Published: Saturday 31 March 2001

The residents of Vieques, a Puerto Rican island, have achieved a landmark victory in a long-standing dispute about the us navy's activities on their island. The us navy uses Vieques to provide training to battle groups. Donald H Rumsfeld, the us defence secretary, recently ordered the navy to call off one of its planned training exercise scheduled to be held on the island. "The decision is a momentary triumph and not an eternal victory," said anti-navy activist Ismael Guadalupe. "We need to intensify our efforts to try and transform this suspension into a permanent halt to the navy's bombing on the island," rues Guadalupe.

The residents allege that the navy's activities are causing heart diseases and have increased cancer cases on the island by 52 per cent (see Down To Earth , Vol 9, No 20, March 15, p12). The navy denies any link between its training activities and health problems on Vieques.

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