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Calderon’s ‘Great White Hoax’

By Arturo J. Guzmán

June 23, 2002
Copyright © 2002 SAN JUAN STAR. All Rights Reserved.

A good friend recently brought to my attention the fact that when referring to governor Calderon’s tenure in my columns, I employed the term "regime" instead of the term "administration" which would normally be applied to duly elected democratic governments.

I replied with the following anecdote about Anastasio Somoza, Sr., the patriarch of a family of dictators that ruled Nicaragua for over three decades: During one of Somoza’s visits to the United States in the early fifties he was confronted by the American press. They wanted to know how many "haciendas" Somoza owned. Unfazed, Somoza replied: "one". "Surely", the press retorted, "a man of your power and wealth must own more than just one hacienda!" Still unfazed, Somoza replied, "just one: Nicaragua".

I continued telling my friend, "The fact that Calderon is similarly ruling Puerto Rico as her own personal colonialist fiefdom, often substituting the rule of law and the guarantees of a democracy for the rule of whim and tantrum, is what defines her incumbency as that of a regime and not as that of an administration". "Calderon’s tenure", I added, "can be defined as a succession of empty promises, commitments, and contradictions, interrupted by periods of demagoguery, ineptness and aimlessness".

A review of the current state of affairs will reveal that the issues that moved the electorate have become tiring and stale after close to two years of ceaseless repetition. Vieques’ future is far worse now than it was six months prior to the end of the Rosselló administration; most of the guilty in the corruption cases are already serving time in jail, and others unjustly accused are finding their way to being proven innocent through judicial processes.

Little over a year and a half after the election bond ratings are dismal, private sector investment in full retreat, the rise of unemployment is rampant, businesses failing, factories are closing, crime is rising and Calderon is still unwilling to admit the problems or offer any solutions other than placing blame on her predecessor. Let them eat cake! Her single-minded purpose of seeking the approval of Section 956 in Congress, contrary to her campaign pledge to support and seek approval of Section 30A, has been given as much chance of approval in Washington as she would have of being the first astronaut to set foot on Mars.

Public works and infrastructure projects that were halted until the "politically correct" contractors could be accommodated and signage changed to try and erase Rossello’s memory have become more costly to the already overburdened taxpayers. The "health reform" has been reformed to leave thousands out, and the "urban train" has been derailed and sent on a different route mapped by politicians instead of engineers. There is a "fiscal crisis" and her solution is to raise taxes and let the good pork barrel times, roll.

A few months ago in a Star column I warned that the worst effect of Calderon’s regime was not her paralyzing Puerto Rico, but in setting out to systematically destroy or dismantle everything and anything regardless of worthiness, that could serve as a reminder to the people of eight years of unprecedented advance and progress. Time has affirmed my warning that Calderon is not only not constructive, but that in fact she is vengeful and destructive.

The only aspect in which Calderon’s success could be recognized, is her victory in leading and defining the most anti-American regime Puerto Rico has endured in well over a hundred years of its relationship with the United States. From the first act of inviting Hugo Chavez to her inaugural to the latest caper involving a Machetero member of her cabinet refusing to display the national flag, the message has become unequivocal in trying to prove to Washington that Puerto Rico will never become a state of the union. This is a strategy that will prove foolhardy, because the net result has been to advance the cause of independence from a nation that is growing increasingly tired of the economic drain and the image being portrayed of the nationalism, ingratitude, and selfishness of Puerto Ricans that is being purposely enhanced by a minority with the silent acquiescence of a majority.

I conclude with another anecdote: In the 1920’s Jack Johnson in honest competition became heavyweight-boxing champion of the world. The establishment found him unacceptable because Johnson was black and a black man who preferred white women, so they set out to find a "Great White Hope" that would defeat him and prove the supremacy of white over black using colors as symbolism of good vs. evil. Likewise, the Rosselló administration was portrayed as evil and totally corrupt so a majority of Puerto Ricans trusted that Calderon would become their "Great White Hope". Now, they are realizing that she has proven to be a "Great White Hoax".

Arturo J. Guzman can be contacted at:

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