Residents of a historic Hispanic village near the site where the U.S. government tested the first atomic bomb have praised President Barack Obama's planned visit to Hiroshima — the Japanese city devastated by the first a-bomb used in war.
The residents, however, also want Obama to visit their village of Tularosa.
They say generations of villagers have suffered from cancers and other health problems resulting from the Trinity Test, but the federal government has yet to fully acknowledge those effects.
"It's high time that the federal government acknowledges the sacrifices New Mexicans made," said Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders. "We are still suffering from it."
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Tularosa and other area residents were not included in the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act program, which provides a $50,000 payout as compensation for health problems.
The law only covers areas in Nevada, Arizona and Utah that are downwind from a different test site.
Officials with the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Division, which oversees the program, said Congress would have to amend the act to expand payouts to New Mexico residents.
Cordova said affected people in New Mexico may have been excluded because of racism since many are Hispanic and American Indian.
In a statement, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said residents of Tularosa deserve recognition from their government and coverage under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.
"But while our nation has long recognized the horrific suffering endured by the victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we have not adequately recognized the suffering endured by the victims of the Trinity blast right here in New Mexico," Udall said.