by Jesús Dávila
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, October 12th, 2012 (NCM) – The Strategy Research Project of the U.S. Army War College has, since the year 2011, a plan to reestablish the naval, air and land bases in Puerto Rico with the manifest usefulness of bolstering the U.S. hegemony in the Caribbean and specifically influence political changes in Cuba.
This will be a huge regional victory for the U.S.” affirmed Lieutenant Colonel Lalo Medina, whose proposal is based on choosing annexation (statehood) for Puerto Rico as a state of the Union and to take advantage of the circumstances created by the process for the resurgence of this island nation in the northeastern Caribbean as a military bastion.
The document, which the War College warns represents exclusively the opinion of its author, takes as fact that the political condition of Puerto Rico “needs to be evaluated and changed within the next six years” and coincides with a call for a plebiscite along with a general election in November. In it the electorate will be asked if they wish the country to remain a colony, as well as choosing for statehood (annexation), Independence or Sovereign Commomwealth (free association)
The autonomist Popular Democratic Party, main opposition, is asking its followers to vote “Yes” to the first question and to leave blank the second question, which would leave an opening for annexation, upheld by the governing New Progressive Party to accumulate a majority of votes. The NPP is also favored by the fact that the Party of the Working People, the Sovereign Union Movement, the Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico Party and the National Hostosiano Independence Movement has declared neutrality which leaves the defense of independence only to the Puerto Rican Independence Party
The NPP as well as the PIP will promote the “No “to the colony in the first question, as well as the new organization ALAS, which has taken on the task of defending the Sovereign Commonwealth.
The Independence military sector, represented by the Boricuas People’s Army-Macheteros, rejects all electoral participation under colonial governance and continues its preparations for a confrontation the United States armed forces.
The study by Lieutenant Coronel Medina has convergences and differences with the one done by Lieutenant Shirley Roman for the Naval Postrgraduate School of the United States Navy in 1991. But in this other document, the favored option for Puerto Rico was the “Enhanced Commonwealth” which in fact won the 1993 plebiscite.
Lieutenant Roman back then posed that “practicality dictates that this issue be looked at in terms of the goals of the U.S. foreign policy positions for both Puerto Rico and the Caribbean as a whole the practical considerations dictate that the matter be dealt with in terms of the objectives of foreign policies of the United States towards Puerto Rico and the Caribbean as a whole, and that is perceived as being best for the national interest of the United States.”
Within this context, Lieutenant Roman argued that what must be done was to grant Puerto rice greater autonomy but without eliminating dominance taking into account “the fact that the United States has been able to establish a strong presence in the Caribbean, in part by developing army, air force and navy bases.” Besides she argued that the “United States derives benefits from the commonwealth status through a well-entrenched monopoly.”
Since then in years past, the economic and military situation has greatly changed. The very U.S. government eliminated tax privileges for U.S. capital investment in Puerto Rico –via which the worst forecasts attributed to annexation or Independence made by Lieutenant Roman became reality- and the struggle against the Navy in Vieques put an end to the era of great military and naval bases in this island nation.
Lieutenant Coronel Medina retakes these issues and asserts that with anticipating annexation the arrival of mass capital investments in order to integrate the economy with that of the United States. He also points out that the experience derived from the struggle in Puerto Rico in defense of Vieques is precisely was a “wake-up call” for the U.S. about the fact that even under an autonomous regime this “tiny island impacted the weight of U.S. national security in the Caribbean and potentially it weakened its options for Latin American support”
But, in his opinion, this is corrected by annexation, one of the advantages of which could be “the military resurgence” with which it could “immediately increase security in the region and establish a renewed presence in the Caribbean.” The document asserts that “The State of Puerto Rico will be a key player in assisting any future transition of a free Cuba to democracy.”
The plan takes into account that Puerto Rican opposition and recommends precautionary measures of environmental protection in the new military installation, the adequate management of the means of mass communication and to recruit the patriotism and enthusiasm of Puerto Ricans during the period of transition.
One of the most curious aspects of the plan is that it poses that if Puerto Rico becomes an independent nation, “deteriorating economic problems will likely bring higher rates of crime, increase immigration from other Caribbean islands, drug trafficking and potentially import terrorism.” But almost all these problems are part of the daily life in this island nation under U.S. dominium.
Lieutenant Colonel Medina submitted his report n March 11th, 2011, on the same day in which, following a long period of student uprising –in which there were confrontations with the National Police, injured and tortured- rebellious students and support groups held a modest remembrance of the riot during that same day in 1971 during which unknowns shot to death the commander and a sergeant of the anti-riot units and an Army cadet. During that ceremony once again the University rebel cries “we’re in the Street with every detail and a Molotov cocktail”