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.