Para ver este documento en español, oprima aquí.


No Compromise on Vieques

Pentagon, Puerto Rican official discuss Vieques

November 1, 1999
Copyright © 1999 REUTERS LTD. All Rights Reserved.

WASHINGTON, Nov 1 - The chief of staff to Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Rossello told a top Pentagon official on Monday that the U.S. territory had no intention of compromising on its demand that the Navy abandon a live-fire training range on the island of Vieques .

Angel Morey held talks on Vieques with Defense Undersecretary Rudy DeLeon for just over an hour at the Pentagon and told reporters later that he had made clear there was no room for compromise on Puerto Rico 's position.

"There was no change in positions... no decisions were reached," a Pentagon official also told Reuters, saying the two sides had discussed the range, where a security guard was killed in an accidental bombing by U.S. Marine Corps jets on April 21.

No further talks were scheduled.

The defense official, who asked not to be identified, said Defense Secretary William Cohen was expected to make a recommendation to President Bill Clinton shortly on a study made recently by a presidential commission on Vieques. That study recommended that the range remain open for up to five more years while an alternative site was found.

Both Cohen and Clinton last month urged the Navy and officials of Puerto Rico to try to reach a compromise on the issue.

The Navy and Marine Corps say they need to keep the range open because it is unique for training aircraft carrier battle groups headed overseas.

Rossello demanded at a Senate hearing on Oct. 19 that the Navy immediately end 57 years of live-fire training on Vieques, calling the service "a shabby steward" of health and ecology there.

Rossello rejected a call the previous day from a presidential panel for the Navy to continue bombing Vieques off eastern Puerto Rico for up to five years while seeking an alternative for one of the world's largest such training ranges.

The April incident sparked demands from fishermen and independence activists in Puerto Rico that the Navy leave.

Protesters have occupied the training areas at either end of the 21-mile (33-km)-long island and the Navy temporarily has halted all live-fire training on Vieques although the aircraft carrier Eisenhower battle group is scheduled to practice there in December before its deployment overseas in February.

Self-Determination Legislation | Puerto Rico Herald Home
Newsstand | Puerto Rico | U.S. Government | Archives
Search | Mailing List | Contact Us | Feedback