Juan Carlos Rodríguez (Primary) & Aaron Santesso (Secondary)
Screenplay for medium-length historical film
The Battle of the Fishermen is the screenplay for a medium-length film about the struggle of the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico, who mobilized over many decades to get the U.S. Navy out of their island.
For over 60 years, the U.S. Navy used Vieques as a bombing range and a site to practice amphibious landings. This caused enormous suffering to the local population, who lived with the sound of bombs day and night. The island is still contaminated with uranium, mercury, and other heavy metals from the ammunition and explosives, and unexploded ordnance can still be found. Many Vieques families have lost loved ones to cancer, which doctors attribute to the contamination of the soil, water, and air.
The fishermen of Vieques organized, and they spearheaded a movement that eventually ousted the most powerful Navy in the world. With their small boats, they confronted the warships of the U.S. Navy and its NATO allies, and they succeeded in stopping their military exercises. In this battle, David defeated Goliath.
"While I had a general idea about the decades-long struggle of the people of Vieques to oust the U.S. Navy from their island, learning from the protagonists’ first-hand accounts about the difficulties that they faced and the victories that they were able to achieve was truly fascinating, and was an incentive to disseminate this part of Puerto Rican history that is rarely covered by the mass media in the United States. That is precisely one of the main goals of my project: to convey this under-reported story to the world."