City Council Approves Vieques Resolution

The Cambridge City Council approved without contest a resolution calling upon the United States Navy to relocate from its base on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques at its meeting Monday night.

The resolution was written by Councillor Kenneth E. Reeves '72 after Harvard Students for Peace in Vieques, Now! presented the idea to him.

Mayoral elections dominated the meeting, which ended with Anthony D. Galluccio's 1:30 a.m. swearing-in as the city's top official in City Hall's Sullivan Chamber.

But more than six hours earlier, Hans S. Perl-Matanzo '01, Kimberly M. Sanchez '03 and Antonio J. Torres, a member of the National Conference for Puerto Rican Rights, spoke before the council, urging its members to pass the resolution urging the Navy to "return the land to the municipality of Vieques for civilian uses."

Perl-Matanzo said the Navy has been a destructive presence on the island since it first established a base there 59 years ago.

"The more than 30,000 residents of Vieques were forced to live in 29 percent of the island, while the U.S. Navy appropriated over 70 percent of the land to establish a live-bombing practice site," said Perl-Matanzo, who is the founder and director of the Harvard student group.

"Fifty percent of the Vieques population is unemployed and a whopping 70 percent live under the poverty line," he added.

Sanchez said the Navy's bombing practices on the island have greatly harmed the island's environment.