uses PRACTICE bombs on the site, not live ordnance.
     
  6. oneastrix

    oneastrix G&G Newbie

    Kind of sounds like live ordinance according to Mandy's post Klaus. Give me a little more info if you can. I'm curious....
     
  7. 7mmag6

    7mmag6 Guest

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    This is not an issue for me, after pounding by the NVA in the central highlands of Nam the battleship New Jersey, bailed our grunts out in some hard won fights, and along the coast, the New Jersey and the Wisconsin could not have achieved this without the skill and markmanship provided without practice, our modern Navy needs a place to practice to ensure the viability, and to protect the leathernecks in the future, I was saved by New Jerseys guns at Dok to, and most of my 2nd division marine platoon, now I will agree with you that the island of Vieques is not the best place for Navy practice, but where is the best place? the navy needs bombardment practice, it is vital to the marines, and any invasion in the literals, our marines , our youngest and finest depend on protection from the sea, and maybe this island is all that is left for this, freedom is not free, it takes sacrifice
     
  8. 7mmag6

    7mmag6 Guest

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    looking over your post I noticed you played the post traumatic stress card, you dont know what post traumatic stress is, ive seen more dead grunts than you can imagine or any one on this post has, but the fire power of the Navy saved a lot of marines, and Army infantry, it needs to be protected
     
  9. Klaus

    Klaus Guest

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    The Navy and Marines have been using Vieques to practice amphibious assaults for about 50 years. The shells and bombs were mostly INERT practice rounds. There was an accident, late 98 I think, where 1 security worker got killed by a live bomb that was way off target. After that, the Navy totally stopped using live bombs. The range is used with permission of the Puerto Rican government! Info is easy to find, if you know how to use Dogpile or Google. Here is a link :
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/1905530.stm
     
  10. jerry

    jerry Since 03-15- 2002 Forum Contributor

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    good quality info Klaus, esp the source. (no bias) This is one of those crappy situations where everyone has something at stake. I agree with 7mm wholeheartedly. Training is paramount to saving lives. Oxford had a good point on the political aspect. As you said the PR gov condones this. Then back to the issue. I gues these people can get PO'd if someone is throwing rocks on their beach?? It seems like a loose loose situation. I'm not ultra familiar witht the exact geography in the area (shame on me) but what purpose do some of the other small islands have out there. Are they inhabited? Would someone like a better life and some cash?
     
  11. NRAJOE

    NRAJOE YOU TALKIN' TO ME!? Forum Contributor

    Didn't P.R. vote down statehood to avoid paying taxes, but they still get the privledges of statehood? Just curious.:confused:
     
  12. BenP

    BenP Guest

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    When you say country, are you referring to the USA, or Puerto Rico? I'm curious, because not everyone in the USA is against using Viques as a Naval Training area, and last time I looked, Puerto Rico is not an independent country anymore.

    The inhabitants of the island, nonetheless, were offered compensation to leave. They weren't simply told to go, or they'd be gone already. If they choose to stay under those conditions, well, they take their chances. There's plenty of places for them to live besides that puny island, many of which are just as beautiful, and don't serve a strategic need for our military. Perhaps those people would be happier living on that island under Castro? I may not sound too sympathetic, but in my opinion, Puerto Ricans already get more than they deserve from our government, and at our expense, too. I've got a bombing range near where I live and play, too. Funny, but you don't hear anyone here complaining about it. In fact, the locals appreciate the boost the miliatary who live here provide to a sagging local economy.

    I think the Viequesians should count their blessings, or else find somewhere else to live.

    PS: no one's right's are being violated here either. You do have the right perhaps to live in peace, but not necessarily wherever you bloody well want.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2002
  13. Klaus

    Klaus Guest

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    Puerto Rico is a territory of the US, like Guam. They are US citizens and use US money.
     
  14. NRAJOE

    NRAJOE YOU TALKIN' TO ME!? Forum Contributor

    BUT, they don't pay taxes do they?
     
  15. Klaus

    Klaus Guest

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    I think they pay local taxes, not Federal. However, I do not think they get most Federal programs, either. Personally, I LOVE to get out of many Federal programs, like Social Security, if it meant I pay much less taxes.The funny thing about Social Security is that you CAN opt out of it, but you still have to keep paying into it; you just give up the benefits.
     
  16. jerry

    jerry Since 03-15- 2002 Forum Contributor

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    sounds like marriage Klaus! :)
     
  17. Mandy

    Mandy FREE CITIZEN Forum Contributor

    :assult: :assult: :assult: :assult: :assult:

    Oxford:
    I'm sorry to tell you that we don't have any representatives in the congress.
    The reason that they give is that there's no place in the world to do the kind of training available in Vieques, can you belive that?
    If Vieques is so unique, then why practice there, at war you're not going to find those conditions.

    Klaus:
    They allways used live ordinance until the last accident in '98.
    They even rented the range to other countries to practice bombing.
    "The range is used with permission of the Puerto Rican government!" Do we have a choice?, I assure you that we don't.
    The accident in '98 isn't the only one, there are at least 15 different situations accounted for where civilians got killed or injured.
    We pay local taxes, not federal, we do get some help from the mainland in terms of funds and citizenship.

