FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Letter from the Trenches of Vieques

by Maria

Saludos desde Puerto Rico,

The Navy has been bombing Vieques since Friday the 27th. We have more than 40 people in the middle of the firing range. The Navy knows it and has just briefly stopped the bombing on a few occasions. Each night our people on the range send up some signal so we can see they are still there. We also have cell phone contact.

On Friday four of Vieques schools were shut down by the students and teachers in a protest against the US Navy bombing. Among the people on the firing range at that point and still there as of Monday, April 30 is Damaso Serrano mayor of Vieques, Ruben Berrios, Puerto Rican Independence Party president and 38 other people. Each night more people are peacefully entering the firing range to replace those the Navy finds and takes away. The firing range is about 6 miles from the entrance to Camp Garcia. Each day other Peaceful protesters enter Camp Garcia in protest near the main gate and are hand cuffed, then pepper sprayed (sometimes within sight of the protesters on the other side of the gate) and taken away. We have at this point more than 150 people either in jail or in the processing stage. Including 3 Puerto Ricans senators , 3 Puerto Rican Mayors, US Congressmen Luis Gutierrez, Dennis Rivera, Robert Kennedy Jr., Chicano actor, Edward James Olmos, Robbie Draco (the one that writes the songs for Ricky Martin), Puerto Rican Singer Danny Rivera and many others.

On Saturday night, a small group of women lead by Puerto Rican actress Rosita Velazquez were cutting the fence and crossing into Camp Garcia near the main gate, almost in the Navy’s face. Across the street at the Peace and Justice Camp we were in the middle of a Mass being celebrated for the safety of those on the firing range and those going peacefully in. The US Navy threw tear gas into the crowd of more than 400 people which included Puerto Rican police, old folks, women and children. One of the small canisters thrown had this on it 8230 Tactical Grenade LD Smoke. A three month old infant had to be taken to the hospital and several other people had to be attended by paramedics. After that at hour intervals the Navy kept throwing gas near the camp until about 4 AM.

Please pray for us. We want to keep this peaceful. In addition to gas, Navy is now resorting to something that looks like little rubber bullets in a white sac. One of these things hit Vieques Priest Father Nelson in the back as he was trying to keep everyone peaceful.

Since Thursday many groups have been trying to get into the firing range. Saturday night I thought my group would get in. But at the last minute it was called off again. Then the pepper spray came and in taking my glasses off to put water and vinegar on my face they fell and cracked. I do not have spares. I realized that my chances of going into the firing range were now zero. If I went there was a chance that I would loose them completely and thus jeopardize the chances of the group to do its job. I do not want to be one of the ones that cut the fence in the Navy’s face and cross over. I think that people that do that are super brave. But in my vanity I want the Navy to work a while before they get me. I am home in Mayaguez, getting new glasses and working the computer in the process. Then I will go back and try again. I think that one of the meanest things I have seen the Navy do is dig their fingers into people’s eyes in the process of hand cuffing them and then once handcuffed to pepper spray them at point blank range in the face. A guy called Wilkens dug his fingers into Chicago Congressmen Luis Gutierrez’s eyes in full view of everyone.

Send us positive thoughts and prayers.

Maria

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 25, 2016
Mike Whitney
The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives up on Empire
Paul Cox – Stan Cox
The Louisiana Catastrophe Proves the Need for Universal, Single-Payer Disaster Insurance
John W. Whitehead
Another Brick in the Wall: Children of the American Police State
Lewis Evans
Genocide in Plain Sight: Shooting Bushmen From Helicopters in Botswana
Daniel Kovalik
Colombia: Peace in the Shadow of the Death Squads
Sam Husseini
How the Washington Post Sells the Politics of Fear
Ramzy Baroud
Punishing the Messenger: Israel’s War on NGOs Takes a Worrying Turn
Norman Pollack
Troglodyte Vs. Goebbelean Fascism: The 2016 Presidential Race
Simon Wood
Where are the Child Victims of the West?
Roseangela Hartford
The Hidden Homeless Population
Mark Weisbrot
Obama’s Campaign for TPP Could Drag Down the Democrats
Rick Sterling
Clintonites Prepare for War on Syria
Yves Engler
The Anti-Semitism Smear Against Canadian Greens
August 24, 2016
John Pilger
Provoking Nuclear War by Media
Jonathan Cook
The Birth of Agro-Resistance in Palestine
Eric Draitser
Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism
Jack Rasmus
Greek Debt and the New Financial Imperialism
Robert Fisk
The Sultan’s Hit List Grows, as Turkey Prepares to Enter Syria
Abubakar N. Kasim
What Did the Olympics Really Do for Humanity?
Renee Parsons
Obamacare Supporters Oppose ColoradoCare
Alycee Lane
The Trump Campaign: a White Revolt Against ‘Neoliberal Multiculturalism’
Edward Hunt
Maintaining U.S. Dominance in the Pacific
George Wuerthner
The Big Fish Kill on the Yellowstone
Jesse Jackson
Democrats Shouldn’t Get a Blank Check From Black Voters
Kent Paterson
Saving Southern New Mexico from the Next Big Flood
Arnold August
RIP Jean-Guy Allard: A Model for Progressive Journalists Working in the Capitalist System
August 23, 2016
Diana Johnstone
Hillary and the Glass Ceilings Illusion
Bill Quigley
Race and Class Gap Widening: Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers
Ted Rall
Trump vs. Clinton: It’s All About the Debates
Eoin Higgins
Will Progressive Democrats Ever Support a Third Party Candidate?
Kenneth J. Saltman
Wall Street’s Latest Public Sector Rip-Off: Five Myths About Pay for Success
Binoy Kampmark
Labouring Hours: Sweden’s Six-Hour Working Day
John Feffer
The Globalization of Trump
Gwendolyn Mink – Felicia Kornbluh
Time to End “Welfare as We Know It”
Medea Benjamin
Congress Must Take Action to Block Weapon Sales to Saudi Arabia
Halyna Mokrushyna
Political Writer, Daughter of Ukrainian Dissident, Detained and Charged in Ukraine
Manuel E. Yepe
Tourism and Religion Go Hand-in-Hand in the Caribbean
ED ADELMAN
Belted by Trump
Thomas Knapp
War: The Islamic State and Western Politicians Against the Rest of Us
Nauman Sadiq
Shifting Alliances: Turkey, Russia and the Kurds
Rivera Sun
Active Peace: Restoring Relationships While Making Change
August 22, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman ‘Feminist’
Robert Hunziker
Arctic Death Rattle
Norman Solomon
Clinton’s Transition Team: a Corporate Presidency Foretold
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Hubris: Only Tell the Rich for $5000 a Minute!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail