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What would you do if you found out that people in your neighborhood had a 30% higher cancer rate, 25% higher infant mortality rate, and 95% higher cirrhosis of the liver rate than the surrounding area? Then you found out that hair sample surveys of your neighbors showed that 34% of the population have toxic levels of mercury, 55% are contaminated with lead, 69% with arsenic, 69% with cadmium, 90% with aluminum, and 93% with antimony. What would you do? What would you expect your government to do?
The truth is that this is just a hypothetical for most Americans. If those problems showed up in New York City or St. Louis, MO, the response would be immediate and overwhelming. But sadly when those problems began to emerge in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and the Americans affected were very poor, often spoke Spanish, and were living without direct representation in our government, the response has been to try to sweep the problem under the rug.
Thankfully, TIME Magazine has just broken a story at the national level that has been well known to the people of Puerto Rico for a long time. Studies by Yale, UGA, San Juan College of Engineers, and many other have proven beyond a doubt that the people are being poisoned by the results of 60+ years of naval weapons testing on the island. But until this Time piece, there was virtually no attention being paid to this crisis.
The health situation in Vieques is a black and white moral imperative. We must address the needs of our fellow citizens down there who are truly the least and last in our society. Americans will demand action if they understand the facts. Please spread the word and contact your Congressman.
Click here to read the Time article: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1924101,00.html
And click here for more details and history: http://americanvaluesnetwork.org/vieques/