A friend of mine who lives in Seattle recently sent me an e-mail saying, "so jealous you get to live in paradise." He was referring to the fact that his city gets nothing but gloomy skies and rain, while we get lots of sun here on the island. I must also add that this friend of mine has never been to Puerto Rico, which tends to conjure images of beach, sun and palm trees for most people. While we are indeed blessed with such things here, there are also a whole litany of social problems on the island which many are not aware of. Violence, corruption, a crumbling public education system and a rising crime rate are just some of the many issues facing the island.
Drug trafficking is also one of the biggest problems confronting Puerto Rico. Last week's massive FBI operation serves as a perfect example of just how far drug traffickers have been able to exert their power. According to a recent article published in this past Sunday's El Nuevo Día, drug trafficking is the third largest economic activity in Puerto Rico. Just in case you're wondering, manufacturing and tourism are the two principal industries on the island. As the mainstream U.S media mostly focuses on Mexico with drug trafficking, and rarely talks about Puerto Rico, drugs is probably not something most people would associate the island with.
Given Puerto Rico's geographical location, it is situated between North and South America, it has always been an attractive midway point for the transportation of drugs. Startlingly, some of the drugs were even shipped via the U.S Postal Service, and seven postal workers were arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) just two weeks ago. While I do mostly enjoy living in Puerto Rico, it is certainly no paradise. The island has got its fair share of issues and challenges.