Tu Voz Se Va a Escuchar

Tu Voz Se Va a EscucharEl Nuevo Dia, in collaboration with Telemundo and the Corporación de Apoyo a Programas Educativos y Comunitarios (Capedcom), want to provide a forum for the people of Puerto Rico to be heard. The purpose of these meetings, according to Maria de Lourdes Lara President of Capedcom, is to collect proposals for the solution of the principal problems that people complain about Puerto Rico.

The proposals will be generally targeted towards the following themes: Education, Health, Family, Security, Environment, and Economy. The proposals collected will be presented to the different political parties of Puerto Rico with the intention that these ideas are incorporated into the platforms of each of their respective parties.

According to Marcelina Vélez, President of the Association of Colleges and Universities in Puerto Rico, she believes that "Estamos todos esperanzados en que este proyecto sea el inicio de un nuevo Puerto Rico" or roughly translated "We think we are really smart and important for sponsoring this initiative, and before it starts we are going to feel really superior for having done so. Oh yeah, and this will lead to a better Puerto Rico, blah, blah, blah.".

While expectations are high for the forums, I'd like to make the first set of proposals:

  • With the exception of the Governor's cabinet, make it unconstitutional to replace any other civil servant during a change of administration
  • Eliminate At large candidates from the political process
  • Create an independent inspector that will monitor government acquisitions
  • Reduce the $60 million the Tourism Company spends annually to advertise Puerto Rico to $4 Million and transfer the remainder to the Police Department and the Solid Waste Department.
  • Make all further legislative salaries be voted upon during popular elections
  • Make all Puerto Rico owned companies invest 25% of net profits in research and development
  • Reduce the government payroll by 50%
  • Reduce the number of schools and eliminate 90% of the administrators from the Education System
  • Legalize marijuana and de-criminalize cocaine.
You can see how little time it takes to start creating proposals that would begin to address some of the "principales males que aquejan al País", but at the same time become an exercise in futility. Puerto Rico has significant structural problems. Problems that are at the foundation of our society and core to our individual lives. And truly, the only proposals that will ever amount to any progress will never be considered because they strike too close too home.

Ask most people and they all give a similar answer for our problems, it's the people that live here. The sour truth, something we don't often like to face up to, is that neither government (ours or the US's), nor political parties, nor education, nor social services can effect any real change in Puerto Rico. That can only come from the people of Puerto Rico accepting personal responsibility, accepting personal accountability, and accepting the necessary sacrifices to change our individual lives. As Michael "freak" Jackson said it's the man (or woman) in the mirror, that we need to change, not anything else.

So perhaps in one sense, these forums do contain some sense of hope. Since their aim is to create a culture of personal citizen's responsibility, maybe it is the first few baby steps to change. However with a culture that has come to worship money, vanity, personal status, a life of ease, and minimize sacrifice, it will take phenomenal, cataclysmic, supernatural forces to make any change. In short, it will take a miracle. Either that or a good ol'e stomp on your neck dictator to kick everyone's ass into line. So while my heart and soul pray for and long for the former, my brain tells me that if I were a betting man, the latter is the only play.

The dates for the forums are listed below. Anyone interested in participating can register at the Capedcom web page or by calling (787) 745-3710.
  • August 25 - 27: Interamerican University in San German
  • September 8 - 10: University of Puerto Rico in Utuado
  • September 22- 24: University of Puerto Rico in Humacao
  • October 6 - 8: Pontifica Catholic Univeristy in Ponce
  • October 20 - 22: Univeristy Northeast in Carolina
  • November 3- 5: University of Puerto Rico in Arecibo
  • November 17 - 19: Interamerican University in San Juan
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