On Friday June 24, with only one “No” vote, the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico overwhelmingly approved PC 2853: a bill which transfers beaches in huge coastal areas – including Vieques, Culebra, Condado, Isla Verde, Isabela, Lajas, Cabo Rojo, Guánica and Rincón – into “private” ownership.
If this bill becomes law, all “private” beaches in these areas will be closed to the Puerto Rican public. But the DEEPEST significance of this bill, is that the politicians of Puerto Rico are knowingly…intentionally…doing the DIRTY WORK of the Financial Control Board, before they even arrive on the island.
The POLITICS of this bill are important to understand. Please note the following:
It was introduced in the very last days of the legislative session. This allowed little time for public review, debate or amendment. Probably, many legislators did not even read it.
The near-unanimity was striking: both parties approved it, with only one of the 51 representatives (José Luis Báez Rivera) voting against it. This is especially shocking, since it involves the controversial selling of public beaches…which should belong to everyone.
The sale of just one beach to a Marriott Hotel in Carolina, has met with years of fierce opposition.
Yet here, the politicians transferred dozens of them in a great hurry…with no floor debate and a near-unanimous vote.
The author of the bill, who also introduced it, was Angel Matos García…the PPD representative from CAROLINA.
Carolina is where Tito Kayak, Playas P’al Pueblo and hundreds of environmental activists have demonstrated against the Marriott Hotel take-over of their public beach…the Balneario de Carolina.…for over a decade.
They’re even calling the mayor of Carolina a “traitor,” and heckling him at all his speeches.
That is why Carolina, PR was specifically excluded from the beach give-away bill. By pre-arrangement, the PPD allowed Matos García to become a “local hero” in his district…by making sure that nine other beach areas got hit, but not his home district of CAROLINA.
By doing this, the PPD also avoided a confrontation with an entrenched and organized opponent (Tito Kayak and the activists of Carolina) which could discredit the entire PPD.
The government buried the odor of their beach scam, beneath many layers of sugar-coated frosting.
They trumpeted $470 million for “contributions to the pension system,” $80 million for “non-profit and cultural organizations,” $40 million for a cancer care center, $25 million for a medical center, and a $30 million supplement to the teacher’s retirement system. There was no mention of their “privatization” of Puerto Rico’s beaches.
DOING THE DIRTY WORK of the FINANCIAL CONTROL BOARD
Aside from all of the following:
There is one thing even more disturbing than all of these: and that is, the entire government of Puerto Rico just did the Financial Control Board’s dirty work.
If the Financial Control Board stormed into Puerto Rico and did this – grabbed Puerto Rico’s beaches and handed them to US billionaires and their hotel chains – there would be demonstrations all over the island.
The whole world would see the naked colonialism of the US.
But in the midnight hour, very quietly, the government of Puerto Rico just did it for them.
Why would they do this?
What possible motive could they all have, for betraying the entire island?
A FEW POSSIBLE MOTIVES
Here are some possible motives.
PATRONAGE, NOT PRINCIPLES
Both the PNP and PPD have large party machineries (78 mayors & mayoralties!) They need heavy patronage sources, in order to survive as political parties.
Now that ELA has collapsed, they desperately need to find, and tap into, a new income stream.
These billion-dollar empires growing all over the island, will be the new source of contracts, consultant agreements, and jobs for their family and friends.
And so, the two parties got together, and did what corrupt politicians will always do.
They will sell the beaches of your island.
They will yank the sun and sea…give them to John Paulson…and make us all pay to see them , or feel them on our faces.
They will do it by a huge majority vote…both PPD and PNP…working together… showing their complete loyalty to the billionaires… while the FBI tells the rest of us to “remain calm” and “report any suspicious activity.”
The only suspicious activity that I can see, is the theft of Puerto Rico by its own “political leaders.”
Always remember this: the PPD and PNP are like Jaws…an eating machine…they run on patronage, not principles.
Not even beaches…or the wind, sand and stars… are sacred to them.