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Government Responses to Hidden Dump

Submitted Y., July 2001

La Prensa Grafica, June 7, 2001

In its first statements, the United States Embassy declared that the arms dumped in the area did not cause the earthquakes, saying that it was scientifically impossible. Nobody, however, had ever made the charge that the arms were responsible for the earthquakes. But, there is knowledge that both the US and Russia have fabricated earthquakes by placing bombs deep into the ground in strategic places.

The Salvadoran ministers and the official party, ARENA, have defended the United States and want to quickly forget the issue. On Tuesday, June 12, the special commission met with FUNDASISMICA and UNES. The message sent was very clear. ARENA deputies verbally attacked Mr. Colindres and accused the NGOs and the FMLN of carrying out "a political campaign to attack the government of the United States."

La Prensa Grafica, June 13, 2001

Furthermore, on June 19, 2001, the Salvadoran Minister of Defense, Juan Antonio Martinez Varela, stated that it was the Salvadoran military that dumped almost 20 tons of highly explosive arms into the same dumping ground in 1997. Apparently, this is an effort to protect the US in case of a possible investigation of the site, since El Salvador's arms came from the United States. The Salvadoran official party and the United States government have gave misleading statements, withheld information, and shown no political will to reveal what is at the bottom of the sea.

ARENA, the Salvadoran military and the United States government are trying to disband the commission, claiming there is nothing to investigate. In an interview on June 5, the Minister of Defense gave little importance to the possible effects on the environment stating, "...since when has the environment been in style?" Even the Minister of the Environment, Ana Majano doesn't seem to have much concern. Her response, according to the Diario de Hoy, was that "there are arms here, arms there, there are arms dumps everywhere on the planet."

El Diario de Hoy, June 20, 2001

The Minister of Foreign Relations... has stated that she feels satisfied with the explanations given by the US Ambassador Likens who has said that in 1947 the dumping ground was in international waters. (El Salvador had declared 200 miles off the coast as territorial waters, but it was not recognized. In 1986, an international treaty was signed thereby establishing 200 miles as the international norm. All countries now have 200 miles from their coast as territorial waters.)

Despite the explanations given (or lack there of) the questions and worries remain. Regarding a "left" attack on the US government, one only need ask a few simple questions: 1) who secretly dumped arms of an unknown nature and size where?; and 2)who has lied and withheld information regarding the dump?

Additionally, it certainly is questionable if the arms caused the earthquake, but this is not the primary issue and this argument is being used to divert attention from the real concern: what exactly is in the dump?; what can it cause?; and for how long have they been using it? Simply stating that other countries have arms dumps in the sea does not solve any matter and the case of El Salvador is different than that of other countries. Many dumps in other countries are created by that same country itself. In other words, an outside force is not secretly dumping unknown types of arms into another country's waters, or international waters for that matter. In addition, in other countries the dump is placed on national maps and local fishers are aware of the danger. In El Salvador, the dump was not identified on any Salvadoran map nor did the public have any knowledge of it. Furthermore, in other countries, the contents of the dump are known, making monitoring efforts possible. El Salvador does not know what is in its waters, how long it has been used, or what the effects could be; and the US does not give any specific information regarding the case.

If there is only conventional "ammunition" dating from 1947 why was it necessary to secretly hide it off the coast of another country? ... If there is no issue or concern, why are both the Salvadoran and US authorities withholding information and giving misinformation? One only has to remember a little history of US military pollution. In the Philippines, the US military has caused over 1 billion dollars in toxic environmental damage and has refused to take any responsibility. In Vieques, according to the ex-chief of the depleted uranium project, depleted uranium was found in Vieques, being used in preparation for the war on Yugoslavia. And off the Nicaraguan coast, and all along Central America, similar dumps have been found. The Nicaraguan fishing industry has complained that the catches have dropped considerably due to the mysteriously death of large populations of fish.