I wrote awhile back about Richard Copaken (I wanted to make a link for him but he's just all over the place...he was a brilliant lawyer, an accomplished artist and obviously a beloved father and husband - how I wish I'd met him before cancer took him off this plane) and his book Target Culebra. I knew it would be good, but I also wondered if it might be a slog to get through. No, it is not. Instead, it is the best of the hardest; it is impossible to read quickly and impossible to stop reading. Everyone I've talked to about it who is reading it feels the same way.
Today I was so angry, with the permits law racing along - a horrible report in the news, though our mayor was mentioned as being against it, and I am glad - and the book truth racing in my mind, that I had to put the book away, realizing it was not a good book to be reading at the cart. Luckily, the two tourist visitors that listened to me rant (I at least have the excuse that they asked me how I liked the book) were smart and kind, in equal measure.
Frankly, while I somewhat arrogantly thought I knew a little bit, I realize I had NO idea of what really happened here for so many, many years. The horrors that have happened on this island, ending only in the mid-70's, seems like something that MUST have happened somewhere else, some third world Sad South Pacific Island With Primitives that are nothing like us. But no. They...were, and are, we. It was here.
And it's happening again, except this time the Navy is gone and the Developers are here and the Governor is doing exactly now what the Governor did then, catering to Special Interests rather than the People of Puerto Rico, and Culebra in particular. Culebra...this tiny little place, this speck, has interested everyone forever it seems, as a place to make their own fortunes and to hell with the people who have tried to live their lives here in peace. I am serious when I say that every few pages I have to remind myself that I LIVE here. That this is where this all happened and it wasn't 100 years ago. It wasn't 50 years ago. It was less than 40 years ago! I would love to say I've got jeans that old but I think my daughter has them.
All I know is...if you have the slightest bit of interest in Culebra, or a passionate interest, get this book and read it. For those of us impacted by what Governor Fortuno is trying to do in this present day, write letters. Write to the San Juan Daily Sun. Write to Fortuno. Write to the New York Times. Call anyone you can about this despotic law that has nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with greed. I'd make links but you all have to plot your own course. If you mean it, do it. The internet makes it incredibly easy, but not unless you take the few minutes of your time. Or maybe, the hours of your time. Some who read this have some power to do more. I can only hope you do just that.
If you speak and/or read Spanish, this article will be a cinch for you. If not, find an online translator (google online translator) and copy and paste this text into it. This is what the Governor had to say about all of the people, mayors etc who are against this law. Basically, I get this from it. "Screw all of you whiners. I'm doing it." Of course, I may be missing some nuances there....be happy to correct me.
Yes, I'm angry and frustrated and wishing I had a home lobotomy kit. I wish very much that I didn't care, that I could just enjoy this amazing place, these people, my friends and say Kay Sara Sara (yes, yes, I know it's Que Sera Sera...it's a joke with my children, one of whom is named Sarah, be picky where it matters!).
Here's Jose's version...
as opposed to Doris Day's sort of strange, but more true version. Don't ask me why but Jose Feliciano makes it sound a lot better to just let fate take its course, regardless of the meddlesome humans...Doris just looks angry. And so am I.
And one other thing. To anyone who would bring up the fish farm or the couple from the BVI's who want to have a watersport business in Ponce. I would say, yes, it is a shame that for that sort of business, the permit process is a tangled muddled mess. Those who know me know I care a lot about the fish farm people, and figure I'd like these people from the BVI's. But there is no relation between what they want to do and their nightmare process and what someone like Victor Gonzalas or the Terruno project want to do (and I can only speak about Culebra, I know there are many other land rapists on the big island and Vieques as well - NOT the small business person). Someone wrote a comment online that the permit laws should be applicable to local law, rather than having a sweeping coverage and I think there is something there to look at. No, it's not a simple issue. Yes, it needs consideration, rather than ramrod swiftness. Because when the damage is done, it is too late.
Yes, it's time for me to watch a movie...and I can only hope I asked Netflix for something silly.