Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Ann Miles

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This thesis examines the two years that followed the death of a civilian, David Sanes on April 1999, when a Marine Corps F-18 pilot accidentally dropped two 500- pound bombs on an observation post on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. Following the death of Sanes and for the first time in contemporary history, all competing political parties, the Viequenses, and religious leaders apparently reached an initial consensus that resulted in a series of efforts to evict the Navy from Vieques.

Importantly, this coalition adopted an environmental discourse that is essentially anti-Navy. This thesis draws upon this anti-Navy discourse to examine many of the socio-political aspects as they impact the health concerns among the Vieques residents. Drawing upon both new environmental anthropology and critical medical anthropology's conception of the body, these health and ecological concerns are mediated by cultural perceptions about the environment and its relationship to the body in health and illness. This approach has been framed to highlight and understand the reemergence of the anti-Navy movement of the 1970s and 80s and its widespread support by a broad spectrum of political and social sectors, which materialized into nationwide demonstrations.

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