The Puerto Rican island municipality of Culebra is famous for its beaches, widely considered some of the most beautiful in the world. However, there's more to Culebra than sun, sea and sand. The people of Culebra were witness to and protagonists in a history full of resistance and struggle over their land and water, a large part of which was occupied by the US Navy for military training bases.
For many years the people of Culebra had to live their lives amidst explosions, bombs, bullets and pollution caused by the Navy, who secretly suggested to the Puerto Rican government that they get rid of the island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra and send their inhabitants to the main island of Puerto Rico; they would even send the dead from their graves.
The Navy's intention was to gain the exclusive use of both islands and ban the people of Vieques and Culebra from setting foot on their land again, even if it was to bring flowers to the gravestones of their loved ones. Due to the macabre nature of the Navy's proposal, it became known as “Plan Dracula.”
Nevertheless, the people of Culebra triumphed, succeeding in sending the Navy them from their island in 1975. Vieques expelled the Navy in 2003 after years of civil disobedience campaigns and the efforts of social movements and individuals across the political spectrum.
Some memoirs of these battles have been compiled in the documentary called “Culebra 135-40“, produced by the Puerto Rican monthly Diálogo UPR. The film is part of the publication's special series in celebration of the 135 years since the founding of Culebra, and 40 years since the Navy left.
Watch the documentary (in Spanish) below: