Culebra Graffiti Tank

Culebra Graffiti Tank – Caribbean Wallpaper Wednesday

Suppose I told you there was a small, remarkably idyllic island in the Caribbean just a short distance from the mainland United States. An island so immaculate, plans were in the works to make it a National Wildlife Refuge. A near-National Wildlife Refuge with a beach rated among the bestin the world. A paradise where you could essentially do whatever you wanted along its iridescent shores with little chance of being interrupted by prying eyes.

What’s the first thing you’d do?

Well, if you were the U.S. Military back in 1901 and the destination in question was Culebra, you’d blow it all to Hell!

Bombed Paradise

Acquired from Spain at the end of the Hispano-American war in 1898, Culebra was just a tiny speck of a place. I mean, there were barely 500 residents!

Sure it had some exports. Wood, turtle oil, and coconuts, mostly.

I can’t imagine, though, that anyone sitting in Washington back then cared at all about Culebra.

That lack of connection, plus the looming prospect of war, led to the relocation of Culebra’s few residents once Uncle Sam took over.

U.S. Military forces booted los Culebrenses to the far side of their island. The rest of the land they being used for target practice and war games.

And so it was, for nearly 75 years, that bombs pounded la “Última Virgen.”

(The nickname reflects Culebra’s position at the end of the Virgin Islands archipelago where us Bennett boys were born and raised).

You read that right, seventy-five years! After many protests by los Culebrenses and other friends of this beautiful island like Puerto Rican Independence Party President Ruben Berrios, the Military finally ceased their arial and naval attacks… Only to move next door to Vieques!

If you grew up in the area, like Steve and I did, you can probably still remember occasionally hearing the sounds of bombardments on Vieques echoing across the Caribbean. We could certainly hear and feel them all the way over in St Croix.

Eventually, though, the Navy was even pushed away from “La Isla Nena” in 2003. Mostly.

Echoes of War in Culebra Today

Not much remains of the U.S. Military in Culebra today. One of the more uncommon reminders: the Culebra graffiti tank.

Rusting tank hulks rest at the water’s edge. They serve as a reminder of Culebra’s 75 years as the center of a sparkling, turquoise bullseye.

I took the shot that became this week’s Caribbean Wallpaper on my first trip to the island. You can find this tank sporting peace symbols at the far end of Flamenco Beach for yourself sometime…

Or just download this image now and bring a little uncommon peace to your desktop today.


Get the wallpaper now

Last updated by Patrick Bennett on .

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