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Puerto Rican Studies
Transcript of Puerto Rican Studies
Chapters 10 & 11 Plantation society dominated by a few landowning families.
- Ranchones and Barracone
- Housed poorest workers.
- Land and houses were listed in the tax records as belonging to the landowners who paid the corresponding taxes.
- Workers were removed without the legal obstacles when the large landowners sold their properties. ➢ Tío Family - Largest landowning family of Vieques in 1941.
- Controlled more than 10,500 cuerdas at the time. ➢ Playa Grande Mill - Only one still grinding cane in Vieques at the time.
- Acquired by Tío family 2 years prior from Bank of Nova Scotia.
- Inherited agregado system when the land and mill were purchased. Agrego - Agregados
Rural workers who lived on the plantations and exchanges labor services for usufruct over the land.
- Existed in Puerto Rico since the 19th Century.
- Interior highland that specialized in coffee production.
- Served landowners as a means of securing workers in a context of labor scarcity by offering land.
ex: houses and cows for milk ➢ Vieques - Navy compensated the owners of properties without being concerned about the fate of the agregados and rural workers who were settled on the land on terms defined by traditional relations of agrego.
- Land taken away for amount of money that the Federal Court deemed reasonable.
- Tío family not involved in removal of agregados from properties.
- Overall, the Tío family suffered many economic losses. Expulsion of Agregados
and Workers Economy- Plantation economy and society in Vieques of great importance.
- Lived and worked on the land of the large landowners.
- Due to the expropriation, workers lost all at once both their jobs and their houses.
- Not possible to make a living without recourse to wage labor in sugar fields at harvest time.
- Subsistence plots were important during the idle season of the sugar industry. ➢ After July 2001
Referendum - New York press ran stories to decline usufruct.
- Had quoted people saying complete opposite of reality.
- Reality consisted of poverty and deterioration of living conditions.
- 77% of interviewees by the Proyecto Caribeño de Justicia y Paz in 1979 claimed to be agregados. Expropriations vs. Evictions - Landowners received compensation and workers did not. (expropriations)- Both parties did not receive any compensation. (evictions) End Result - The navy estimated 4,250 to 5,000 people or in other words, 40 to 50%, of total population were dislocated.- About 27% were resettled with Navy assistance.- Great impact on economy and altered the social structure. Expropriation of the
Landowners Reconcentration During the 1940-1950 there were major population growths and declines in different neighborhoods of Vieques, due to settlements and expropriations. •Places affected by the expropriations: Punta Arenas- population declined by 100%. Mosquito- declined by 98%. Llave- declined by 89% Long-Term
Population Effects Population of Vieques peaked in 1920- census counted 11,651 people living on the island. The population remained at around 10,000 people for the next 20 years. Each year after the 1940’s, residents of Vieques emigrated, some to PR, and others to St. Croix. Mid 1940s- majority of Puerto Ricans living St. Croix were from Vieques. Toward A Public, Regular,
and Active Practice: The Vieques Case Vieques
Island 10 kilometers east of Puerto Rico
Possession of the US as result of 1898 invasion and Treaty of Paris
US Navy occupied apprx. 2/3 of Vieques and used it to practice military exercises since the early 40’s
Other NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) countries were invited to use island for training in exchange for a rental fee
What happens next?
Bush wants to leave Vieques by 2003
9/11 influences this decision
Final decision left to secretary of military Property
& Marginalization •Mar·gin·al·izeTo place in a position of marginal importance, influence, or power:
•U.S. armed forces invade Vieques (Physical, Political, Economic, and Social Spaces)
•Limitations on Economic Activities (Generated poverty, Marginalization, and Poor Educational Opportunities)
•Patients Transferred to Fajardo Citizen Mobilization •Vieques community Organizations demanded
-Cessation of Bombing
•Puerto Rico achieved the removal U.S. Navy from Culebra
•1983 The Memorandum
-Navy and the Government of Puerto Rico -Joint efforts
-Employment Civil Disobediance David Sanes
Ruben Berrios Martinez Convergence Puerto Rican Independence
“The peoples strike” Chapter 10: Expropriation
& Displacement of Civilians in
Vieques, 1940-1950 •The expropriation of civilian lands to build military facilities for the U.S. Navy during the 1940s was the origin of the conflict in Vieques.
•Since the 1940s, Vieques has been used as a munitions depot and target range for the U.S. and other countries.
•This chapter examines navy expropriations in Vieques during the 1940s. Land Concentration in Vieques •The degree of land concentration in Vieques was largely due to the existence of a sugar
-plantation economy since the 19th century.
•At the beginning of the 20th century, Vieques had four sugar mills (centrales):
-Arcadia, Santa María, Esperanza (also known as “Puerto Real”), Playa Grande
•By 1930, the Playa Grande mill enjoyed “the distinction of being the surviving sugar factory on the island of Vieques.” •The 1930s were years of a terrible crisis in the sugar industry for the entire Carribean.
