Thursday, April 8, 2010

Toxic Colonialism: U.S. Military Policy and Vieques

GC co-sponsored a CLORE/LALSA Panel today.

Here is the video that was played at the beginning if you're interested:

Please participate in the conversation over at the CLORE blog where they have posted the things that didn't get fleshed out.

Here are some scattered notes I took during the conversation
-History of Navy base in Vieques pollution. 62 years of bombing. Puerto Rico is the oldest colony in the world.

Javier Cuebas: Speaking about primary strategy of civil disobedience and other tactics. Vieques is a reflection of PR diaspora, has different meanings to people living on the island. Vieques known as 'little sister' - reflection of PR experience.
-with the exception of nuclear bombs, all other weapons tested there
-extremely sick population as a result.
on stateside - two camps - deniers and those who are aware of it.
majority of people IN PR are in agreement that vieques is a problem. galvanizes people on the mainland.

at one point navy propoosed transfer of population of vieques to the mainland.
dracula plan.

John Arthur Eaves - how did a gringo mississippi lawyer end up on this case? former mayor called him up, due to publicity from another case.
why did it begin as a case and become a mission?
2-modern day civil rights movt - would not have happened anywhere else in the US
3-explains full cost of war
4-health of the people there
5-vieques best opportunity I have had to make a difference
the case - began w/administrative claim. took 4-5 years to collect medical records. doctors didn't even know teh illness the ppl were facing
told by politicians that the votes were not enough,
case dismissed, no evidence that navy's activities
relied on faulty ATSDR conclusions.
all sorts of procedural issues, eventually moved to San Juan ct, govt moved to dismss for sovereign immunity
discovered through FOIA that USNavy knew of problems in 1978
this is where it is now.

Vieques is now a superfund site.


JC - ADOVACY AND ALLIANCES TO BRING people w/ different ideologies together
PR senate passed unanimous resolutions about Vieques
casapueblo - community organizing in PR
everything connected for advocacy through regulations
"politicians, they like to be in office"
identify commonalities among the actors. develop political alliances


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