After five years of investigations, new evidence has been
found which confirms the occurrence of a nuclear incident in the Puerto Rican
island of Vieques during the mid-60s. The incident was covered up and denied by
the United States.
The incident took place in the context of the US military
occupation of Vieques and its manoeuvres based on the island. The high command
of the US Navy in Puerto Rico had categorically denied in 1995 that an incident
with a nuclear bomb had ever occurred and commenced a campaign to suppress and
harass all reporting of the incident.
However, television pictures have shown images of the ocean
floor and beaches in the area that the US Navy uses for its war exercises, and
the damage to coral reefs and marine species caused by the bombs dropped by the
Navy. These include unexploded bombs, and the use of depleted uranium and
napalm, which have caused a high incidence of cancer among the people of
While the Vietnam War was at its height, the US Navy
aircraft, the tv station Noticentro reports, accidentally dropped a nuclear
bomb near the coast of Vieques. By chance the bomb, which had a greater power
than those of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, did not explode. Now, the
station has revealed new evidence that proves that the incident with the
nuclear bomb did indeed occur, citing a letter sent by one of the top military
assistants in the Department of Defence, Captain F. Costagliola, to the
Executive Director of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy of the US Congress,
John T. Conway. This letter unveils the shroud of secrecy that for 34 years has
concealed the nuclear incidence in Vieques. The letter, dated August 19, 1966,
includes a summary of the official report of the incident and of the search and
rescue mission carried out by the US Navy to recover the nuclear bomb.
Dr Heriberto Torres, nuclear physicist, is quoted as saying
on learning of the news, "One bomb, even one of the smallest ones,
developed during that period in history, that detonates in that place, would
have affected Puerto Rico and not only Puerto Rico. I believe [it would have
affected] the United States as well."