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Navy social impact on Vieques

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  • Navy social impact on Vieques

    Now, it is widely known that 30% of the Population of Vieques works directly for the U.S. Navy.

    Usually, the workforce of a given Population is around 60%, that is, 6 out of every 10 persons in a community work, the others are children and their stay at home mothers, and the retired.

    Therefore, if 3 out of every 10 persons in Vieques work for the U.S. Navy, then that is 50% of the WORKFORCE.

    Now, lets say that the 50% find themselves jobless in two years, what impact would that have on Vieques?

    Well, without a a replaceable job, 8 out of 10 persons in any given community in the USA will lose their home in six months from the point of unemployment, because they have both consumed all their savings as well as ran out of unemployment checks (unemployment usually lasts only up to 1/3 of a year).

    In Vieques this issue of loosing a home will be worse, since Puerto Ricans usually save at rates much lower than for typical American households.

    Also, since 50% of the job market in the region is at stake, this will have a domino effect on the rest of the jobs; let me explain:

    Of the approximately 3,000 jobs Vieques Residents have with the Navy, only 5% of those are menial jobs that are easily replaceable, like that of JANITORS. The rest are very highly skilled jobs in Engineering, Technicians, Clerks, Steel Workers, Maintenance, and Port Service. All these jobs are at more than an hour commuting distance from the main Island of Puerto Rico. None of those jobs will be automatically replaced upon the Navy's departure.

    Now comes the "jawbreaker": since the LOCAL ECONOMY is sustained mostly on the Navy's jobs, then all the restaurants (including fast food restaurants), pharmacies, supermarkets, automobile repair shops, clothing stores, schools, day care centers, medical facilities, law services, and even street vendors are going to be wiped out if the clientelle on which they are based finds itself without an income.

    This PHENOMENON is one that has been documented for many industrial towns in Pennsylvania and Ohio, which used to make up the Steel Industry in the USA until their demise in the middle 1980's to the cheaper competitors in Japan and other countries in the Far East.

    Mass exodus of all highly skilled jobs, beginning from engineers, which for the Vieques Navy installations should add up to 500 of such jobs, and down the line with technicians, mechanical maintenance crews, clerical staffs, etc.

    So, if the Navy leaves, Vieques will turn into a GHOST TOWN in less than five years, as it has happened many times in the good old USA. Were Puerto Rico to be as large as the USA the demise of one town would have no effect, but since Puerto Rico is as tiny as Connecticut, the demise of one town, Vieques, due to entirely political issues, will be a tragedy to Puerto Rico for many generations, at least for the 9,000 lives in Vieques who depend on the Navy directly for 50% of the jobs, and the other 45% of the jobs indirectly.

    PS: As much as the Government of Puerto Rico may promise to provide the missing money from the departure of the No.#1 Jobs Market in Vieques, the sad reality is that the Commonwealth Government cannot replace 100% of the incomes for all the thousands of workers that will lose their jobs. It may do so for the first three months, but it will find itself harming the people being helped, as well as draining the State Resources in the long run, Resources which are already strained today due to the ongoing local and global recession, as well as jobs flight from closing companies that have been pushed out by the penalizing tax system in Puerto Rico as well as the uncertain political climate generated by the very nationalist governor.

  • #2
    Thanks "Black-Rose-of-Death" for giving deferrence to my very original essay!!!!

    You made my 45 minutes of inspiration worthwhile .

    Posted by "Black-Rose-of-Death"
    May 15, 2001
    Copyright © 2001 Originally written by The Washington Post Company. All Rights Reserved.

    Average number of days per year the Navy bombed Vieques before President Clinton's January 2000 decree that said the Navy would only use inert (nonexploding) bombs until 2003: 260

    Number of people who marched in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to protest the decree: 45,000

    Estimated loss of fishermen's income and property: $360,000

    Approximate cost of this one-page ad in The New York Times calling for an end to the bombing (signed by actor Benicio del Toro, singers Ricky Martin, Josť Feliciano, and Marc Anthony, baseball player Roberto Alomar, and other celebrities): $113,274

    May 19, 2001
    Copyright © 2001 Originally written by EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc. All rights reserved.
    Source: World Reporter (TM)

    San Juan, May 18 (EFE).- The 35,400 square meters (8.74 acres) in western Vieques that the U.S. Navy returned to Puerto Rican authorities on May 1, in compensation for the bombing exercises it conducted on the island for 60 years, contain 17 toxic waste sites, according to the San Juan daily El Nuevo Dia.

    Vieques Commissioner Juan R. Fernandez said that 13 of the 17 toxic dumps are located in the 17,700 square meters (4.37 acres), which the United States turned over to the municipality of Vieques , the daily reported.

    The other 17,700 square meters (4.37 acres), where the other four toxic waste sites are located, were turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    The municipality of Vieques plans to establish eco-tourism routes and "low-density" residences on some of the recently returned land, he added.

    Fernandez said that the U.S. Navy has already initiated the clean-up process and has closed-off the toxic waste sites to prevent people from entering the dumps.}

    The only Original part written by the "Balck-Rose-of-Death" himself, noticeable for its poor grammar: What I think about this is what if all this Vieques campotion never happened, how many years would of this have been passed. The Navy is cleaning it up now, but how many years did it take for these TOXIC wastes to accumilate and the Navy never said anyththing until it was to be eventually discovered once the lands are transferred.