2009 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2009 10:08:17 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] HEALTH, MUNITIONS: Vieques (PR) lawsuit
Hazardous Chemicals at Vieques: Is the Government Accountable?

By Tim Padgett
Time Magazine
September 16, 2009

When Hermogenes Marrero was in Marine boot camp, he recalls being the only recruit who didn't panic during simulated-chemical-warfare drills. "I'd sit there calmly with my gas mask on," Marrero says, "while a lot of other guys got scared and ran away." It was 1969, and Marrero, a New Yorker born in Puerto Rico, was fresh out of high school at the age of 17. But his composure caught the eyes of Marine instructors — and the next year, he says, he was at Camp Garcia on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, helping guard for 18 months chemical agents being tested by the U.S. Navy.

Today Marrero, at 57, believes he was too poised around those hazardous materials for his own good. In an affidavit filed last month in the U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico, where Marrero now lives, he says he is legally blind, uses a wheelchair, has battled colon cancer and chronic pulmonary illnesses, and was recently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, among other ailments. "I've been sick in some form or another since I was 25," says Marrero. He was stationed on Vieques, he adds, "for too long."

Most Vieques residents - who, as Puerto Ricans, are all U.S. citizens - would agree with Marrero. In 2007, more than 7,000 of them filed a federal suit, Sanchez v. United States, claiming that in the nearly 60 years after World War II that the Navy used a portion of the island as a firing range and weapons-testing ground it negligently exposed Vieques' population of 10,000 to dangerous levels of toxins.


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

Military mailing list

  Prev by Date: [CPEO-MEF] CLOSURE, ROCKETS: NASA excesses 452 acres at Santa Susana Lab (CA)
Next by Date: [CPEO-MEF] MUNITIONS, REUSE: Vieques - Fish, Wildlife, and Bombs
  Prev by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] CLOSURE, ROCKETS: NASA excesses 452 acres at Santa Susana Lab (CA)
Next by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] MUNITIONS, REUSE: Vieques - Fish, Wildlife, and Bombs

CPEO Lists
Author Index
Date Index
Thread Index