2001 CPEO Military List Archive

From: bieke@coqui.net
Date: 7 May 2001 19:36:41 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Vieques Digest 5/7/01



#3 Viequenses concerned and in solidarity with jailed protesters 

#4  THE FUTURE OF PUERTO RICO: The Debate Over Vieques and Political Status


  P.O. Box 6508, Chicago, IL 60680
  Tel: 312-455-1199
  E: cpt@igc.org

  May 2, 2001
  Contact: Claire Evans


  VIEQUES, Puerto Rico --- Pushing through brushy woods, four members of this
week's Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation to Vieques stooped to climb
through a hole in the fence surrounding the naval base here. They joined
hundreds of Puerto Ricans and U.S. residents who have entered the base in the
last year to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the naval occupation
of Vieques. Outside the fence they were joined in song and prayer by members
of the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques, other Viequenses,
news media, and the four remaining members of the CPT delegation.

  This act of civil disobedience highlights the decades-long presence of the
U.S. Navy on Vieques and the violence that the Navy has done to the people
and environment of Vieques during sixty years of weapons testing. It is also
an expression of the solidarity of CPT with the struggle of the people of
Vieques to have the Navy and its weapons testing leave their island.
  "This is the price of freedom. This is what it takes to get recognition for
the people of Vieques," said Mark Byler (Goshen, IN), lying facedown in the
grass, as he was being handcuffed.

  The delegation invites North Americans, and especially U.S. church
communities, to take responsibility for the situation here in Vieques, Puerto
Rico -- a part of the United States.
  At the time of writing, the four delegation members remain in custody. 

  CPT delegation members who entered the base were Brian Ladd (Boulder, CO),
ch Williams (West New York, NJ), H. A. Penner (Akron, PA), and Mark Byler
(Goshen, IN). Other delegation members include Matt Guynn (Richmond, IN),
Audrey Miller (Willington, CT), Eric Meyer (Goshen, IN), and John Buschert
(Goshen, IN). The delegation will be in Puerto Rico until May 7.
  Christian Peacemaker Teams is a program of Mennonite, Brethren, and Quaker
churches and meetings in North America, which places ecumenical peace teams
in zones of conflict to directly address violence through creative,
Spirit-led nonviolent action.


4 May, 2001


Several civil disobedients still in jail for their participation in pro Vieques
protests are in danger in federal prison, according to spokespersons for the
Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques (CRDV). "The federal court
and federal prison are appendages of the US Navy in Puerto Rico. We hold the
Navy responsible for any harm done while jailed to Vieques leader, Ismael
Guadalupe," expressed Robert Rabin, spokesman for the CRDV. The Viequenses also
expressed concern for university professor, Carlos Al=E1 Santiago, who
maintains a hunger strike in jail, Rub=E9n Berr=EDos -president of the PR
Independence Party - and four others who accompanied him to the bombing zone,
and North American resident in Vieques, Pablo O'Leary.

The PIP members, O'Leary and Al=E1 have refused to pay bail and do not
recognize the jurisdiction of the Navy or the Federal Courts in the Vieques
case. Guadalupe was sent to the federal prison in Guaynabo without right to
bail because he is a long time leader of the disobedience campaign in Vieques.

Norma Torres, wife of Guadalupe, remembered that in 1979, Ismael was sent to
the State Prison in Puerto Rico and several days later. "kidnapped in the early
morning hours", transported to Atlanta and later to the federal jail in
Tallahassee, Florida, without informing family members. Torres also mentions
that recent tests showed high levels of mercury in Guadalupe's blood. The
Vieques leader is currently under treatment y a neuphrologist for a renal
condition that could be related to the high levels of this metal, product of
military activity in Vieques.

Twenty two years ago, Angel Rodriguez Cristobal was assasinated in the
Tallahassee federal prision where he was jailed for participating in a civil
disobedience action in Vieques. Ismael Guadalupe participated in the same
action here at Caracas Beach, inside military controlled lands and was
sentenced to six months imprisonment that he did in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

"These men are guilty only of loving their homeland and eager to defend the
health and well being of their community," said Nilda Medina, leader of the
Peace and Justice Camp and of the CRDV. "As Ismael himself said in his defense
in 1979, he has been accused of the crime of stepping on the land where he was
born," stated the Vieques leader.


