|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, please contact:
Stephanie Westbrook, Tel: 240-383-0574
Medea Benjamin, 415-235-6517
WOMEN LEADING GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT
IN VICENZA, ITALY ARRIVE IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
May 1, 2007 -- Two of the women leading the campaign
against a new U.S. military base in Vicenza, Italy
have arrived in Washington, D.C. and will remain
until May 7 to draw attention to the strong opposition
against the planned base, which has grown from
a local movement to become a national cause, an
issue which contributed to the recent fall, albeit
temporary, of the Italian government. The trip
includes visits to congressional offices to reaffirm
the movement's determination to stop construction
of the proposed base.
"We are convinced that what Italy, indeed
the world, needs is not another military base,"
explains Cinzia Bottene, who has become the public
face of this grassroots movement. "We welcome
Americans in Vicenza to visit our beautiful treasures,
learn about our rich history and enjoy our food
and wine. But what we don't want are more soldiers,
planes and military hardware."
Cinzia Bottene, together with Thea Valentina
Gardellin, will also meet with U.S. peace activists
in order to develop common strategies and garner
support for their cause. And they intend to raise
consciousness among U.S. citizens on the effects
of foreign military bases on local populations,
including urban and environmental impact, damage
to the local economy and the risk of terrorist
Vicenza, a town of 120,000 and showcase of renowned
Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, is also
a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is already
home to several U.S. military installations, including
Camp Ederle dating back to 1955. This new base
will serve to unite the 173rd Airborne Brigade
currently based in Italy and Germany and will
be located at the little used civilian airport
Tommaso Dal Molin, just a few 100 meters from
the Palladio's "Villa Caldogno" and
surrounded by a residential area.
Though negotiations between the U.S. and Italian
governments, along with the local administrators,
had been going for over 2 years, news began to
leak out only in May 2006 and local residents,
led by the women, mounted a grassroots campaign
collecting 8,000 signatures opposing the base
in just 10 days. Two national demonstrations have
been held, bringing people from all over Italy,
the last of which was February 17, 2007 with over
100,000 people. A permanent camp was set up near
the site of new base in early January and has
been a focal point of the movement ever since.
Despite the Italian government's recent approval
of the project, the people are determined to continue
as long as it takes.
For interviews with the Italian
women, contact Stephanie Westbrook at 240-383-0574
or Medea Benjamin at 415-235-6517.