Dear friends of Vieques,
We are starting to get more media coverage about the situation in Vieques and the Fast for Justice and Peace: An Appeal to the Conscience of President Clinton to Meet with Church and Civic Leaders of Vieques, Puerto Rico. The National Catholic Reporter had a story in its Sept. 1 issue, and the Washington Post has one today (see below). Other press articles will be posted on www.viequesfast.org
Please take action by coming to Washington on Friday, Sept. 22, 2000 at noon, Lafayette Park across from the White House for the National Day in Solidarity with the People of Vieques. If President Clinton does not grant the long-requested meeting prior to then, the fast will enter Day 60 with 40 on water-only. If you cannot make it to Washington, plan to go to New York City on Saturday October 21, 2000 for a March for Peace in Vieques. For details see: www.viequesfast.org
My health condition is excellent in the 26th day of the water-only fast. The doctor monitoring me wants to examine me in two weeks. The blood test results have shown no problems. If you would like to join an email list which will give updated information about my health, please send a message to: email@example.com
TAKE ACTION, Urge the President and his aides to hold a face-to-face meeting with Church and Community Leaders from Vieques and Puerto Rico.
Write to: President William J. Clinton, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC 20500.
firstname.lastname@example.org www.whitehouse.gov/WH/Mail/html/Mail_President.html Call: Tel. 202-456-1111
John Podesta - White House Chief of Staff Phone: (202) 456-6797 Fax: (202) 456-1907
María Echaveste - White House Deputy Chief of Staff Phone: (202) 456-6594 Fax: (202) 456-6703
Jeffrey Farrow - Co-Chair, "White House Interagency Working Group on Puerto Rico" Phone: (202) 456-5179 Fax: (202) 482-2337
Thanks for any efforts you can make for peace in Vieques,
Hunger Striker Protests Test Bombing
By Caryle Murphy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 8, 2000; B02
A United Methodist lay missionary opposed to the U.S. Navy's use of a bombing range on Vieques has been on a hunger strike for six weeks and says he will
continue his protest until President Clinton meets with Puerto Rican activists seeking an immediate end to the test bombing.
Andres Thomas Conteris, 39, calls attention to his hunger protest each weekday with a vigil outside the White House from 6:30 to 8 p.m. He said yesterday that he
has lost 35 pounds since July 25, when he began drinking only nutritious liquids. On Aug. 14, he went to a more stringent fast, taking only water.
The District resident said religious and other community leaders from Vieques, an island off the Puerto Rican coast, want to meet Clinton "so they can tell him face to
face what impact the bombing is having on their communities and congregations."
He cited such problems as higher cancer rates, environmental damage and frightened children.
Conteris, who is a member of Fellowship of Reconciliation, a faith-based group seeking the "demilitarization" of Puerto Rico, doesn't support a compromise on the
target range reached in January by the Clinton administration and Puerto Rican Gov. Pedro Rossello.
Under the agreement, Vieques' 9,500 residents will vote next year in a referendum that offers them a choice: Ban the Navy's use of the range after May 1, 2003, or
allow the range's use to continue, with live bombs, in exchange for $50 million in new federal aid.
The U.S. military is now using only non-exploding bombs in its training and is limiting exercises to 90 days a year. Also, Congress has appropriated $40 million for
health and environmental projects on Vieques and is considering transferring part of the Navy's land to local ownership.
But Conteris calls Rossello "a traitor" for accepting the deal, and he said he and other activists "want the bombing to stop now."
Jeffrey Farrow, co-chair of the White House Interagency Working Group on Puerto Rico, said Clinton "has met the concerns of the people of Vieques to the fullest
extent possible . . . while fulfilling his responsibility to ensure the necessary training for our young men and women in uniform."
The agreement, Farrow added, has been endorsed by Puerto Rico's legislature and Vieques' mayor.
The Navy, which has used the Vieques range for five decades, says it is the only place where its Atlantic Fleet can hold simultaneous land, air and sea exercises using
© 2000 The Washington Post Company
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