After many years of having lived on the island, and I speak of Puerto Rico, I am well aware of the dilemma that our people face regarding our status and political standing. Things are such that everything, and I mean everything is politicized. From the moment one gets up till the moment one lays down to rest we live in a climate of super-charged politics and there is no escaping it. It is primarily because of this that the politicians have no time for the needs of the people. It is to say the least a constant knock down drag out fight that consumes their time and energy. They are so focused on the status issue that everything else falls by the wayside. There is no need to mention the traditional greasing of palms and favoritism that is rampant throughout the Latin countries.
I have lived here for close to four decades now and that political situation has not changed one iota. In the mean time the people have suffered. It has been the rule of one party or the other and after four decades nothing has been solved. The latest tendencies have been towards importing stateside models of varying laws and customs which in effect serve more to oppress the local population than anything else and in particular the disadvantaged. Because of these tendencies we now have a sales tax system which the island never had and which has caused many financial problems for those who are struggling to make ends meet as it was . The proliferation of malls has virtually brought an end to commerce in many of the town centers or plazas as they are known. The massive increase of land development for homes starting in the $400,000.00 category, obviously not aimed at the middle or lower class, can only indicate that the present government is expecting a huge wave of stateside and foreign buyers. I believe that many of the changes are in preparation for a conversion to statehood, though no status has been determined as of yet.
It is obvious that independence is not the correct choice in spite of what the Green Party may think. First of all their percentages are low indeed about 7% of the population. In the unlikely chance of the island going towards independence there would be a mass exodus of the population because everyone would know of the catastrophe that would ensue. We have only to look at our neighbors, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba to see what the results were there. Each of these countries are in dire economic conditions.
For all of the supposed benefits statehood does not offer any good prospects and would only serve to bring about the demise of Puerto Rico as can be seen in the ongoing situation in Hawaii ( http://www.hawaii-nation.org/ ) and Alaska ( http://www.akip.org/ ) where many want to return to their previous status. In spite of what many say and believe Puerto Rican politicians and Puerto Ricans themselves would not be in charge or in control. Of course they would be in office but largely as a puppet government under the thumb of the U.S. government who in fact would be the true rulers. Little by little our population would be marginalized to the 9th ward situation that exist in New Orleans and in many cities and towns throughout the United States. One has only to take a stroll through American history to see the plight of the original occupants, the Native American Indians ( http://www.aimovement.org/ ). There is no need to mention the treatment of the blacks and other ethnics living within the United States ( http://www.nyise.org/blackhistory/blkhistory.html ) as that has not truly changed as much as it is portrayed.
As for continued association with the United States as the PPD ( Partido Popular Democratic ) would want, we all have seen the results of that. Our people have been turned into welfare junkies waiting around for hand-outs and federal money. Many who are in the low income bracket find they have to live a life of duplicity, corruption and intrigue in order to qualify for low income housing and survive. When I say low income I mean as classified on the island, not the national poverty level that exist in the United States which is far higher ( http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/04poverty.shtml. ). A friend had recently related this plight to me stating how many found it was better not to work and get welfare ( or PAN as it is called here ) since upon getting a job they would not qualify for low income housing ( which refers to what are called caserios here, which would be projects in the states ) and would be forced into a situation of having to pay high rents they could not afford. That in effect is the situation for many on the island.
So, what is to be the solution for this dilemma? This is the million dollar question ( maybe billion taking in inflation ). Obviously the solution is not to be found in any of the ones offered by the current agendas. Maybe it is in compromise of the various agendas. Obviously Puerto Rico cannot survive on its own. We have no real natural resources like oil or coal fields and thank God. If we would have had those Puerto Rico would have been obliterated and vanished from existence! We would have become an ecological nightmare similar to the situation that currently exist in the Nigeria Delta ( http://www.isn.ethz.ch/news/sw/details.cfm?id=14670 ). I cannot really say what the solution is. It would take a profound genius to come up with the solution that would work and yet maintain our identity and our culture. In the mean time we continue with our dilemma and hope that we will not face the loss of our language or extinction as have many others ( http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0515-05.htm ).
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