Letter to the President on Vieques
July 25, 2002
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I am writing to you on an issue of utmost importance to me and to the 10,000 U.S. Citizens that reside on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. While you have made statements to the effect that the U.S. Navy should cease its operations and depart from Vieques by May 2003 ñ less than one year away, you have yet to issue any written orders to ensure this a date certain.
For nearly 60 years, the people of Vieques have suffered the bombing that takes place only eight miles from their homes while enduring the social, environmental, economic and health impacts of these military exercises. The Navy has bombed Vieques with a wide range or ordnance, from conventional weapons to napalm and depleted uranium. Though some officials have argued a need for the operations to continue on Vieques, the U.S. Navy has already demonstrated in practice that its training needs can be satisfied through other sites and means.
In light of these facts, I urge you to issue an Executive Order for the immediate and permanent cessation of bombing and all military activities on the island of Vieques. An Executive Order such as this follows the procedures used under President Ford in terminating training on the island of Culebra, Puerto Rico in 1975 and President Bush Sr. in ending bombing practices in Kaho'olawe, Hawaii in 1990. The reasons for the cessation are clear and well known by you, the U.S. Navy, and the Department of Defense. Your action on this matter will help to finally heal an island that has borne, disproportionately, the over a half-century's negative impacts of military training.
I appreciate your consideration of this request.
Member of Congress