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From death row:

Mumia in solidarity with Vieques

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

To many in America, the word "Vieques" is virtually meaningless. To Puerto Ricans, both on the island and on the U.S. mainland, the word "Vieques" is a reason for rage, and a stimulus to anger.

Why? Because the history of the island of Vieques, a small island that is part of Puerto Rico, proves clearly that Puerto Rico and her territories are merely prettified colonies of the U.S. Empire.

Vieques, a municipality of Puerto Rico, was expropriated--taken--by the U.S. Navy in 1941. And three-quarters of Vieques became a military bombing ground, and tens of thousands of island residents were forced off their farms and lands, some settling on the "big island" (Puerto Rico), and others taking up life in the Virgin Islands, leaving the land of their birth.

Acclaimed Puerto Rican nationalist Pedro Albizu Campos would aptly accuse the U.S. Navy of carrying out a campaign of genocide against the people of Vieques, noting that "Vieques' society is dying ... due to a cold, deliberate and intentional attack by the U.S. government."

The proud nationalist would also lambaste the Puerto Rican colonial government for "collaborating with Yanqui despotism on the island by maintaining silence regarding the cold-hearted destruction perpetrated by the U.S. in Vieques."

Albizu Campos was right when he wrote these words in 1948; he remains right. An empire doesn't ask; it takes. A colony has no choice in the matter; it gets taken.

The fate of Vieques is indissolubly linked to that of the big island (Puerto Rico) and lies at the very heart of the imperial-colonial relationship.

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