Surface Forces: February 4, 2000


: Puerto Rico agreed on 31 Jan to a plan to resume limited US Navy training on Vieques Island. Under the original US offer, the US could conduct five years of training (using dummy weapons). During this time, an election would be held on the island giving the residents two choices: resumption of full US training with live ammunition or a complete US withdrawal at the end of the five years. Puerto Rican governor Rossello rejected the plan. After sharp negotiations, Puerto Rico agreed to the plan but with a three-year (rather than five year) period of continued training. It is extremely unlikely that the islanders would vote to allow the Navy to continue training indefinitely. If the Navy loses the vote, its land (more than half of the island) would be transferred to the General Services Administration, which would sell it to developers. It is the real estate developers who are behind the move to get the Navy out of Vieques.) --Stephen V Cole




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