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The San Juan Star

The Legacy to be Left by Governor Calderón

by Arturo J. Guzmán

July 11, 2004
Copyright © 2004 The San Juan Star. All rights reserved.

Towards the end of their careers, politicians and other public personalities usually begin to ponder how History will judge their legacy. At times, even if belatedly, most strive to influence public opinion hoping to improve and enhance their images so that they are remembered in the most positive and favorable manner.

Apparently Sila Calderón seems so oblivious or uncaring that time seems to have run out on any possibilities of trying to change the lasting impressions she is leaving behind her. However, perhaps her arrogance is so blinding that she has already concluded that History will record her own self-perception as unquestionable fact. After all, people who persist that "Commonwealth" is a political status are obviously inclined to fantasizing.

During the dusk years of the Soviet Union, when its leaders had to act more guardedly because they could no longer kill their adversaries and enemies with total impunity, they developed a simple method to deal with the opposition: Communism, they postulated, was the most perfect political system ever devised, so anyone who opposed perfection had to be mad and thus sent to an insane asylum. Similarly, Calderón’s character, conduct, and upbringing appear to make her immune to introspective objectivity. She seems incapable of recognizing anything short of her own mirrored image so that the majority of Puerto Ricans who differ from her self-vision are either "corrupt" and belong in jail, or they are insane and belong in an asylum.

One thing has become certain regardless of legacy considerations: To the end she will act only with her self-interest as the sole criteria even if it means dooming Acevedo-Vila’s already dismal possibilities of electoral triumph. As a matter of fact many, even within her own political party, are convinced that she is determined to make Acevedo loose. Once she was made to understand that if she ran for re-election she would be assured of defeat, Calderón’s selfishness is ensuring no one else from her party can win either.

In the waning days of WWII in Europe, when Hitler realized his cause was lost, he concluded that by loosing the war the German people had proven unworthy of him and as a result Germans and Germany should disappear from the face of the Earth. In a similar manner Calderón may have concluded that if a majority of Puerto Ricans electors would defeat her, Puerto Rico would not only be unworthy of her but deserving to be punished to live under the rule of those she indiscriminately considers "corrupt" or insane.

The trail Calderón will leave behind and its lasting aftermath are difficult to comprehend and impossible to justify under any pretense or circumstance. What complex self-centered character can be capable of sowing so much discrimination, divisiveness, persecution and hatred in any society? What complexes of inferiority, inadequacy, or frustration and envy must run through a person’s veins to perpetrate destruction and delusion as a means to assert self-perceived grandeur? Isn’t that her undeniable legacy?

Even Calderon’s lasting image will also symbolically remain incomplete for not imploding the Hato Rey Coliseum as she originally intended thus depriving us of the full and complete image of her playing the lute while its walls crumbled. Instead and most unfortunately she substituted the Coliseum and tried almost successfully to implode all of Puerto Rico and crumbling us and our collective spirits so that we could be rebuilt and reborn in her own image.

In the dawn of a regime that has assuredly won the characterization of embodying a mixture of the worst of human passions generously mixed with vast doses of ineptness, even women, once so proud of one of their brethren being elected to the highest territorial office, are now concerned that Calderón’s stereotype will preclude other women from being elected Governor for many years to come.

If Sila Calderon’s epitaph were written as a lasting recollection of her legacy it would read: "Sila Calderón, one term governor of the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico whose legacy can be summarized by comparing her to the fabled scorpion- she persecuted and bit even the innocent, and paid the price by drowning simply because she could not deny her own nature".

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