I’m a historian on Vieques, a Puerto Rican island the U.S. Navy bombed for 60 years. I was arrested several times for protesting the Navy on Vieques, which is now a Superfund site (and is being gentrified). Many locals with cancer – including myse...
Hi! I'm Robert Rabin, a 40-year resident of a small Puerto Rican island called Vieques. Since World War II, the U.S. Navy and NATO troops trained for war and dropped hundreds of thousands of pounds of bombs here – some of which never exploded and that they still haven’t cleaned up. Today there's higher rates of cancer here than on the main island. I have gastro-intestinal cancer, which I believe is a result of all the contaminants on the island.
I moved to Vieques from the states as a graduate student and got heavily involved in the anti-occupation movement. I was arrested several times for protesting the Navy. My wife was arrested too. Now I host a community radio show and I'm the director of the island’s historical archives, housed inside what was a political prison during the Spanish occupation.
Nowadays, I'm witnessing even more struggles: The rapid gentrification of Vieques by wealthy developers from the U.S. mainland, along with the Navy's cleaning up of unexploded munitions from the island – by blowing them up.
AJ+ spoke to me and featured these issues in the latest episode of "Direct From With Dena Takruri.”. Ask me anything!
For more stories like this, check out Direct From.
EDIT: Thanks for your questions everyone! Signing off now. Take care.