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Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 22:48:12 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Torres-Astacio" <torresd@flash.net>
Subject: Vieques, Puerto Rico & US NAVY Bombs Missing Their Targets
Article: 62358
Message-ID: <bulk.23434.19990428121918@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

Press Release

By Comité Pro Rescate y Desarrollo de Vieques, 20 April 1999


Nilda Medina Díaz - 787-741-8651
Ismael Guadalupe - 787-741-2304
Robert Rabin - 787-741-1717 (English-speaking)

Comité Pro Rescate y Desarrollo de Vieques Apartado 1424
Vieques, Puerto Rico 00765
(787) 741-8651
E mail: bieke@tropicweb.net

April 20, 1999

Vieques, Puerto Rico__The Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques (CPRDV by its Spanish initials) accused the U.S. Navy of murdering a Vieques man yesterday when two 500-pound bombs launched from an FA-18 fighter jet hit a United States Navy observation post.

David Sanes of Vieques died instantly and four other residents of the island-town were injured.

All worked for a security company contracted by the Navy.

Because of the incident, community leaders demanded an immediate end to the military bombing.

The military classified the incident as an accident, while the CPRDV described it as part of a process of elimination carried out by the United States Navy against the people of Vieques since the 1940s. Ismael Guadalupe, spokesman for the CPRDV, said that

"this is not the first time that military planes missed their targets.

In 1994, another FA-18 dropped five live 500-pound bombs outside town, missing the target by ten miles.

Last year, another projectile perforated the same observation post that they destroyed last night.

This kind of incident clearly shows the danger of an accident that at any moment can happen in the civilian area.

It is time to put an end to this abuse that has oppressed the people of Vieques for more than half a century."

Spokespeople for the Vieques group described the death of David Sanes as the first casualty of the Allied Forces in the Kosovo conflict.

Last week, military officials informed the Puerto Rican press that 80% of the U.S. ships and jets participating in Kosovo have trained in Vieques before going to the Yugoslavia region.

Dr. Rafael Rivera Castao, a Vieques epidemiologist and member of CPRDV, said that

"this regrettable incident is part of set of factors that are enormously dangerous for human life on Vieques.

Add the risk of death from this kind of accident to the many cases of cancer, and you get a picture of danger for our community.

We cannot sleep peacefully here for fear of military bombing and worried about family members sick from cancer."

Robert Rabin, another member of CPRDV said that the only solution to this tragic situation is an immediate end to the bombing and total withdrawal of the U.S. Navy from Vieques. He added that the imminent arrival of the Southern Command and the military radar being built on the western part of the island will increase the level of military activity and of danger for the community.

Finally, Nilda Medina, a member of the Committee's board, called on the Puerto Rican and U.S. people to support efforts to end the military presence on Vieques.

She also demanded in the name of the CPRDV support for the resolutions approved by the Vieques Municipal Assembly and Senator Roger Iglesias demanding an end to the bombing and military exercises on the small island of Vieques.