FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Defend the Vieques 12!

The federal government is trying to take its revenge on the movement that drove the U.S. Navy off its base on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. Twelve anti-Navy activists are facing serious felony charges–including conspiracy and destruction of federal property–that carry sentences of five to 20 years in federal prison.

The charges stem from a demonstration on May 1 called to celebrate the Navy’s pullout from Vieques, which had been used for years for target practice by the U.S. military. Thousands of people came to the site to take down the military’s fence and take control of the land.

But when they arrived, demonstrators found that another federal agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was keeping control of the base, claiming that it would now be turned into a nature preserve. Infuriated, the crowd tore down the entrance gates, demolished the guard’s station and set fire to several military vehicles.

They were destroying symbols of their oppression–an installation that poisoned their environment, strangled their economy and destroyed their health, causing the highest cancer rate in Puerto Rico.

By all accounts, the rioting was spontaneous. But the federal government and its lackeys in the colonial government of Gov. Sila Calderon want to make us believe that it was planned and organized by a small group of conspirators. The feds want to criminalize the Vieques struggle so that they don’t have to pay to clean up the land–and can prevent the example of Vieques from inspiring new struggles.

In the past, each time a social or political movement has threatened U.S. control in Puerto Rico, Washington’s response has been to jail its leaders. In the early 1950s, Puerto Rican nationalists received the longest jail sentences of any political prisoner in the Western Hemisphere. Likewise, in the 1980s, Puerto Rican political prisoners received disproportionately long sentences for their participation in the struggle for independence. Many of them remain incarcerated today. In 2001, Pedro Colon Almenas, a young university student, was jailed for opposing the use of the state university for military education.

Now 12 activists–including well-known figures such as Nilda Medina, a Vieques organizer, and teachers’ union leader Jesus Delgado–face serious charges for a justifiable action that thousands of people participated in.

The federal government has the gall to accuse these activists of property destruction. But as former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark put it, “It has been the U.S. Navy that has contaminated Vieques with toxic materials and live munitions, not the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques, nor any other Vieques resident.”

It’s urgent to organize an international defense campaign to support the Vieques 12. The victory in Vieques over the Navy at the same time that the U.S. government was conducting its brutal war on Iraq is an example of how imperialism can be defeated. By going after the Vieques 12, they want to bury this victory. We can’t let them!

What you can do

— Organize meetings and discussions to publicize the Vieques struggle and oppose the repression being used against it. For more information, visit www.viequeslibre.org on the Web.

— Help raise funds to defend the Vieques 12. Send money collected to: Familiares de los Arrestados por el Primero de Mayo en Vieques, cuenta # 512 076 726, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Apartado 1424, Vieques, PR 00765.

— Gather signatures on petitions demanding that all the charges against the Vieques 12 be dropped.

— Demonstrate at a U.S. court or other federal building or at U.S. embassies and consulates to demand that the government drop all charges, and clean up and return Vieques to its people.

 

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”
Jon Rynn
What a Green New Deal Should Look Like: Filling in the Details
David Swanson
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
Dana E. Abizaid
On Candace Owens’s Praise of Hitler
Raouf Halaby
‘Tiz Kosher for Elected Jewish U.S. Officials to Malign
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Deceitful God-Talk at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast
W. T. Whitney
Caribbean Crosswinds: Revolutionary Turmoil and Social Change 
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Avoiding Authoritarian Socialism
Howard Lisnoff
Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Anti-immigrant Hate
Ralph Nader
The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS
Cindy Garcia
Trump Pledged to Protect Families, Then He Deported My Husband
Thomas Knapp
Judicial Secrecy: Where Justice Goes to Die
Louis Proyect
The Revolutionary Films of Raymundo Gleyzer
Sarah Anderson
If You Hate Campaign Season, Blame Money in Politics
Victor Grossman
Contrary Creatures
Tamara Pearson
Children Battling Unhealthy Body Images Need a Different Narrative About Beauty
Peter Knutson
The Salmon Wars in the Pacific Northwest: Banning the Rough Customer
Binoy Kampmark
Means of Control: Russia’s Attempt to Hive Off the Internet
Robert Koehler
The Music That’s in All of Us
Norah Vawter
The Kids Might Save Us
Tracey L. Rogers
Freedom for All Begins With Freedom for the Most Marginalized
Paul Armentano
Marijuana Can Help Fight Opioid Abuse
Tom Clifford
Britain’s Return to the South China Sea
Graham Peebles
Young People Lead the Charge to Change the World
Matthew Stevenson
A Pacific Odyssey: Around General MacArthur’s Manila Stage Set
B. R. Gowani
Starbucks Guy Comes Out to Preserve Billionaire Species
David Yearsley
Bogart Weather
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail