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Old 03-30-2023, 11:28 AM
 
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Let's be clear, the Navy didn't take their ball and went home in protest. They were forced out in a very bad way by a small minority of anti-U.S. fueled by American politicians jumping on the bandwagon with a very bias hostile local press and a weak Puerto Rican government that allowed this circus to grow by the day. That's another topic.


If the Puerto Rican government and the people of Puerto Rico can afford these airports then let them pay for it and run it. The one in San Juan was ran poorly for years. Make San Juan into a 1st class airport before thinking to expand other smaller ones with money they don't have.
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Old 04-01-2023, 12:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanJuanStar View Post
Let's be clear, the Navy didn't take their ball and went home in protest. They were forced out in a very bad way by a small minority of anti-U.S. fueled by American politicians jumping on the bandwagon with a very bias hostile local press and a weak Puerto Rican government that allowed this circus to grow by the day. That's another topic.


If the Puerto Rican government and the people of Puerto Rico can afford these airports then let them pay for it and run it. The one in San Juan was ran poorly for years. Make San Juan into a 1st class airport before thinking to expand other smaller ones with money they don't have.
The ball comment was tongue in cheek. But let's not get too carried away the other direction, I was specifically addressing their decision to close Roosevelt Roads. The kerfuffle you point to, refers to the closing of the Vieques Bombing range. These are different installations altogether.

My point with the comment was merely to highlight that the Navy very much admitted that their desire to operate NAS Roosevelt Roads hinged on the availability of the Vieques bombing range. But NAS Roosevelt Roads was a full up flagship wet dock, and massive Naval Air Station to boot, complete with a sub pen even. IOW, there was no statutory need for them to vacate Ceiba (objectively the main economic driver for the island economy in the East) just because Vieques closed.

We can take exception to the semantics of the characterization, but they very much took their ball and went home with regards to roosevelt roads. The President struck an agreement to make Vieques inert-only drops, and the Navy pouted like a child. Dropping bombs from airplanes is in fact my wheelhouse; I'm quite familiar with the infrastructure required and the procedural realities of bombing ranges. In short, it's a Faustian bargain to tell resident of Vieques and the Eastern municipalities of the main island that the price of their economic prosperity is contingent on cancer. The Hawaiians don't put up with it, before we start singling out Puerto Ricans as too uppity. Nobody wants a live bombing range where they eat. Honestly, they took the best side of that island and turned it into a uranium depleted wasteland. The tourism dollars would have been a better deal for the municipality, than whatever remittances they were getting from the Navy.

The rest of your point is noted, we can chew and walk at the same time. Puerto Rico per usual, drops the ball when it comes to reinvestment of the infrastructure they did inherit from the Feds. That too, has nothing to do with the Vieques bombing range closing.

To your second point regarding the airports, 100% agree. There's no impetus behind splitting demand to BQN. Right now a mexican firm has a lease on SJU, and lord knows it's a work in progress. Just like LUMA, the results are a mixed bag, though the privatization lease with the airport has gone on for a while longer than the LUMA takeover. Time will tell, some people report improvements in the facilities. I can tell you as a patron of the SJU airport pretty much yearly since 1998, the improvements have not been dramatic. Lipstick on a pig is how I'd describe it. I'm rooting for the place, but I'm much less invested now that my parents are aged and it's clear I'll never return on a full time basis. The income tax situation keeps me away. PR hates upper middle W2 earners, and I don't need to get fleeced twice to take a hint where my kind isn't wanted. Digressing.
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Old 04-01-2023, 10:12 AM
 
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Just for the people that are not from Puerto Rico. Vieques is small island about 8 miles from mainland P.R. It's about 20 miles long and less than 4 miles wide. The population of this tiny place is about 8k people (compared to 3.2 million on the mainland) The Navy operated in 2/3 of the island. The U.S. Navy has been doing exercise and pouring millions of dollars to the economy in P.R. with 72 million dollars in 1941 (equivalent today to 1.3 billion dollars) and adding to the Puerto Rican economy every year since then.



When the U.S. Navy arrived in 1941, there were 10,362 inhabitants in Vieques and 8,000 tons of sugar were produced that year. The Navy expropriated two-thirds of the land, including most of that for farming. La Central Playa Grande did the last milling in 1942.



Right after the Navy arrived, there were plenty of base construction jobs in Vieques . People came from mainland Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to work. When construction was finished, the workers left. 3,000 of the 9,000 inhabitants of Vieques had been relocated to St. Croix. The rest were settled in the areas of Santa Maria and Monte Santo in Vieques . There was no sugar and no base construction left to do. The government of Puerto Rico tried, between 1945 and the 1960s, to re-establish an agricultural economy in what was left of the civilian section of Vieques but the effort failed. Between 1960 and 1970 the economy shifted from agriculture to manufacturing, the General Electric plant becoming the most consistent source of employment.


Nobody had a problem except the anti-Americans in the island that wanted everything about the U.S. gone until 1999 when a Puerto Rican civilian employed as a security guard by the US Navy, died from a stray bomb while observing a routine exercise. They used that incident to drive the biggest propaganda of lies and half truths to change the Navy and their operations to a cruise line while expecting millions of dollars in the economy brought by the U.S. military . The U.S. left and did their operations in Florida and other states but then Puerto Rico complains why the U.S. government gives more aid and funds to the states than Puerto Rico in disasters and complains why they is no life in Vieques. The same people that protested the Navy gone, are nowhere to be found to invest and grow Vieques. The only talking point is to blame the U.S. for everything.


Nobody likes propaganda telling them everyday that the Navy is a negative force and are causing cancer everyday on the news. Even when it's not true, the propaganda stays and the U.S. didn't want to deal with that and the Cold War is over so they don't need Puerto Rico and that baggage.

What good is a Navy base if they are not allowed to drill and be combat ready? You being a veteran you must know the Navy doesn't have the last word on this or any other branch. They are govern by civilians that are U.S. politicians and politicians govern by public opinion regardless if it's pushed by propaganda. That's the chain of command in the military. An agreement between the Clinton Administration and the Government of Puerto Rico (then Gov. Rosello Father) agreed to cease all live bombing on Vieques by March 2003.



Puerto Rico can't have it both ways. They can't benefit from the U.S. military for decades and then demand they can't exercise and be combat ready in the smallest part of Puerto Rico away from the mainland island.



The cancer thing was propaganda for politics with manipulation and great pr. The studies linking the Navy's actions to the decline of public health were done by researchers affiliated with the Puerto Rico Independence Party and that none of the health-related allegations made have stood-up to credible scientific scrutiny or universally accepted legal standards. Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health conducted a review of the study on vibroacoustic disease done by the Vieques government. The 2001 review found no evidence to conclude that vibroacoustic disease symptoms on Vieques were due to noise from Navy exercises. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found that either the Navy had not affected the environment or that the Navy had affected it so minimally that the contamination would pose no threat to human health.

At the end it was a loss for Puerto Rico and a gain to Florida, Virginia and other states were the Navy operates and are combat ready. Returning to the airport topic, I rather put emphasis on the San Juan airport and make that a 1st class airport before investing in other smaller airports with money Puerto Rico doesn't have.


Puerto Rico can make one of the best malls in the Americas in Plaza Las Americas but they can't do the same for their main airport but wants to expand other smaller airports with money they don't have. Typical Puerto Rico. Little less government and more private sector but that isn't going to happen.
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Old 04-01-2023, 12:22 PM
 
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I'm fully aware of the political machinations that have actual influence on base closures. I am just telling you the Defense secretaries and Congress people have a lot of pull on these decisions, the latter in particular. The difference here is that PR doesn't have Congress people with vote to stonewall a base closure the size of Roosevelt Roads, which is why the closure of Roosevelt Roads was a steamrolled rubber stamp affair once the Navy threw a tantrum.

I'm technically a vet by longevity, but I'm still active btw. Sorry to get too inside baseball here, but the uninformed mischaracterization of these issues need to be corrected in public:

Have you dropped live and inert on a range? I have, with regularity. The level of training is equivalent. The expenditure of live ordnance is an inventory management scheme, and if we're being really honest, more grift for the military industrial complex. What we do in the Farallon is part and parcel of the fraud waste and abuse that I'm talking about. A surplus of Vietnam era M117 stockpiles that nobody had any interest in de-constructing and disposing of ethically, so we use it as "free" gravity-ballistic training, which is combat obsolete anyways in the way these munitions are being dispensed with vs modern combat.

The Services often like to conflate the kerfuffle of live release training with simulated weapons release, which I agree, are not a training equivalent. But this is a false dichotomy, as inert weapons release training is weight and aerodynamics-equivalent, minus the actual weapons effect on the ground, which is mainly environmentally damaging, and not even particularly useful for BDA training (since the target sets are dummy shipping containers). Even the frat pattern of the weapon against the releasing aircraft is not something that needs to be validated with every weapons release. BL, the Navy was maligning here with regard to the live ordnance in Vieques being existential to the Atlantic Fleet, and thus necessary for the existence of Roosevelt Roads, plain and simple. Btw, it wasn't just the bombing range, it was the Marine beach assault theatre they had in there, complete with fregging Cruisers pummeling the coastline with 5 inch guns like a re-enactment of the landing of Okinawa, as late as 2003 (wtf).