    7mmmag:
    I'm curious about when was the last time the US Navy did amphibious assaults at war?
    For bombardment practice they can built an artificial reef anywhere they please (if the locals allow it) and go for it. There are some nations willing to get the bombing (for a fee of course).
    I agree that our armed forces has to do training somewhere and be prepared adecuately for combat, why at 9000 US citizens expense?. They should have the choice if they want the bombing or not.
    I didn't diagnosed post traumatic stress sindrome, the doctors did that.

    jerry:
    The other islands around here are mostly part of the national reserve parks, some are localy managed by the DRN and others by the US department of the interior.
    The only 2 that are inhabited are Vieques and Culebra.
    It's not a matter of cash, it's a matter of peace and love for the place where you were born and not letting yourself get kicked away because some bureaucrapt said so, someone who doesn't even bother to go and see by himself what's going on.
    They offered 40 million US crisp dollars to this people and they said NO please leave now.
    Imagine this, you were born in X town in X state, and your family has been living in the same place for over a 100 years and then some guy comes and tells you that he'll be bombing the water you fish, your long loved lagoon, the cliffts where you sat with your first girlfriend and anything else that they may think of and 60 years later they say sorry I know I've been a bad neighbor, take this 40 million dollars and let me bomb for ever. Would you like that?, Most important, Would you allow that?
    It's like marriage without the proper paperwork, do as I say or do as I say.

    NRAJOE:
    I'm sorry to tell you that we have never been offered statehood.
    We're the only colony in the whole world and I don't see that this is going to change in a long time.
    There're 3 political parties here:
    1 Pro Statehood
    1 Pro Independence
    1 Pro ELA (Half way between)
    We get some privileges like a states but the bottom line is that we have to do what the congress says, even if we like it or not.
    We are war loot from spain and we were never asked if we wanted this.
    I'm not saying that we want to get out but at least the US should ask what we want.
    We pay local taxes, not federal taxes and we have to pay taxes to US for everything that comes into the island.

    BenP:
    When I say country I proudly refer to the USA.
    When I say My Island I proudly refer to Puerto Rico & it's little islands.
    I believe that not everyone is against this, but try to be in this peoples shoes not for 60 years, only for 5 years they live 3 miles from the range, not 10 or 20 miles like most of the ranges in the US.
    It's easy to think that bombing isn't that bad when you're living in a quiet place.
    We've never ever been independent, first a spanish colony, then a US colony.
    Read my message to jerry about the compensation.
    There wasn't a choice, "we're at war (WWII) and we'll be practicing here until the war is over", when WWII ended?.
    And yes, there was no place to go even if they wanted to so they were forced to take their chances.
    You refer to Vieques as a puny island, man I'm sorry for you because you don't have a clue about that place or what you 're talking about, please do some research before you talk.
    Why everyone wants to talk about the dinosaur from the past called Castro, that guy is the only cummunist in the whole world, a dying breed, please this is the 21rst century not the cold war.
    I'm not asking for anybodys sympathy, I'm exposing a real problem that for some people it's easier to look the other way and keep up with their common lives.
    I think this is a democracy and I respect your opinion and even if I don't like it, I respect and accept it, isn't that whats all about, different opinions in diferent people.
    You said that we get more than we deserve, Again that's your opinion and I respect that.
    You have a bombing range near your home, and you like it, then the bombing in Vieques can be taken to your town or backyard, maybe they can use your house for practice (no ofence to you).
    Your town isn't complaining, good for them, if they like that.
    They appreciate the local boost, in Vieques, the Navy has stalled the local economy and that is a fact.
    The Viequenses, are counting their misfortunes with the Navy and why you've to leave your home? just tell me one good reason why? because someone said so, I'm afraid not.
    The Viequenses has the BLOODY right to live in peace in their homes where they were before the US took possesion of PR.

    Guys, I'm not trying to fight with you, not trying to discuss politics here, I'm trying to be as objective as possible on this subject and trying to find out if the US people is aware of what's going on and why this issue has escalated into the international discussion.
    This issue isn't going to get resolved in this forum.
    What I like to do is try to inform people the best I can about the truth.
    Please ask intelligent questions like some I tried to answer above.
    I promise to keep on answering to the best of my knowledge and may give you some more information on the subject.
    Thank you for posting and keep asking.

    Mandy

    :assult: :assult: :assult: :assult: :assult:
     
  18. Oxford

    Oxford G&G Evangelist

    Mandy:

    With your determination, knowledge of the situation there, and communication skills, changes can be made. Good luck in your efforts.

    And yes, the information you posted was definitely new and educational to me. I'll try to not be so ignorant on this issue any more.

    Best of luck to you,

    Oxford:nod:
     
  19. 7mmag6

    7mmag6 Guest

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    hey Mandy I was not making light of you or the peoples problems on the island, but the fact stands that the corp needs navy bombardment capabilities, from tripolli to Tarawa to Iwo to Okinawa to Inchon to Vietnam to the Gulf war(did not need it but the capability was there), this is a serious problem, and from my stand point, and some education from you, the Navy is not cutting the mustard when it comes to thier promises, thanks for the education, and I mean it that was educational, sorry for the old jar head temper, marines see red a lot even old ones
     
  20. jerry

    jerry Since 03-15- 2002 Forum Contributor

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    Mandy,
    Point taken. I still think Oxford has the best idea for the possible resolution for your issues.
    Best of luck, mabe we can crack a bottle of Don Q & get an update next trip down if yer into that.