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The San Juan Star
'Lies, Lies, Lies': Calderon And Vieques
By Arturo J. Guzman
October 5, 2001
History has shown that abhorrent tragedies and calamities tend to bring forth the very best and the worst of human nature. Valor, heroism, and selflessness become as evident as greed and opportunism at times of national crisis. Despicable acts range from those of scam artists who seek illicit profit from the victim's predicaments, to those who are opportunistic and try and utilize them as scapegoats for their own failures. As repugnant to us as they may be, not all of these acts are illegal but all of them are immoral.
I no longer harbor youthful innocence and understand that opportunism and politics are almost synonyms, but one must try to identify and make the distinction of acts that are so transparent and overt that challenge truth, credibility, and sincerity. One such distinction must be made in the conduct and expressions of Governor Calderon before and after these recent acts of terrorism.
The same person who leads, or misleads according to viewpoint, a party and an administration intent on proving that we just "friends and allies" of the United States choosing to ignore the constitutional and statutory fact that Puerto Rico is a territory "appertaining" (belonging) to the U.S., all of a sudden found the need to command the publishing of national advertisements properly addressing them to "our fellow citizens".
While Calderon was busy in New York making the rounds with "fellow traveler" Pataki, and playing the part of a compassionate American governor coming to assist at a time of need, the likes of her Senate majority leader Faz-Alzamora was bitterly denouncing the absence of the Puerto Rican flag at a Canadian conference and insisting that Puerto Rico was a "Latin American nation", and others like "Churumba" Cordero and Celeste Benitez were making statements on the subject of the attack that are so despicable and lowly that they deserve no further exposure for they have already brought immeasurable shame upon all of us.
These typically contradictory attitudes of Calderon, her administration (pardon the euphemism), and her now separatist political party, were not lost on the genial sense of humor of the Puerto Rican people as evidenced by a perfunctory joke that was making the rounds in town last week: "What gift did Sila bring Pataki during her visit to New York? A framed picture of Osama bin Laden so that they could both thank them nightly for resolving the issue of Vieques".
The cruel paradox becomes inevitable: Pataki who jointly with Calderon lobbyist Charlie Black, and Carl Rove at the White House, did so much to weaken the national defense system in the case of Vieques, suffered in his home state the most devastating foreign terrorist attack in the course of human history.
Furthermore, upon Calderon's later departure for Washington and in what was sure to qualify as the temper tantrum of the week (and may yet qualify as the temper tantrum of the month) she tried to deny allegations that she was intent on negotiating the permanence of the U.S. Navy in Vieques for yet another tax crutch for the failing colonial economic system. "Lies, lies, lies!" exclaimed an unsettled Calderon before the press and media.
Well, while I do not dispute the fact that someone is lying I have a difference as to who the culprit is by reminding you that as far back as December 30, 2000 (The Star , "Welcome to our cozy tropical apartheid") I was intimating that even before the election information from Washington revealed lobbying efforts on Calderon's behalf expressing her willingness to enter into such a deal as a fundamental reason for the Navy and the "military-industrial complex" to support her candidacy.
It doesn't end there. It was within the week of the terrorist attacks that Calderon was using the tragedy as subterfuge for Puerto Rico's dismal economic climate and performance. I also beg to differ: Osama bin Laden was not mayor of San Juan, when the confidence of private sector investors was seriously compromised by yet another of her tantrums when she stopped development of the "Condado-Trio" at all costs, simply because she had not gotten her way. It was Calderon who set the nefarious precedent.
It was not Osama who paralyzed the economy and virtually stopped all public works in progress using an exaggerated and seemingly non-existing budgetary deficit as an excuse to re-issue and substitute contracts that would benefit his political friends and cronies. And it was not Osama, whose anti-American rhetoric and attitudes expressed on Vieques, the nature of the current colonial status, or other local issues that made stateside investors loose their confidence on the political-economic future of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans. And it is not Osama that goes begging for corporate welfare demonstrating an insensitive, inconsiderate, and ill-timed sense of priorities at a time when hundreds of thousands of fellow Americans who pay taxes have lost their jobs.
But the governor should not despair. There will be justice in her accusations, because indeed it will be Osama and the consequences brought upon all of us as citizens and nationals of the United States by his barbaric acts, that have united us with the rest of the nation to contrast with Calderon's true separatist, conflictive, and conflicting nature in seeking another bit of fiscal charity by which to preserve the grasp of colonialism and the rule of the oligarchy.