Today (Sunday, April 19, 2009) at 10am, a banner will be hung at the entrance of the Wildlife Refuge in Vieques, Puerto Rico to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the death of David Sanes (1957-1999). After the ceremony, the attendees will visit his grave site at the Old Cemetery. David Sanes was killed by bombs dropped by an F-18 plane over the Observation Post where he was working as a security guard. His death reignited the people’s efforts in Vieques calling for a withdrawal of the military bases and maneuvers and a stop to using the island for live-fire bombing practice. On that particular April 19, hundreds of people marched to the entrance of the Garcia Camp and stayed late into the night. This marked the reawakening of a struggle that had already become heated in the 1960’s. Sanes’ death united Puerto Ricans in a show of resistance whose messages reverberated worldwide: Not one more bomb! Navy out! Peace for Vieques! Four intense years of non-violent civil disobedience, including thousands of arrests, forced the Navy to close its base on May 1, 2003.
Also, as part of the Vieques Cultural Festival there will be a launching for Julio Muriente’s new book on Vieques, Isla Nena: Queda mucho por hacer [Little Girl Island: There Remains Much to Do], based on testimonies of the struggle for peace in Vieques. The book presentation will take place at 1:00pm at the Conde Mirasol Fort.
Photograph of Vieques fishermen blocking a U.S. Navy boat from www.prop1.org/protest/puerto_rico/000216pr.htm
For reflections on Vieques 10 years later, see http://boricuahumanrights.org/2009/04/09/vieques-la-lucha-continua-reflections-on-10-years-since-the-death-of-david-sanes/