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Puerto Rico Herald

New Terrorist Threat Identified. Reported To Be of Puerto Rican Origin

May 10, 2002
Copyright © 2002
Puerto Rico Herald. All Rights Reserved. 

One idea is to grab them and freeze them to death. Another is to circle them with a special powder to shrivel them up like pretzels. One plan is to overdose them with caffeine, causing their hearts to explode. But by whatever means, U.S. Government officials want them rounded up and destroyed: burn them, drown them or squash them. To the Feds, these new terrorists must be stopped. In an unusual tactic, the job of interdiction has not been given to Navy Seals, the FBI or the CIA. This grisly business has become a job for the Department of Agriculture’s storm troopers.

Officials see this new onslaught of subversive activity as an ugly new development in their anti-terrorist campaign, especially threatening to national security, in that the group is operating within the sovereign territory of the United States itself. This is not Al Qaeda. It is not Hezbola. It is not the FARC, or Abu Sayyaf or the Tamil Tigers. This is Eleutherodactylus, arguably the most prolific of the clandestine groups set out upon the mission to destroy the economy and way of life of an important U.S. population center.

The Hawaiian island of Maui is the base of operations currently favored by the group. They are active in the dark of night, often driving innocent civilians from their homes to seek shelter from attack. Unlike most terrorist groups, they are motivated by no ideology or political agenda. Their raison d’etre is to freely mate and eat. According to victims, that first proclivity is accompanied by screeches of ecstasy and the second by ravenous gluttony. We are not talking here about denizens of a Manhattan disco or guests at a Texas barbeque. Neither are we talking about soldiers recruited from the world’s trouble spots. We are talking about home-grown terrorists whom we always thought to be productive, well integrated and publicly acclaimed inhabitants of Puerto Rico.

Yes, Puerto Rico, Eleutherodactylus is the COQUI! Your adorable little mascot, the thematic glue of your tourist promotions, your nightingale, your enduring link to pre-history is not the diminutive and innocuous little tree frog that brings music and charm to your gardens and forests. According to the Bishop Museum, Hawaii’s prestigious center of natural history investigation, Eleutherodactylus coqui is a "bad guy." His pint-sized striped image, with his cute little suction cupped toes, is now on a trading card handed out to Hawaiian school children, to familiarize them with the state’s ecological "bad guys." In the series of "bad-guy" cards, Puerto Rico’s icon is in such company as the Dooryard Sowbug, the Brown Slug, the Red-Vented Bulbul, the Lesser Brown Scorpion and the Cane Toad.

The Bishop Museum has other bad things to say about El Coqui. They rate his mating call at near 100 decibels, roughly the intensity of a sixteen-wheeler tractor trailer, traveling at 65 miles per hour, passing by you ten-feet away. They allege that El Coqui snuck into Hawaii covertly, hidden in decorative plants, to then multiply in its trees and gobble up that state’s crawly "good guys," consisting of insects and other critters preferred by Polynesia’s "good guy" birds.

In interviews with passers-by, Puerto Ricans, while flabbergasted, seem to be taking the insult to the island’s "national batrachian" in stride.

  • A businessman in Arecibo wondered if he was subject to be held as a "material witness" to terrorism, since his internet connection was through CoquiNet.
  • A tourist from Chicago, after learning that El Coqui was a frog, said that he enjoyed hearing the sound at night but that he thought that "the damned thing was a cricket."
  • A housewife in Rincon suggested that a delegation of Puerto Rican surfers should travel to Hawaii to "ride the waves and rescue the Coqui."

Political status, of course, colored many comments.

  • A statehood proponent in Mayaguez mused that he might reconsider that option if he learned that it was common for residents of a state of the union to act in such a "rude manner" to outsiders.
  • An independence-minded woman in Ponce called for the immediate independence of both Puerto Rico and Hawaii with convocation of treaty negotiations between the two new countries to find "a dignified solution" to the plight of El Coqui.
  • A San Juan college student in support of the Commonwealth position saw the problem in a different light. Although it was clear to him that, as an American citizen, the coqui had a right to inhabit the State of Hawaii, his unique "language" could not be understood by what he characterized as the "anglo cultural values" imposed on that Pacific island paradise after its entry into the union.

Meanwhile, in Hawaii, the munching goes on. The "bad guys," once accustomed to sainthood status in their Caribbean homeland, seem unfazed by their transformation into now-perceived devils, continuing to enjoy their amorous nocturnal trysts, while gobbling up everything in sight in their newly found Garden of Eden.

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