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The San Juan Star

Welcome To Artificial Reality

By Arturo J. Guzmán

December 14, 2003
Copyright ©2003 The San Juan Star. All rights reserved.

Confronted by the outcome of a recent poll, Anibal Acevedo Vilá dismissed its results as "artificial reality". What? How can reality be artificial, or artificiality real? Acevedo’s remark was worthy of Yogi Berra and could be described with a similar contradiction by affirming it was so dumb that it was brilliant!

In the days and weeks since the remark was uttered, I have come to thank Acevedo Vilá for allowing me to understand for the first time ever the political and ideological foundations of those who support the current colonial regime. At long last I get it: It is "artificial reality" that makes it possible for Popular Party apologists to continue persisting that Puerto Rico is "a commonwealth of the United States" or that commonwealth is the status of the Island, or for that matter a valid political status under U.S. constitutional law.

Even though the colonial apologists know full well that we are nothing more than an unincorporated territory of the United States subject to the plenary powers of the Congress under the territory clause, they rather use their own creativity under artificial reality. After all, we the people are ignorant, and ignorant people can’t read or much less, think. As I’ve repeated in the past, "commonwealth" is nothing more than political Disneyland, so welcome to artificial reality.

Finally it all becomes very clear to me! After years of unsuccessfully searching and researching in the Congress, in the Library of the Congress, under White House mattresses and forgotten desk drawers for the much touted "bilateral pact", for the treaties outlining "common defense", "common currency", and all of the other documents that created the "pillars" of our relationship with the United States I have come to realize that all this time they were right there before my eyes. Only I couldn’t see them because they were written and implemented in "artificial reality".

Now I know better, remember fifty plus years of promises to "culminate commonwealth status"? Remember the endless assertions that Puerto Rico would be authorized to decide which powers it would delegate to the Congress, determine which federal laws apply locally, obtain the authority to enter into trade and political agreements with foreign nations? The twenty one gun salutes, full participation in international organizations etc? Yep, now you have it right: they are an integral part of artificial reality.

But you know something? The Gringo Invaders learn quickly and now they have also developed their own artificial realities. Just ask Anibal! When he and the governor and all their cohorts, including Charlie Black Temple, went before the Congress with their hands outstretched begging as always for the corporate welfare schemes that support the colony they were given a dose of their own medicine.

In their best impression of the Three Caballero’s accent, these senadores and congresistas said, "Si señor ándele pronto: you can have all 956 plus incentives that you want as long as the dinero doesn’t come out of the pockets of our hard-working, tax-paying compatriotas who also happen to vote and elect us."

"As a matter of fact", continued the senadores and congresistas, "after you sleep your siesta we invite you to visit Florida and Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi and 46 other places we can suggest so you can learn from them and request the same incentives they offer to attract the investment and industry that create the jobs that provide their citizens a far superior income and quality of opportunities and life than you provide for your puertorriqueños."

"If you don’t accept this offer", concluded the congressional legislators, "you can always rely on artificial reality and when you return to Puerto Rico you can tell your people that the check is in the mail, or otherwise you can blame Rosselló as usual for your failures!"

But despite it all, the good news is that artificial reality represents the future for Puerto Rico! Next November vote to elect Anibal Acevedo Vilá as our next governor, and all our troubles will seem far away! Thanks to Anibal, potholes, pollution and garbage by the roadside will disappear instantly; every child in public school will have its own computers and PDA’s, we will enjoy superb and inexpensive electric power and water, crime will be totally vanquished, every Puerto Rican will have an 8 bedroom-10 bathroom home with an Olympic pool, 1 yacht, 2 helicopters, and 28 cars that we will be able to park not only on the sidewalk but right inside the businesses.

Each one of us will become millionaires and the United States, thanks to our magnanimous grace, will be allowed to become an autonomous municipio of Puerto Rico! All of it as a genial creation of the Popular Democratic Party, Anibal, and their artificial reality that in the old days and elsewhere used to be known as fiction and fantasy...

Arturo J. Guzmán can be contacted at

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