The Florida Times-Union
Navy Win-Win Solution
November 16, 2000
When a new U.S. president takes office in January, his first order of business may be to deal with the latest crisis over the naval bombing range on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.
After a man was killed by a bomb during a botched practice run last year, the United States and Puerto Rico agreed to let people there settle the issue by a referendum in February 2002 or before. The choice will be to close the bombing range or keep it open in exchange for $50 million in aid.
But Puerto Ricans elected a new governor this month, one who ran on a platform of opposing U.S. statehood and ending the bombings. She pledges to stop the bombardments by tightening noise regulations. She also says her government will work diligently to get people to vote against the range.
Her wishes, and those of those who voted for her, should be honored.
Rather than sending tens of millions of dollars in aid, the bombing range should be closed and the land sold, at its true value, to the Puerto Rican government. Then Puerto Rico should be granted its independence.
That way, Puerto Rico could never become a state nor could Vieques ever be a bombing range again.
All's well that ends well.