Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Big Problems for a Small Island

For a small Caribbean island of just under 4 million inhabitants, Puerto Rico certainly has its fair share of problems. Staggering crime, double-digit unemployment rate, political corruption, and a crumbling public education system are just some of the most troubling issues facing the island today. Almost every weekend, there will be an article about a fatal car accident or murder (often both) in the local paper. In fact, just last week a pregnant American tourist was killed while going out for a jog in Ceiba, which is located in the Eastern part of the island. Just two and a half months into 2009, as of today, at least 80 murders committed have already been committed in Puerto Rico.

Living in Puerto Rico, from my experience, has had its highs and lows. This is an island full of complications, hipocrosy and one which faces many different challenges. For someone who is from the mainland U.S, many things in this island will seem irrational. Why spend hundreds of millions of dollars to build a railway system, el tren urbano, which does not reach the most heavily transited areas, such as the airport, Plaza Las Americas (the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean) and Viejo San Juan? Recently, in order to help finance the 2010 Central American & Caribbean Games (they're scheduled to be held in Mayaguez), a local politician suggested sending a search team to find a treasure chest hidden underneath the ocean. Believe me, I'm not making this up.

Luckily, the highs which I've experienced living here outweigh the lows. However, I would love to see the quality of life in Puerto Rico improve. This will not happen until everyone gets their priorities straight. The current governor suggested trimming down the government payroll, by laying off thousands of public employees. This was met with fierce opposition. From my perspective, I think many people are out of touch with reality. The government does in fact employ too many people who are not quite the most productive workers. Unless Puerto Ricans are willing to make some serious changes, things will never change and the island will never make any economic, political and social progress.


Speaking Boricua said...

I had to link to that sunken treasure article in my blog, I couldn't believe how absurd that is.

adriana said...

Hello Speaking Boricua,

You're absolutely right... absurd is a good way to put it.