Recently, an important study was published about contamination in Vieques crops from military toxics deposited on the island municipality during more than half century of bombing and other war practices. Evaluation of Heavy Metals in Agricultural Produce from an Organic Farm in the Barrio Luján, sector Destino of Vieques (Puerto Rico), by scientists Elba Díaz de Osborne, Pablo Acevedo Acevedo and Arturo Massol Deyá, from the Biology Department of the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayaguez campus – with participation of Casa Pueblo (Adjuntas) – is the most recent study documenting horrible effects of US Navy presence and activities on Vieques environment. The publication of the investigation was the basis upon which Puerto Rico Secretary of Health, Johnny Rullán, based his opposition to Navy petition to burn vegetation on Vieques as part of the so-called ‘clean up’.
In addition to applauding and thanking the team of Puerto Rican scientists and, in particular, Massol and friends at Casa Pueblo, the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques energetically supports the demands included in the publication:
- Extend responsibility for compensation by the Navy to the civilian zone and to Viequenses affected by the dispersion of diverse military toxins;
- Navy compensate Vieques economically for future damages to its territorial integrity
- Remove chemical contaminants discharged in great quantities and in the area of lagoon systems that interconnect with the sea
- Remove unexploded bombs from the ocean bottom on the North and South of Vieques
- Deny Navy petition for open burning of between 200 and 400 acres of vegetation on Eastern Vieques
The CRDV coordinates with Dr. Massol an upcoming presentation in Vieques about the scientific findings and implications for the environment, health, agriculture and a discussion about community strategies to confront the Navy’s insistence on open detonation of bombs and burning of vegetation.