Associated Press
December 7, 1999

Puerto Rican Guerrilla Warns U.S.

          By The Associated Press

          SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- A fugitive Puerto Rican guerrilla
          leader warned Tuesday that his group would take action if the U.S. Navy
          renews its military training exercises on Vieques island.

          Filiberto Ojeda Rios, head of the Macheteros, or Cane Cutters, refused
          to say what the group might do. But it has been blamed for a series of
          attacks on civilian and U.S. military targets in Puerto Rico, including a
          1979 shooting at a Navy bus that killed two people and wounded nine

          ``They know that we speak seriously,'' Ojeda Rios said in an interview
          broadcast on radio station WIAC.

          Protesters have occupied a Navy bombing range on Vieques since a
          civilian guard was killed on April 19 in an accidental bombing. U.S. Navy
          operations on the island have been the target of protests and legal actions
          since the 1960s.

          On Friday, President Clinton announced that limited exercises would
          resume next spring but that the range will close in five years. Puerto Rican
          officials want an immediate closure.

          In his interview, Ojeda Rios said the Macheteros ``will be paying very
          close attention to Vieques.''

          Ojeda Rios was sentenced in absentia to 55 years in prison for the 1983
          robbery of $7.2 million from a Wells Fargo armored truck in West
          Hartford, Conn. He was arrested in 1985 but disappeared while on bail
          in 1990. In January, the FBI increased its reward for his capture from
          $150,000 to $500,000.

          Also Tuesday, 10 people were arrested outside the United Nations
          headquarters in New York for carrying out a protest against U.S. military
          training on Vieques, a U.N. spokesman said.

          The demonstration caused delays at the main U.N. visitors' entrance and
          brought a temporary halt to U.N. tours to ensure that none of the
          protesters joined the tour groups, spokesman Fred Eckhard said. He
          said the 10 demonstrators were charged with disorderly conduct.