Vieques activists warn of speculators

In a “Special Report from the Peace and Justice Camp,” peace activists in Vieques, Puerto Rico, are warning that there are “speculators and foreign economic interests that seek control of our lands.”

The Peace and Justice Camp was originally set up just outside the gates to Camp García, the Navy’s former bombing range, by the Committee for Rescue and Development of Vieques (CPRDV). The U.S. Navy stopped using the island for target practice in May of this year.

The CPRDV wants the area deeded over to the people of Vieques so they can develop it in an ecologically sound manner. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service currently has control over the area.

The report said that a recent critique of two projects initiated by the Puerto Rican government written by John Todd and titled “A Golden Opportunity for Vieques to be Green,” published in The New York Times, is an indication of outside speculators working to take over Vieques. “Todd does not mention in his article that he is part of an international consortium based in New York that plans a mega-hotel complex for Vieques,” says the report.

The activists quoted a project description for the proposed Sun Bay Resort that calls Vieques “a quasi-deserted Caribbean island” where developers plan on “acquiring approximately 500 acres of land” to build “a 200-room, beach front hotel; a 75-cabin, ecological village; a 45-room hilltop inn; and a 40-room golf club hotel … several restaurants, bars and clubs, an 18-hole golf course, marina facilities, river pools, health and beauty spas, sailing, scuba and equestrian schools, a botanical garden, riding paths and polo fields.”

The Peace and Justice Camp report welcomes the recent establishment of the Community Coalition for Sustainable Development. It concludes in a fighting spirit, stating, “The struggle to control our economy will be fierce and against great odds – as was the struggle to end the military presence. We stopped the bombing and we can also stop the speculators and others who would try to take advantage of this blessed island that belongs, by natural right, to the next generations of Viequenses.”

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