Recent studies show that Puerto Rico has more Walgreens per square mile, than anywhere in the US…and the island has more Walmarts per square mile, than anywhere on the planet.
Walmart owns the Sam’s Club and Amigo Supermarket chains. The 56 Walmart properties exceed the Walmart properties in the entire state of Massachusetts, which has nearly double the population of Puerto Rico.
Walgreens is no different. The state of Oregon is 28 times larger than Puerto Rico, and Oregon has more inhabitants. But there are 45 more Walgreens on the island than in Oregon.
With all of this marketing, the tiny island of Puerto Rico – with only 3.6 million residents – is the fourth largest maket in the world for US products. 85 percent of all products consumed in Puerto Rico, are sold by US corporations.
Due to Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, aka the Jones Act, all these products are “price-protected.” US products are sold at wildly inflated prices that are often twice as high as those in the US. For this reason the cost of living in Puerto Rico is “officially” 12 percent higher than in the US, but the real figure is closer to 20 percent.
With a recently enacted sales tax of 11.5 percent, this cost of living is going even higher.
The economic and political value of Puerto Rico has thus evolved: at first it was a naval coaling station. Then it became a sugarcane kingdom. Now it is a market: a dumping ground for US products.
It is also a tax haven for US billionaires and tax-preferred corporations.
After 117 years of US hegemony in Puerto Rico, independence must be viewed from a holistic standpoint. The island needs more than a mere “political” independence from the US. It needs to develop an independent frame of mind – free of rampant consumerism, and mindful of the simple beauties of the island which God provided.
Please consider the psychological and spiritual underpinnings of this Black Friday mob, outside of the Mayaguez Walmart:
There are similar Black Friday Walmart videos for San Juan, Ponce, Cayey, and Hatillo. The passion and purpose in all these videos is striking. If a fraction of this energy were properly harnessed, the island would be independent within one month.
Puerto Rico is caught in a Stockholm Syndrome.
Too many people are identifying with their captors. Every time they buy a US product, they affirm the colonial relationship. Every time they clamor for the latest flat screen TV, the latest car, movie, celebrity, or rap song, they lose a piece of themselves.
If there is a road to true independence, it must start from within.