I also take exception with your dismissal of environmental concerns as some generalized socialist propaganda. It's easy to make normalizing claims against environmental concerns when it's academic to someone. I just don't see this issue in the monochromatic "capitalists vs socialists" false dichotomy way you frame it. Especially as someone who has contributed to that environmental impact as an actual operator, and who had the lives of people on the ground in my hands as an aircraft commander. The F-18 incident is not the first or last time we've killed fellow Americans in the conduct of live ordnance training. So we'll agree to disagree on the enviro and social impact of live weapons training into our flora, fauna, and population adjacency. I wouldn't get caught dead living in Vieques full time, knowing what's been jammed and imploded into that soil and beach underwater surface, and I've handled/preflighted the stuff. We'll have to agree to disagree on the environmental angle.

As to the discussion of Puerto Rico disinvestment, we're on the same page. The sclerotic level of disinvestment is typical Puerto Rico. And btw, the reason why this will never change is because PR has long ago been decreed a tax haven colony for American excess capital. The people living or borne out of that island (we both resemble the remark of course), are simply collateral damage. Some decide to live out a life of "ay bendito", others refuse to be victims and emigrate to seek their self-actualization.

The separatists in the island are by definition my declared enemies as a uniformed servicemember, but you'll never catch me calling them hypocrites. I reserve that honor to the ELA-pushing cohort and the generations of almost Yazer Arafat level of double-speak, which started with that two-timing hack, Muñoz Marín. The green-flag waving ones, enemies of mine as they may be, are at least consistent. And I digress.
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Old 04-03-2023, 01:33 PM
 
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Again, the Navy didn't throw a "tantrum". If they are not are allowed to do exercises and be combat ready and train then why be there in the first place, to have ships dock to the piers for show and the Feds give them lots of aid every year? Congress has a lot of say and they are civilian politicians after all and go by public opinion above all regardless if the public opinion is misguided. P.R. might not have a congressional vote but many Puerto Ricans vote on the mainland and the last thing the military needs is every day drama during peace time.

The Cold War was over and the Navy has other places they could go and went. Plus with the closures of bases after the Cold War ended, Puerto Rico went to top priority to close that base down. They called the attention and they got it, the Navy left and now is a ghost town.

That's fine, We can agree to disagree. People get injured or killed during training all the time. That is every branch and all training bases on earth. The other scenario is war and that is a lot more of a hell hole than training gone bad. Our military has to train so they can do their job in the worst possible environment. From 1943 to 1999, nobody had a problem the Navy doing their exercises on their side in Vieques until 1 civilian dies during the age of internet and 24/7 sensationalism news and then all of the sudden the Navy is evil and has to go. I guess for 60 years the government of Puerto Rico didn't really have a plan B.

Vieques is fine. There is more pollution in China, India and Vietnam combine than any part of Vieques. Just don't drink the water like the rest of Puerto Rico and it has nothing to do with the Navy. The Navy is gone for years so now what? They have nobody to blame but themselves and the government in P.R. are clueless.


Well, the separatists are hypocrites. They just haven't got to power. These people are dangerous if given power. They are the same people running Venezuela and Cuba. They want for the people in the island to sacrifice except for them. Populares are who they are. At least most are pro capitalists, pro U.S. and you can make deal with them. Not the separatists. Their rhetoric gets worse with time.
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Old 04-07-2023, 08:12 PM
 
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Another challenge with increasing access to the other airports is that Puerto Rico itself is not a popular destination. San Juan gets traffic because of cruise ships but there is very little awareness of the island in the US beyond the east coast. I live on the west coast of the US and when I tell people I am going to Puerto Rico they ask about Costa Rica. Go figure. I wish there were flights from Dallas or Houston to BQN or PSE. It's just not going to happen.
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Old 04-07-2023, 11:32 PM
 
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Puerto Rico is not the center of the universe. Like they say in the island "No somos el ombligo del mundo" (Some think they are) . There are many places and cheaper if you are on the West Coast. Just on the Caribbean alone you have many islands and resorts but if you live on the West Coast unless you have business in Puerto Rico or have family, I don't see the trade off spending more when you have other resorts and destinations which are closer and cheaper.


The only reason I keep going back is because I was born and raised there and I have deep ties in the island. If I was a foreigner to the island, why would I want to keep returning when there are other choices and most of them cheaper. I would want to see new things.
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Old 04-09-2023, 11:48 PM
 
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Fair points. The reason I have gone back so often is that I have a group of friends that I go diving with down in La Parguera. PR has great diving. If it weren't for diving, I would have probably not visited PR as much.
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