Vieques, Puerto Rico -_-.–_-_——-_-__—–:___-_——I.,.=z ,_————‘—X—— ________ –.- .—- –..,..-%—-,_ —–=, -,_.,.-1.–;;-%_——–,:-‘—,, ———___ -____ ft —–__.——,__ ——-,_____ _,_-_,.,———_—.-f.4, ————-_—-_——–, -=_’.—,,,,. ,_. .—= -: X-:-*’-.z. -.—_-,.-,,-_:_. _–,.. _.,__-_,_.-__ Above: After working several months scraping paint from the observation post in the Navy’s bombing range, Orlando Garcia lost all the hair on his body. Tests show that he has high levels of several heavy metals and uranium. At right: Protestors outside Navy installations on Vieques FACING PAGE: At left: Vieques resident Luis Angel Navarro was one of nine people who entered the bombing zone last October. At right: Pablo Hernandez still carries the letter his father received from the U.S. government, offering him $50 for his property. 22 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3/30/01 Photographs by Alan Pogue Text by Barbara Belejack or decades the U.S. Navy has conduct ed military training exerciseslive-fire “war games”on the island ofVieques,” located off the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico. During World War II, the federal government expropriated twothirds of the island, ordering local fishermen and farmers to leave or face eviction. Those who chose to remain on Vieques, which has a current population of about 10,000, live in a narrow strip in the middle of the island. According to a study released earlier this year by the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, vegetation on the island is contaminated as a result of the bombing and is unfit for human consumption. Other studies have indicated that island residents have a higher incidence of cancer and other diseases than residents of the main island of Puerto RicO. After initial denials, the Navy admitted to firing shells tipped with depleted uranium on the Vieques range, in violation of federal law. In April 1999 a David Sanes Rodriguez, a civilian security guard, was killed during a
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