Monday, June 20, 2011

It's time Puerto Rico decides on political status


Puerto Rico status: It's time Puerto Rico decides on political status -
"I just returned from a three-day visit to San Juan that left me appalled at how much its economic and social situation had declined since my last visit, in 2008. Despite $7 billion in federal stimulus money for Puerto Rico, the island's Republican administration has slashed the budget and dismissed thousands of government workers. Unemployment has always been a problem on the island. Ten years ago, at the end of the prosperous 1990s, the island's rate was 11.7%, according to the Department of Labor and Human Resources. Today, it has climbed to a highly alarming 16.2% (compared with about 9% on the mainland).

Evidence of economic and social deterioration is all around. Violence is rampant, driven in part by increased drug trafficking. Puerto Rico has less than half the population of New York City, but last year it had nearly twice as many murders with 955 killings, according to FBI figures. The barrios and caserĂ­os (government-subsidized housing) are plagued with drug dealers, gangs, idle youths and jobless adults living off welfare. The drug trade has become much more pervasive."