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Residents of Vieques, a small island just off the east coast of Puerto Rico, live wedged between an ammunition depot and live bombing range for the U.S. Navy. Since the 1940s when the navy expropriated over two-thirds of the island, residents have struggled to make a life amid the thundering of bombs and the rumbling of weaponry fire. Like the army's base in Okinawa, Japan, the facility has drawn vociferous protests from residents who challenged U.S. security interests overseas. In 1999, when a local civilian employee of the base was killed by a stray bomb, Vieques again erupted in protests that have mobilized tens of thousands of individuals and have transformed this tiny Caribbean island into the setting for an international cause celebre.
Katherine T. McCaffrey gives a complete analysis of the troubled relationship between the U.S. Navy and island residents. She explores such topics as the history of U.S. naval involvement in Vieques; a grassroots mobilization--led by fisherman--that began in the 1970s; how the navy promised to improve the lives of the island residents--and failed; and the present-day emergence of a revitalized political activism that has effectively challenged naval hegemony.
Military bases overseas act as lightning rods for anti-American sentiment, thus threatening his country's image and interests abroad. By analyzing this particular, conflicted relationship, the book also explores important lessons about colonialism and postcolonialism and the relationship of the United States to the countries in which it maintains military bases.
Katherine T. McCaffrey is an assistant professor of anthropology at Montclair State University, New Jersey.
|Acronyms and Spanish Terms|
|1||A Strategic Colony on the Margins of the Empire||17|
|2||Cultural Identity In Vieques||43|
|3||The Fishermen's War||67|
|4||We Are a Species in Danger of Extinction: The Aftermath of the Fishermen's Crusade||98|
|5||Organizing for Change||124|
|6||From Pescadores to Rescatores: The Resurgence and Transformation of Struggle||147|
|7||The Battle of Vieques||173|