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No US Bases in Vicenza, Italy Please!
Saturday, 04 July 2009 04:28
Presidio Permanente
“No Dal Molin” Vicenza, Italy

Dear President Obama,

Your victory sent a wave of hope across the world and we, too, now believe that change is possible.

Our hope is that you will know how to demonstrate, in no uncertain terms, that the rights of the weakest can be heard and it is with this hope in mind that we are writing.

We, citizens of Vicenza, heard your victory speech in Chicago last November 4th in which you echoed the words of Abraham Lincoln, "a government of the people, by the people and for the people" and went on to say "I will listen to you, especially when we disagree." For this very reason we ask that you listen.

In a few days you will be in Italy for the G8 summit and on that occasion we invite you to visit Vicenza, our city.

Since 1955, Vicenza has hosted several U.S. military installations, including the base of Camp Ederle. Now Vicenza is being asked to make yet another major sacrifice: the construction of a second U.S. military base in our city, in the middle of a residential area and just one mile from the historic center city.

And all this in a UNESCO World Heritage city and showcase for the architect Andrea Palladio, whose genius also inspired the style of the White House.

In opposition to this, a mass movement sprung up, which includes tens of thousands of people determined to stop the construction of the new U.S. base. A delegation representing the citizens testified before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction And Veterans Affairs (Chairman Edwards) on April 23, 2009, illustrating the legitimate concerns and grounds for the opposition.

For three years, women and men, young and old, wealthy and ordinary people have been working together to defend the city and the future of our land for future generations. We like you, started in neighborhoods and built a community working for change.

This has nothing to do with anti-Americanism, which is how our movement is often painted. Our concerns are based on facts, and we would therefore like to ask you a few questions:

- In the United States, would be possible to build a military base one mile from the city center of a UNESCO World Heritage site?

This is what is happening in Vicenza.

- In the United States, would be possible to do this without consulting the local population and going against the will of local residents, who during a recent referendum voted 95% opposed?

This is what is happening in Vicenza.

- In the United States, would be possible to build a military base above one of the most important ground water sources on the continent (the one in Vicenza is considered one of the most important here in Europe), vital for the population, placing it at serious risk of contamination and in violation of existing legislation? This is what is happening in Vicenza.

- Vicenza, a city that has always had a strong vocation for peace, is destined to become the home of the most important U.S. base in Europe, a command center for Africom as well as an integral part of the strategy of preventive war designed and pursued by the Bush administration, which has thus far proved a failure. With what rights do you impose this upon us?

If the words written in the Declaration of Independence of the United States have real value and if you, like us, believe in values such as democracy, respect, legality and transparency, then you should know that these values are being denied in Vicenza.

No national interests can justify such an irresponsible project.

National interests are best protected when they take into account and respect the wishes of the people.

We urge you to not assume the responsibility of such a flawed choice. Stop this project.

But don't take our word for it. During your upcoming stay in Italy in few days, come to Vicenza to see the situation for yourself and determine whether the implementation of this ill-advised project should continue.


Please receive, Mr. Obama, our best regards.

The people of the
Presidio Permanente
Vicenza, Italy

Please contact us at comunicazione@nodalmolin.it
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