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After a month of nonstop developments, protests have continued in the island

A Duel of Dreams

Naomi Klein’s The Battle for Paradise (Haymarket, 2018) describes a duel of dreams for post-Hurricane Mar’a Puerto Rico. On the one hand, networks of resistance and resilience sprang up around the island in the wake of the collapse of not just trees and houses, but infrastructure and government. On the other, a small group of super rich speculators and futurists were poised to cash in on what Puerto Rico’s then-Governor Ricardo Rossell—ó described as an opportunity to “sort of restart and upgrade” a nation he shamelessly called a “blank canvas.” Rossell—ó— was forced out of office on July 24, 2019, by mass protests, in large part thanks to the networks of resistance and resilience that came to life when the government essentially disappeared after the 2017 hurricanes. | more…

Puerto Rico: The Crisis Is About Colonialism, Not Debt

Tourists are fascinated by the heavy blue cobblestones that pave the streets of Old San Juan. Why they are there is as good an explanation as any for Puerto Rico’s current crisis. In the days of Spanish colonialism, they were ballast to keep the ships crossing the Atlantic from tossing about and blowing over. The ships came empty, and left for Spain full of gold, silver, and other riches stolen from the indigenous Taínos. The ballast left behind was used to pave the streets.… Puerto Rico has been sacked by colonial powers for half a millennium. Is it any wonder it is in dire straits? Today, it is $73 billion in debt. | more…

The People of Vieques, Puerto Rico vs. the United States Navy

On April 19, 1999, two F-18 jets mistook the navy’s red-and-white checked observation post on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico for a target, and dropped 500 pound bombs on it. Vieques resident David Sanes was working at the observation post as a security guard for the navy. He was killed almost instantly. Three other men from Vieques were seriously injured. Sanes’ death sparked a wave of protest—civil disobedience, marches, petitions, resolutions, and lobbying—which resulted in the promise, made by then U.S. President Clinton and reiterated by his successor, that the navy will leave Vieques by May 2003. The navy says these plans will not be affected by war on Iraq. As veterans of earlier navy promises, the Viequenses, and the people of Puerto Rico, are wary | more…

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