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11:58 p.m., April 30, 2003
11:58 p.m., April 30, 2003: People break through the gate to occupy Camp García minutes before the Navy formally gives up control at midnight.

I travelled to the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico with a Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation from April 29-May 5, 2003 to join the celebration of the U.S. Navy ceasing their exercises and practice bombing on Vieques. For decades, the U.S. military controlled 2/3 of the small island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, and some 200,000 square miles of surrounding waters, using it for military exercises, including practice bombing runs. On May 1, 2003, the U.S. Navy ceased using the site for training, thanks in large part to a broad-based coalition of environmentalists, local fishermen, union representatives, church leaders and others who intensified their cry against the military use of the island after a stray bomb killed a civilian guard in April, 1999. We joined residents of Vieques in celebrating the Navy's withdrawal and offered encouragement as the struggle for decontamination of the land and sustainable development continues.

May 1 march
May 1: Thousands of people march from the central square of Isabel II to Camp García, now called "Zona Libre 1ro de Mayo" to celebrate the end of Navy occupation.

This report and photo essay describes our experiences in Vieques. My blog entries describe events as they happened. I also have an article on these events published as “Vieques Yes, Navy No: The Long March Toward a People’s Victory,” Against the Current 18:5 (November-December 2003): 5-8.

Delegation arrives to join celebrations marking cessation of U.S. military exercises (CPTnet, April 30, 2003)

Celebrate the Struggle (CPTnet, May 7, 2003)

Cliff Kindy's letter to the people of Vieques, read to a May 3 gathering.


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