Citizens Protest New Mexican Congressional Delegation’s Complicity in New Nuclear Arms Race

MEDIA AND PUBLIC ADVISORY

Citizens Protest New Mexican Congressional Delegation’s Complicity in New Nuclear Arms Race

Contacts:         

Greg Corning, President, Santa Fe Veterans for Peace, cogreg@gmail.com, 510-206-9767

Bob Josephs, Santa Fe Veterans for Peace, rajosephs@msn.com, 505.466-3081 or 505. 610-6111

Joni Arends, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety jarends@nuclearactive.org, 505-986-1973

Rev. Jean Darling, Nonviolent Santa Fe, jdarling@sandwich.net, 312.405.9470

Jay Coghlan, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, jay@nukewatch.org, 505.989.7342

What:  On the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, citizens protest New Mexican congressional delegation’s complicity in a new nuclear arms race. Santa Fe Archbishop releases statement calling for verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons. Veterans for Peace present congressional offices with an alternative “Nuclear Posture Review.”

When:  Friday October 14, 2022, 12:00 – 1:00 pm.

Where: 120 S. Federal Place, Santa Fe, NM, outside of main post office and offices of Senator Ben Ray Lujan and Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (and by extension Senator Martin Heinrich’s office on Marcy St).

Why: The world is again on the precipice of nuclear disaster.

Background: This weekend marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis – widely regarded as the closest the world has ever come to nuclear Armageddon. The dangers of nuclear war have risen sharply in recent months. In response, a nation-wide coalition of nearly 100 organizations has come together to educate the public and call on elected officials to de-escalate tensions between the nuclear superpowers.

Protesters are calling for specific actions by the U.S. government, including: 

•  Rejoining arms control treaties that the U.S. unilaterally pulled out of;

•  Dealerting nuclear weapons from their immediate ready-to-launch status;

•  Declaring an explicit policy of “No First Use” of nuclear weapons;

•  Eliminating dangerous intercontinental ballistic missiles;

•  Supporting congressional action to avert nuclear war (H. Res. 1185); 

•   Canceling expanded plutonium “pit” bomb core production since it is not to maintain the safety and reliability of the existing stockpile, but instead is for speculative new-design nuclear weapons that could prompt a return to testing; and

•   Diverting the planned $2 trillion dollars for nuclear weapons “modernization” to real pressing social security needs, such as wildfire and environmental protection and better schools. 

This protest will be one of several dozen taking place on the same day across the country as part of a growing Defuse Nuclear War campaign. The local organizers will meet with Senator Martin Heinrich’s office earlier in the day to discuss these issues. In addition, the Raging Grannies will perform at the protest. 

“Few Americans realize we’re closer to nuclear war than ever,” said Greg Corning, the President of the Santa Fe Chapter of Veterans for Peace. “This is tragically serious, even pathetic 60 years after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Yet here we go again. When will we learn to get rid of genocidal nuclear weapons?”

Veterans for Peace’s Bob Josephs recounted, “As a young Air Force officer near Izmir, Turkey during the Cuban Missile Crisis, I was in charge of three nuclear-armed Jupiter missiles kept on hair-trigger alert. I later learned that these missiles were the provocation for Khrushchev stationing Soviet missiles in Cuba. Robert McNamara, Defense Secretary under Kennedy, said we avoided nuclear war only by luck. A better plan than just plain dumb luck is to verifiably eliminate nuclear weapons as we pledged to do long ago in the 1970 NonProliferation Treaty.”

The New Mexican congressional delegation frequently touts expanding nuclear weapons programs at the Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories as jobs programs. Yet New Mexico remains mired at the bottom of numerous socioeconomic indicators, such as the most children living in poverty and declining per capita income relative to the other 49 states. The Department of Energy plans to spend $9.4 billion in the Land of Enchantment this fiscal year, more than the entire State’s operating budget of $8.5 billion. Yet the economic benefits appear to stay in privileged enclaves such as Los Alamos County (the fourth richest county in the USA), while some of the poorest communities in the nation are contiguous to the Lab. The protesters’ question: what good does all that DOE money do for the average New Mexican? 

Joni Arends of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety invited everyone to join the protest to express their concerns about the escalation of tensions between the nuclear superpowers and to oppose expanded plutonium pit production at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. She asked, “Someday Putin will be gone, but do we have to live with nuclear weapons forever? We need to avoid the tit for tat of an ever spiraling nuclear arms race that can end in Armageddon. Instead of chasing nuclear weapons pork, our congressional delegation should instead lead us with wisdom toward a future world free of nuclear weapons. We are calling on them to do just that and to begin now.”

# # #

Concurrent events are being organized by Veterans for Peace in Albuquerque, NM. Contact Bill Tiwald at tiwaldbill@gmail.com or Charles Powell at crpowell5@gmail.com

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