More than two-thirds of the land planted in cane in Vieques
The Benítez Sugar Company and the Eastern Sugar Associates.
•The Playa Grande mill
The Benítez family bankrupt in 1936
Purchased by Juan Angel Tío •According to the census of 1930,
two owners of more than 1,000 acres controlled 71% of the farmland in the municipality of Vieques.
•Vieques was the third most extreme instance of land concentration in Puerto Rico.
•The U.S. Navy’s accounts of the expropriations generally emphasize that most of the land was acquired from a
handful of owners. CIVIL SOCIETY Def: the space in which a citizen’s effort breaks with key elements of traditional political participation.
Putting emphasis on the need to revitalize civil society through free and open deliberation.
Existence of civil societies promotes democracy in various ways.
In PR, there exists an electoralist political culture. AN ELECTORALIST
POLITICAL CULTURE In PR, most citizens associate politics only with voting.
In PR, the government occupies a very important space in the creation of jobs and business opportunities.
Parties still monopolize political activity and are protected by a series of privileges in the form of governmental subsidies.
Often act as a wall of conflict for independent candidates and new organizations that question them. The Ecological Impact Illnesses due to war exercises
Dr. Carmen Colón de Jorge
Other contaminants and weapons used and fired throughout Vieques include napalm, Agent Orange, chaff, and depleted uranium bullets CRITICAL QUESTION: Do you believe Puerto Rico would become a civil society if it was an independent country? Capital Assests, Employment,
and How To Make A Living •Wealth Components in Vieques: land, improvements to land, and “personal property”
•Value of personal property dropped dramatically b/t 1945-1950 by a 27% decrease Decrease in Capital •Decrease in the amount of capital available to generate income•Total assets per person decreased from $186 to $86 Economic Status •Rural stores in Vieques neighborhoodsPulperias and Colmados
1945- establishments dedicated to the sale of alcohol
Number of automobiles increased by 76% NPP Government
Changes Path •The year 2000 was crucial for the future of Vieques. In January, the Puerto Rican gov revoked its policy of “not one more bomb”. Navy spokesmen admitted that the hostility and disobedience to their presence in Vieques prevented them from doing their job. Elections of November 2000 Impact on Vieques •In the elections of 2000, 66% of voters in Vieques approved the governmental candidates who demanded the immediate withdrawal of the navy. •Sila María Calderón, the new governor, filed a lawsuit in the federal court claiming irreparable environmental harm to Vieques. Vieques Civil Society
Prepares For No Navy •One of the elements that are outstanding in this effort has been the support of an interdisciplinary group of professionals who joined forces to form the Technical and Professional Vieques Support Group. “The will of the people of Vieques has been fully expressed, and it is that the Navy must leave. As a result of this reality, the plan we will prepare is based on a scenario that the Navy will not be there’.
– Jose Caballero. An Effort of
International Scale •The pro-human rights effort in Vieques showed the struggle of the Puerto Rican democratic civil society. The Comité Pro Rescate y Desarollo de Vieques (CPRDV) shares information
and strategies with community organizations affected by military contamination and repression by
the U.S. armed forces. Condemnation Proceedings Condemnation proceedings
- Move the civilian population Eviction of Vieques population and letters
New plots lacked water and basic sanitary provisions
Bitten by rats and scorpions
Destruction of the sugar latifundia
“There was a lot of opposition, but people were afraid to express themselves openly. The government and all the powerful were Americans. We had no support. We were slaves. We had no rights.” What is at stake is not whether property owners received some compensation but the element of compulsion in the sale. The Disappearance
of the Barrios Two successive processes of expropriation in Vieques affected the western barrios first and then eastern barrios. Condemnation proceedings in the late 1941 affected all of Punta Arenas, Llave, Mosquito, and some of the lands of Puerto Ferro, Puerto Diablo, and Florida. The Barrio of Punta Arenas totally disappeared during the first wave of the expropriations of the navy. In the 2nd wave of expropriations, the number of cuerdas registered in the municipal taxation decreased. Years of the
economic activity Construction of the Mosquito and pier=better salaries1943- Viequenses protested the lack of employment =squalor period for population Due to relocation of the war, construction came to a halt in Vieques=period of “thin cows” Reminiscent of the Sugar Industry Restore sugar production with pineapples=unsuccessful
No agricultural economy in existent and no alternative economy To replace what was lostThe value of “personal” property declined Chapter 11: New
Dimensions in Civil
Society Mobilization Struggle for demilitarization
The Vieques community building effort
abuses of the military.
1989 Report of the Civil Rights Commission
Vieques peace movement •Employment by military construction=good source of income