Monday, September 9, 2013

The Port to Nowhere

(AKA "The Island of Disenchantment")

Even though this is a relatively old article, it's just so depressing to hear, and I had to share it and vent a little.

Ponce’s Port of the Américas’ transshipment potential rapidly fading away - at

The Port of the Americas (aka the Port of Ponce) is PR's opportunity to become a vital link in
world trade, the only deep-water port in the Caribbean that could handle the super-huge PANAMAX container ships that traverse the Panama Canal. We were billed to become the "Singapore of the Caribbean". We were set to reclaim our position as the 1st Port of the New World, the geographic axis connecting North America, South America, and Europe, and with the traffic from the Panama Canal, Asia as well. This is PR's chance to grow rich and powerful off of basically just being there, sitting in the ocean exactly where it's always been, which is the best way to get rich.

For years I've been touting the POA as PR's greatest opportunity for economic and political advancement. As the first port of call for PANAMAX cargo ships coming east from the Canal, we're in the perfect position to really take advantage of the business opportunities, and unique among other Caribbean ports in it's ability to handle it. Cargo unloaded in Ponce can be easily shipped cross-island to the Port of San Juan (or even the Port of Mayaguez [or even a renovated and upgraded Roosevelt Roads]) on our First World-level highway system for easy loading onto smaller regional or inter-Atlantic cargo ships. Our close relationship with the US and regular cargo freight to-and-from (one of the principal benefits of the Jones Act), allows us instant profit from the world's biggest importer. The easing of some of the restrictions of the Jones Act would also allow us to do a great deal of transhipment to our regional neighbors in the Caribbean and South America, and potential for expansion to Europe, Africa, and the Mediterranean.

This door swings both ways, as the major powers of the Atlantic would be shipping their products to PR's ports to be loaded on those PANAMAX ships that had just been emptied to transport back to the Pacific. Through this scheme, PR becomes the heart of the global transshipment circulatory system, everything travels through our ventricles on their way to both sides of the body (i.e. the two hemispheres).

The economic benefits go beyond just bolstering the shipping industry. PR can explode as an advance manufacturing economy, which it's currently been trying to do for some time. Raw materials coming from Asia and South America would arrive in PR, hauled to factories on island, where they can be manufactured, assembled, or refined cheaper than in the US. Not to mention, the variety of products for purchase on the island will increase greatly and be far cheaper, as we would be getting cargo direct from factories in the Far East instead of having to get them rerouted through mainland American ports before they end up here at a higher surcharge. A great example of this would be cars; purchasing a car in PR is more expensive than in the mainland because it must be shipped from the states. With the POA, we would be the first stop for all the Hondas and Nissans and Daewoos and other Asian automobiles.

The political benefits are what's really key here. Increased importance of Puerto Rico to global commerce means increased attention from the world. There will be a necessity for other countries to deal with PR directly, instead of through the US, and a need for the US-PR relationship to be better defined so both parties can take full advantage of the opportunity. This could mean greater inclusion in regional trade organizations like CARICOM, and greater benefit from international banks and foreign investors. With a stronger independent economy, there would be less reliance on Federal funds or American corporations, and that allows us to tackle the Status issue without worrying what we might lose and instead focus on what we might gain from it's resolution.

Even with other ports outpacing us to pick up the traffic, a megaport in PR still has numerous advantages, the same ones that made it attractive in the first place for the development. PR still maintains the best infrastructure and best telecommunications network in the Caribbean, it maintains a larger concentration of advanced manufacturing plants and the advanced educational institutions to man them, and while experiencing a recession, still maintains one of the most competitive economies in Latin America. It's close relationship with the US is also the strongest sell for American import/export firms and foreign companies seeking to sell in the US.

