Sign Up for Free Mailing List

May 1, 2001

Narco News 2001

The New McCarthyism in Puerto Rico

The Anti-Drug Pretext

A Dirty War Against Political Dissidents

over Vieques, Environment & Democracy

From the daily Nuevo Día of Puerto Rico

BY Héctor L. Pesquera Sevillano
Copresident of el Congreso Hostosiano

From the Vientos del Sur (VISUR) News Agency

Translated by The Narco News Bulletin

Publisher's Note: Civil Society in Puerto Rico has long opposed the U.S. military's use of Vieques Island for bombing practice and other military maneuvers. No longer can Washington and its spokespersons deny that a majority of Puerto Rican citizens want the Marines out of their islands. And so, as with the rest of our América, the official U.S. policy is to portray those with differing points of views as being somehow in cahoots with drug traffickers. As this column shows, the claim is based on no evidence at all. Drug War McCarthyism, long a staple of U.S. foreign policy, is now being waged within U.S. territory as well.

Special to Nuevo Día: I remember that a couple years ago, during the struggle against the siting of the Radar Over Horizon (ROTHR, in its Spanish acronym) in the Lajas Valley and in Vieques, Puerto Rico, that Admiral Diego Hernandez, spokesman for the marines, raised the argument that the opponents of this proposed radar were financed and supported by the narco-traffickers of the country and abroad. The then Resident Commissioner in Washington, Carlos Romero Barcelo, echoed the argument. Sound familiar?

Against all the evidence of health damages, the radar was finally sited in Juana Díaz and the transmitter - the component that emits potent electro-magnetic waves - was sited in Playa Grande, southeast of Vieques. After a year of operation, this radar, whose only purpose according to the Marines was to detect boats and airplanes suspected of drug trafficking, not one case attributable to the radar has captured drug traffickers. To the contrary, we know that it is being utilized in military exercises by the Marines in Vieques as a fundamental component in training for anti-missile systems that are being tested in the waters near Nena Island and that the Raytheon corporation wants to sell to the Defense Department.

The final test of this anti-missile system made of radars in boats, planes and on land will be conducted in Vieques this Spring. After having argued that the radiation of the ROTHR was less dangerous than a cell phone or microwave oven, they now obligate the employees and technicians of the radar in Vieques to sign a document exonerating the Marines of any health damages that they might incur, caused by the electromagnetic radiation of the Radar.

A few days ago we listened to Ms. Ileana Colon Carlo say, to the opposition of everyone, that behind the opponents of the nomination of Colonel Collazo to lead the drug czar's office were the narco-traffickers of the country. What a coincidence! The same argument that the Marines used in the case of the radar to try and demobilize public opinion and discredit the opponents of their militarist agenda. After this lack of respect and gratuitous offense against people and organizations of prestige in this country, Colon Carlo says she was quoted out of context and that what she wanted to say was that the ones who are most helped if nothing is done to attack the problem of drugs in Puerto Rico are the narco-traffickers: a demagogic argument by Ms. Colon. No one is proposing that nothing be done against drugs. To the contrary, that something different be done, that they don't continue repeating the failed strategies.

What he country hopes for and the opponents of the Czar are proposing is a social focus, healthy and preventative toward the grave problem of consumption and traffic of drugs in our country, led by a social worker or a specialist in behavioral sciences. This is an approach to the problem that will not repeat the failed and copied policies of the federal sphere, those to which Colonel Collazo has shown such loyalty. To conspire, persecute, cover up and incarcerate, no one like the Colonel, trained at the School of the Americas, now closed for its history of training dictators, torturers, police and government assassins in all of Latin America. To attack a social and mental health problem with success, a specialist in these fields with a progressive vision.

Rear Admiral of the Marines Kevin P. Green, in an article titled "Our Great Responsibility" (El Nuevo Día, February 24, 2001), after expressing his great worry for the health, well-being and peace of the people of Vieques, makes his central proposal based on the theory that if the Marines is obligated to leave Vieques because of the November 6 referendum, then the drug traffickers will increase their criminal activity in Puerto Rico and, as a consequence, the entrance of drugs into the continental United States will be uncontrollable. Newly, the subliminal message of the Rear Admiral of the Marines is clear: the opponents of the presence of the Marines in Vieques are fronting for the narco-traffickers and might be influenced by them. Those who campaign so that the Marines lose the referendum of November 6 collaborate with the interests of narco-trafficking. Coincidence or concerted strategy?

We understand the reasons that Diego Hernandez, Kevin Green and the Marines, lacking arguments to convince us of their militarist positions, sell and intend to manipulate public opinion adding to it the pain and suffering that the grave problems of drug addiction and trafficking in Puerto Rico bring. Their lack of scruples doesn't surprise us. Nor does it surprise us that one Colonel Collazo, from the head of his office as anti-drug czar and being faithful to his federal loyalties, in a given moment expresses that the control of drug trafficking in Puerto Rico requires the presence of the Marines.

However, we are surprised by the adhesion of Ileana Colon Carlo to the opera of the Marines. The tendency to associate differing opinions with drug trafficking is very dangerous and harmful. To criminalize the opposition is precisely and completely contrary to the policy of national reconciliation expressed by Governor Calderon during her campaign. Beware of falling into the temptation of justifying attacks based on manipulation and irresponsible expressions. It's no good for the country that some in charge of investigating and discovering crimes of corruption and turbid management lose their objectivity, prestige and credibility.

The Pretext Stops Here