The battle for Vieques' future

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Abstract

This article analyzes power dynamics in Vieques, Puerto Rico in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Navy's closure of its five fire range on the island. The essay examines several aspects of Vieques' continuing struggle in a post-Navy world. It considers residents' hopes and views of different kinds of development; the ramifications of former Navy-occupied land being classified as "environmentally protected"; and finally, potential organizing principles for directing Vieques' development, looking at the challenges and opportunities facing activists. The essay considers how cultural nationalism not only offers potential building blocks for collective action and opposition to privatization, but an egalitarian vision of the future where all residents would be able to access and enjoy resources considered collective patrimony.

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Keywords

  • Civil-military relations
  • Cultural nationalism
  • Environmental justice
  • Puerto Rico
  • Socio-economic development
  • Vieques Island

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