The future of Puerto Rico can be very bright, but this future can only be realized when we take advantage of what we have to offer the world. The Port of the Americas is only the first step in realizing that goal, but it is the most vital step and pretty much the only shot we have of meeting our potential as a maritime power. Here's hoping the people in charge realize this soon...
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Monday, January 28, 2013

The Referen-Dumb

Puerto Rican Alliance VP José L. Arbona: Congress must step in to resolve Puerto Rico's future status - The Hill's Global Affairs

Here is an excellent (and short) opinion article written by the VP of the Alianza de Libre Asociacion Soberano (eng: Alliance for Free Sovereign Association), more commonly referred to to as ALAS (which is Spanish for "Wings"). The organization has surfaced recently as a proponent of the sovereignty status option, and has done what it could to educate the island on this mysterious "third way" option.

This article outlines perfectly the problems with trying to interpret the November 2012 referendum on political status.

Did statehood win? Yes. Did it win clean? No. Is there enough support to consider the referendum as faulty? Oh hell yes. If you read this op-ed you will see roughly the argument that supports this and the statistically facts that leads one to consider the Referendum as having essentially failed to represent the voice of Puerto Rico in the terms of status resolution.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Colorado Shooter Likely Got Guns With Ease

More gun control! More gun control! More F***ING gun control!  Screw the NRA and the 2nd Amendment! When the state of Colorado directly puts an unlimited amount of unregisted assault rifles in the hands of a psychopath and calls him a patriot for it, it's clear how dilluded we've become. Guns kill people, duh.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Guess Who's Coming to America

Puerto Ricans are, that's who!

And they have been for sometime, because while many other immigrating Latinos must deal with the naturalization bureaucracy, everyone born in Puerto Rico has been a citizen of the United States since March 2nd, 1917 with the passage of the Jones-Shafroth Act. It seems strange because from what I can tell, citizenship was just tossed onto Puerto Rico. Could you imagine today the government just giving anyone something so coveted as American citizenship? (Oh wait, right, the DREAM Act, Obama's America!) Come to think of it, the States was very much fond of handing out citizenship to just anyone who got off a boat in New York back in the day. Oh well, so there you have it, Puerto Ricans are all American citizens for whatever reason (possibly because the US Army needed freshly drafted meat for World War I).

Here is a delightful video from the YouTubiverse. While its related to PR's political policy, I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with any of the issues I've brought up or will bring up (I think its just meant as a trivia question), but it's at the very least evidence of the average person's lack of familiarity with Puerto Rico's political status. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ronald Reagan Loves Puerto Rico

Hey American Conservatives! Before you go poo pooing on Puerto Rican Statehood for whatever dumb reason you have, listen to the words of your dark master, former President Ronald Wilson Reagan.

While I'm not the biggest fan of "The Gipper", his declaration of support for self-determination (although clearly Statehood-themed self-determination) is the type of response us folk in Puerto Rico like to hear from our Presidents; support, but not too much support.
For the record, Reagan's endorsement does not make me want Statehood any more, in fact, I want it a little less now...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Borincano Nacido en la Luna...

My name is Julian and I have a unique upbringing. At one point I was your average Suburban-American school kid which you can observe on any teen-drama program (although greatly over-exaggerated). Then when I was 14, a series of weird/miraculous events took place that uprooted me from the hills of Pennsylvania and replanted me on the western shores of Puerto Rico.

For those who don't know about PR's unique political situation, I'm going to give as brief an explanation as I can manage and we'll definitely come back to this later. Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean next to the Dominican Republic, it's actually closer to the mainland than Hawaii. Puerto Rico is part of the United States, but it has been self-governing for half-a-century, however, it is ultimately under the authority of the US Government. A recurrent political theme on the island is redefining the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico into something more concrete, usually either a full state or an independent nation. This debate is known as "Status" or "el Estatus", and has been an integral, but controversial driving force in local politics.

I've lived in this "limbo nation" for most of my life, though I've traveled a lot around the world as well I always seem to float back to Puerto Rico. Though there's plenty to complain about here, I truly love this weird island, because that's how you know you care about your community, when you'll take the time out of your day to make fun of it. Living here, I feel, has also given me a unique perspective on the various subtle cultural clogs that appear between American and Latin culture. 

