Should Vieques Island go independent?

News reports today out of Puerto Rico confirm that a little known group of separatists on the island of Vieques continue to push for their stated agenda: separating the island from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  The small group argues that only the people of Vieques can resolve their problems.

Residents of the island have long blamed the U.S. Navy and the Commonwealth Government in San Juan for their problems.  The Navy has been gone for more than a decade and the island is in worse shape than ever.  Maybe the Navy wasn’t such a bad thing?  But I digress….

It is good that at least some local residents have come to the conclusion I did many years ago, that blaming others for the problems of Vieques and Puerto Rico does not solve problems.  Assuming responsibility does.

Yet I can’t help but think that this small group of people are actually trying to implement one of my ideas, although I can’t claim complete ownership.  Taking Vieques out of the Commonwealth would be impractical and the U.S. Congress isn’t likely to agree, but if it did it would only be a stepping stone to independence.

During the Vieques protests I suggested to then PIP Leader Ruben Berrios that he should move his followers to the island (they were already there in camps) and simply vote for independence and declare it if the U.S. government didn’t grant it.  I didn’t expect the U.S. government would send troops in or bomb the island into submission.  The U.S. actually did drop bombs during an uprising in the 1950’s in mainland Puerto Rico.  Berrios rejected the idea.

What I can claim ownership to, is an economic strategy for the Island of Vieques to survive as an independent country.  I doubt seriously that there is a real plan to deal with crime, corruption and economic development for the tiny island if it did achieve independence.

Under my proposal the island would have to balance true conservative fiscal policy, with libertarian social policy and a little creativity.  Among other things, the plan would legalize drugs, prostitution and gambling in one or more red light districts; work with investors to raise capital to build several time share and permanent hotel and housing facilities and build a large scale marina for cruisers and for large yachts.

The profits from those activities would be invested for long term gain and a portion paid out to each adult who participates in the system.  Participation would be based on offering part time service to the new government in various vocations to help provide services at a lower total cost to government.  This would include things like helping to clean the streets, to volunteer firefighting and police work to defense and administrative services.

Those who don’t want to participate don’t have too, but would receive no money from government.  I call my system ‘Distributive Capitalism.’  A terrible name, but it is intended as a bridge to take us from where we are in western democracies as dependent on government, to where libertarians want to be, in a world where people are independent of government.

The best way to eliminate social programs and bloated government is to make them no longer necessary.  If everyone has their own savings and retirement accounts to pay for their own social services at their discretion; programs like Social Security, welfare, medicare etc become redundant.

So I applaud the proposal to take Vieques out from under the commonwealth and I urge the residents of the island to take a good hard look at their future and consider my economic proposals as a way of ensuring a long term sustainable future.  Don’t just seek to leave the commonwealth, seek instead the right to be free and equal among the nations of the earth.

From Wikipedia

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About worleyf

Semi-retired Media Relations guy, former radio and TV reporter and legislative aide. Middle of the road Libertarian (as if that actually existed) who reviews current news items and stories, and offers an alternative point of view.
This entry was posted in Independence, Puerto Rico, Vieques and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Should Vieques Island go independent?

  1. Paul Raymondi says:

    Its an island of 10,000 people. How incompetent is the law enforcement and/or courts that they can’t get the 100 or 200 criminals under wraps. Solve the crime, put together a basic tax policy for foreign owners and tourism which goes strictly into energy, education, agriculture, law enforcement and problem solved. Keep it affordable for local PR folks and pensioners who’ve been great citizens their whole lives. Avoid any bureaucratic municipal programs that require both honesty and professionalism on the part of local govt. Require 3rd party auditing of all Govt finances. Honestly, this is ridiculous. 50 “motivated” gringos could wipe out all crime there in 90 days. Eliminating the crime would bring, literally, a billion dollars a year in tourism business. A billion dollars. Perhaps hire some private contractors and get this over with. The good citizens of PR deserve better.

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  2. Paul Raymondi says:

    And by the way, the ideas of bring gambling and prostitution to an island awash in organized crime – that’s where all the murder comes from – is a profoundly bad idea. Look how well that worked in Cuba during the 50s. Its totally unnecessary. The tourism tax base would be massive. Call it the “7% security and sustainability tax.” And its hard to make drugs and prostitution seem like a conservative solution. Clean up the crime, tax more heavily the foreign ownership, bring in 3rd party auditing. Require educational standards for municipal employees. As for independence, here’s a tip. Demonstrate ( for oneself and the investment community you will need ) that you can solve small, manageable problems on your own, while you have the safety net of the US. Honest, mature, no nonsense leadership might be needed to eradicate the crime and economic problems that beautiful island is facing. Probably only organized citizenry can affect the changes needed.

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    • worleyf says:

      Respectfully I disagree. Gambling and prostitution (and drugs) existed before my proposal, and will exist even if it is banned in the new country. The idea of legalizing is to bring it out in the open and better control it. The violence comes mostly from the underworld trade and competition for control of those items. If the government is the primary regulatory agency and the trade is out in the open, then the violence and corruption associated with those activities disappears.

      I agree that a small, but committed group of people can bring crime to an end for a time on the island, but that would pit that small group of people against a good number of the island residents.

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  3. Chris_Black says:

    “Maybe the Navy wasn’t such a bad thing?”
    Thank you. I have been waiting a long time to hear that. When they were talking about pulling out I never thought of the vacum that would be created with the loss of federal support to law enforcement. I did think of the loss of all the civilian jobs (and retirement) and all the military retirees who would not be coming. It’s time to get all those celebrities, politicians, and activists back to fix the problems now and take credit for the results.

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