What Happened in the Island of Vieques (and Why Is the Island Important to the U.S. Navy)?

Francisco Sainz discovered Vieques in 1843. The island got its name from a Taino Indian word that means small island. It had to tolerate more than six decades of military training from the U.S. Navy. Their activities caused detrimental effects to its people, wildlife, and surroundings. Today, they continue cleaning and observing the contaminants on the island.
What Happened in the Island of Vieques?
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The Island of Vieques is important to the U.S. Navy because it allowed them to combine the land, air, and sea maneuvers. Their military exercises held on the island replicated actual combat which is a great help for them.

What Did the U.S. Navy Use the Island of Vieques for?

It is the U.S. Navy’s location for bombing range and site of military training exercises. The island of Vieques has its major naval base complex built by the U.S. Navy. People agree that this movement influenced its social, political, and economic development. The U.S. Navy claims that the Caribbean is a U.S security zone, which explains why they used this island.

When did the U.S. Start Bombing in Vieques?

The legacy of U.S. militarism in Vieques started in the 1940s. They purchased 60% of the land of Vieques from locals – farms and sugar plantations.

Their target practice on the island has resulted in illnesses of the people. It had caused various conflicts with the Vieques residents through the years.

How Long Was Vieques Bombed?

It lasted for almost seven decades. The training ranges contain dangerous air-to-ground bombings and other harmful exercises. It is because of explosives and toxic materials used.

When Did They Stop Bombing in Vieques?

The bombing in Vieques had stopped last May 1, 2003. The demilitarization happened through mass civil disobedience. But they transferred the possession of the land to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Is the U.S. Navy Still in Vieques?

At present, no U.S. Navy is present in Vieques. 70% of the population of Vieques desired the absence of the U.S Navy as soon as possible. The cleanup efforts are necessary even up to the year 2032. The U.S. Department of Defense and Army Corps of Engineers allotted $800 million for these.

How Long Was the Navy in Vieques?

The presence of the U.S Navy in Vieques lasted for 62 years. They started their military training last November 1941.

When Did the Navy Leave Vieques?

The Navy left Vieques last 2003. June 14, 2001, was the date of the Bush administration ordinance to put an end to their operations. On May 1, 2003, a street party happened to celebrate their moving out. This event caused $750,000 damage to the facilities of the U.S. Navy.

Why the Navy Left Vieques?

For many decades, extreme activism by locals made the Navy leave Vieques. There was also a global outcry when a Puerto Rican security guard died. His cause of death was the bombing run of the military. They conducted thousands of these that risked the lives of living things.

What Did the Navy Leave on Vieques?

Contaminants from U.S. Navy activities remain and prospered on Vieques via air, water, and soil. Depleted uranium is one of the toxic waste that affect its people. The land is now under U.S Fish and Wildlife Service while under cleanup and investigation.

Does Vieques Have Radiation?

There are very low levels of radiation due to depleted uranium. It compromised the health of the citizens because they fired 263 bullets in 1999. But it is 60% less harmful than natural uranium.