While, I am not trying to suggest that I'm some sort of expert on either Americans or Latinos, I pay attention to people, I like paying attention to people, and honestly, there's nothing that special that makes the two any that different, and certainly not better. When you live in a country with a clearly different cultural history, you start to see that at it's core, people want and need the same exact things; food, shelter, a job, a family, friends, a pass-time, something to be proud about, and to be left alone by the people they don't like.

No degree or title could qualify me to speak on this as much as learning that right there.

So, with that in mind, I started this blog as a sort of observational guide to understanding. The timing of this is no coincidence, all across America we are seeing a growing cultural conflict between American and Latin culture, it's skirmishes are fought on multiple fronts from illegal immigration, civil liberties, prison reform, freedom of speech, etc.

One of those topics that I feel most qualified to speak on is the one that seems to confound people the most; English vs. Spanish, a perceived cultural gap between us that boils down to the very words we use to communicate. My experience in this has spanned my entire life, as truly learning all the subtle nuances and hidden meanings of a language takes a lifetime. People don't seem to get that. Anyone who thinks learning a new language is easy (or instant) is either gifted or a moron, most likely a moron, who's never even considered it before.

I wanted to start this blog in response to some recent events that have taken place. Recently, the Governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuño was finally able to get some movement on some legislature that he and the pro-statehood New Progessive Party (PNP) have been trying to move forward for years. The bill would allow for a Congressional supported referendum on status. They did this with the help of the Obama administration. 

Before this, I must say, America's knowledge about Puerto Rico was staggeringly low, I mean it's just pathetic. Friends of mine are constantly being asked "What part of Mexico is that?". You're not alone America, because strange as it may seem, PR's knowledge on the states is incredibly limited as well. I meet people all the time who don't know who the President is, someone I know once called him "Osama". Not kidding.

So what followed made me trully pissed off. The Republican hatchet-men got a hold of this info and started ranting about how this was a Democrat ploy to add D-seats to Congress, that this "just came out of nowhere", that Fortuño wasn't a "real" Republican, etc. Someone who's particularly to blame is Glen Beck, and while I do not watch his show or read his books, I know him by reputation as biased and inflammatory. After that, it was only a mater of seconds before every conservative blogger on the web cloned this insane conspiracy theory and began repeating the sentiments verbatim, sometimes they even tacked on even dumber opinions, and shared them, so soon the entire internet was filled with dumb ideas (even more than usual).

I spent several weeks on the internet in countless flame wars with theses losers, and I WON EVERY ONE! How? Simply because I knew what I was talking about, and I could actually prove the things I was saying. 

The thing that truly pissed me off was that Glen Beck didn't lie about any of the statistics and facts he used, he misinformed. He took a philosophical debate that has been raging, sometimes violently, in PR for over 100 years, and he just casually picked the facts that supported his argument. I don't know if he did this on purpose to pad his argument, or if he just didn't really think about it, but I'm offended either way.

And just the complete ignorance of political bloggers, some actually expressed "pity" for Puerto Rico because Obama was using them. Right after that they would shove a petition in your face asking you to shoot down the referendum bill in congress. HEY D-BAGS! PR cannot move forward politically unless Congress allows us to, that's the reality, preventing a vote in Congress means you are denying us our freedom, and doing that purely for political reasons makes you a fascist.

Do you idiots actually think the rest of the world only exists as part of some liberal conspiracy? That other countries just stop existing while America isn't looking?

Where do people get off distorting the facts about my home to further your interest? Where do people get off using our rights as American citizens as sacrifices to their party line? It just makes me kind of pissed off because I've spent 12 years in PR trying to figure out what's going on, but these guys apparently figure it out in a day, and even though they're wrong, they're still patting each other on the back and saying how they're such good Americans, defending freedom in the world. 

F**k that.

This is a blog to clear up the misconceptions about Puerto Rico for Americans, but also misconceptions about America for Puerto Ricans, cause you guys have it wrong CONSTANTLY. The fact is, we've been very closely involved with each other for over a century, both sides effected and changed by each others influence. The time for ignorance is done, and it should have been a long time ago.