Vienques Puerto Rico


In 2001 EJO became very involved and concerned with the US Navy using Vieques Island as a practice bombing range. The 9,000 citizens of the island were tired of the ordinance exploded in their waters, the damage to the environment the bombing had caused, and the illnesses among them linked to the aftermath of the bombing.
EJO and nearly 180 other people were arrested for trespassing in an effort to stop a scheduled Navy bombing practice on the island. Included in the arrests were Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and US Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL). Over the next several months all were given prison sentences as punishment. Edward was sentenced to twenty days. After serving his sentence at a detention facility in San Juan, he was released on August 24th, 2001.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Edward James Olmos criticized the United States and Puerto Rico on Tuesday for not moving faster to clean up the site of a former bombing range on Vieques Island. “[Officials] have done nothing to restore an area that environmentalists say is tainted by dangerous pollutants nearly four years after the departure of the U.S. Navy. We are not going to stop until we make them see that a (cleanup) is necessary,” Olmos said at a news conference in the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan.
As a result of this pressure, and the continued resistance by the poeple of Vieques, in May 2003 the Navy withdrew from Vieques, and much of the island was designated a National Wildlife Refuge under the control of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Closure of Roosevelt Roads Naval Station followed in 2004.