Press Release
Viequenses concerned and in solidarity with jailed protesters 

The Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques(CRDV) expressed
solidarity with Puerto Rican university professor, Carlos Al=E1 Santiago
Rivera, jailed for his participation in recent civil disobedience actions in
Vieques. Al=E1 has been arrestested on several occasions for entering into the
US Navy=B4s restricted zone on this island municipality. "We are worried about
the mistreatment of Carlos in the federal jail," said Robert Rabin, spokesman
for the CRDV. "Al=E1 is a man of deep pacifist convictions and great
spirituality that guides his actions. We know this type of integrity and
expression of Puerto Rican dignity threatens the federal agents, thereby
placing in danger the security of this pro Vieques activist. We hold the Navy
and the federal justice system responsible for any harm to Carlos Al=E1 while
he is in the federal jail," added Rabin.
Members of the CRDV also expressed their concern for the health and security of
Ismael Guadalupe, leader of that Viequense organization, and for North American
artist resident in Vieques, Pablo O'Leary. Both were arrested in the Navy's
bombing zone last week.
"Ismael is one of the principal leaders of this struggle and the Navy surely
considers him a danger to their operations on this island municipality,"
mentioned Viequense leader, Nilda Medina. "Although he told us he is all right,
we worry greatly for his health condition and the violent environment in which
he is being held," expressed the Vieques peace activist.
Guadalupe spent six months in a federal prison in Pennsylvania in 1979 for
participating in an ecumenical activity in the miltary's restricted zone. This
year he has been arrested three times for his participation in civil
disobedience actions in Navy territory. The Viequenses indicated they do not
trust the federal courts or jails because these entities are part of the US
Navy system in Puerto Rico.
In telephone conversation with the Peace and Justice Camp in Vieques, Guadalupe
exhorted people assembled there to express their solidarity with the group of
university students also arrested and jailed but have not, according to
Guadalupe, received the attetion their sacrifice for the people of Vieques


John F. Kennedy School of Government's ARCO FORUM presents:
THE FUTURE OF PUERTO RICO: The Debate Over Vieques and Political Status
-Senator Roberto Pratts, Popular Democratic Party (PPD) 
-Senator Myriam Ramirez de Ferrer, New Progressive Party (PNP) 
-Senator Manuel Rodriguez Orellana, Puerto Rican Independence Party=20 
DAY: Wednesday, May 9 
TIME: 6:00pm 
PLACE: John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University 
ADDRESS: 79 JFK Street 
(two minutes walking-distance from Harvard Square)
As news about the conflict over U.S. Navy training in Vieques appeared in the
front page of newspapers around the world, now more than ever, Puerto Rico's
political status remains a subject of controversial debate. 

The Puerto Rico Commonwealth's efforts to put an end to U.S. Navy military
exercises in Vieques have sparked heated debates about the future nature of
United States-Puerto Rico relations. To address these issues, the John F.
Kennedy School of Government has organized a panel discussion on 
Wednesday, May 9. The discussion, sponsored by the Institute of Politics of
Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government; the Harvard Journal
of Hispanic Policy; and Harvard Students for Peace in Vieques, 

Now!, begins at 6:00pm at the ARCO Forum of Public Affairs, at Harvard
University. The three panelists who will debate the issue of Puerto Rico's
political status and the conflict in Vieques are: Puerto Rico Senator Roberto
Pratts, of the pro-commonwealth Popular Democratic Party (PPD); Senator Myriam
Ramirez de Ferrer, senate minority leader for the pro-statehood New Progressive
Party (PNP); and Manuel Rodriguez-Orellana, former senator, of the
pro-independence Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP). Former Governor of
Puerto Rico, Pedro Rossello (1993-2001), will be attending the Forum as an
A question and answer session will be held following the debate between the
tree panelists who will represent the three political parties in Puerto Rico.
This year the prestigious ARCO Forum has been host to eleven heads of state or
former heads of state, including F.W. De Klerk of South Africa; Fidel Ramos of
the Philippines; Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic; and President
Kagame of Rwanda.

For more information contact:
Mr. Hans Perl-Matanzo at 617-493-5918 / matanzo@fas.harvad.edu
Mr. Hector Bladwell 617-493-6467 / bladweh@ksg.harvard.edu


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