A broad spectrum of Puerto Ricans are now actively demanding the "4-Ds": demilitarization, decontamination, devolution (return of the lands), and development of Vieques, the small island in the U.S. colony used as a Navy bombing target. Similarly, the release of 11 Puerto Rican political prisoners in September was greeted with widespread celebration across the island colony and among Puerto Rican communities in the mainland United States, despite the harsh parole conditions imposed. While some fear a conservative backlash against the release of the political prisoners that might counter the growing demands regarding Vieques, the jubilant mood has helped bolster the community spirit of resistance to the Navy's target practice on Vieques, still home to nearly 10,000 determined residents.
On July 4, 50,000 people demonstrated in Puerto Rico for the Navy to quit Vieques. On September 8, 175 people participated in a People´s Assembly of the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques (CRDV) in Isabel Segunda, Vieques. The assembly represented diverse sectors of Vieques: church officials, leaders of all the political parties, fishermen, the Alliance of Vieques Women, youth, and leaders of the four full-time resistance camps inside the bombing area. A resolution was unanimously approved in which the people "reaffirm the use of civil disobedience in its efforts to demilitarize and bring peace to Vieques".
Arraignment in federal court for Pablo Connelly, the only person arrested as the occupation began last spring, was postponed until mid-October.
Despite threats from the Navy and their supporters in the Senate, and strong rumors of imminent arrests in the last week, at press time no more police action had been taken against the resistance camps. Preparations to nonviolently resist eviction are being made, including lists of those prepared to take the place of anyone arrested. Hundreds participate in regular vigils outside the main entrance to Camp Garcia. A decision is expected soon from the President on the government's view of Vieques' future, and a telephone campaign to persuade the White House of the urgency to stop the bombing and withdraw the Navy has begun.
For more information, contact the CRDV, P.O. Box 1424 Vieques, Puerto
Rico 00765, (787)741-8651, email: email@example.com