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November 20, 2000
TO THE EDITORS:
As a former professor at the University of Puerto Rico who maintains a residence there, I found Chris Mooney's article ["Treasure Island," September 25-October 9, 2000] on the island's voting situation very interesting. I do wish, however, that he had stressed more the injustice of a citizenry subject to the military draft of a country whose representatives they have no say in electing-representatives who might well vote, as they have in the past, to send Puerto Ricans to war for the United States. On the off shore Puerto Rican island of Vieques , more than two-thirds of the land was simply confiscated 60 years ago and converted to a United States military base and target range-a situation that, despite ongoing protests by some, still exists today (True, "fair market value" was paid to the displaced home owners, but what does that mean when you have no choice but to sell?)
As a proud American with a very deep love for Puerto Rico and its people, I would welcome the island as the 51st star on our flag with pride and joy. Yet, sadly, though many if not most Puerto Ricans accept their United States citizenship with pride, I can readily understand why others want nothing to do with us. Those who would choose independence for Puerto Rico are often dismissed as communists or, at the very least, leftist radicals. While there is no doubt that there is some nostalgia for the "Che Guevara" myths of the '60s to be found in some members of the Independentista Party, there is far more substance there than that. This misunderstanding is hardly dispelled when, in its table of contents, The American Prospect places the flag of Cuba rather than that of Puerto Rico next to the description of Mooney's article!
PROFESSOR JEFFREY J.W. BAKER