In “Vieques y Culebra: dos islas en el olvido,” Carmen A. Figueroa Guzman (80grados) writes about the two Puerto Rican island-municipalities Vieques and Culebra.
I recently read news that, after 10 years, a community pharmacy is finally opening on the island municipality of Culebra.
This is one of those stories that makes you think about how ignored these municipal islands are. Their names are only heard when there is a storm about to hit them, or when there is a mishap with the transportation system [ferries] on which they depend so much.
They are the moments when one thinks about the diverse needs that the inhabitants of these islands are going through. And it is frustrating to see the extent to which the country’s private and government sectors are ignoring their pleas.
Vieques and Culebra are known thanks to the tourism sector. Its beaches and various natural resources are worth a visit, even once in a lifetime. However, although this sector is of great importance for the economy of both island-municipalitiesto flourish, we must understand that there are certain issues that need to be resolved.
The inhabitants of these islands have denounced the lack of access to basic services since time immemorial. The service that most reported and known to all is the eternal dilemma of the sea transportation system. However, we often forget that the people of both islands need access to basic services such as food, water, a stable energy system, and medicine.
So, if not having access to basic services such as food, water, a stable energy system or even medicines generates a lot of controversy on the big island…
Why don’t they generate the same level of controversy and outrage when it comes to these two municipalities?
It is sad to know that there are two municipal islands that have enormous potential to be one of the main attractions in the tourism and economic sector of the island; and that they are condemned to oblivion by the country. It is sad to see that [until recently] these islands did not even have a place where they get medicine to treat their illnesses. It is sad to see that every time there is a life and death emergency, the people have to depend on a helicopter or a boat to save their loved ones.
How many lives have been lost because the government has not been able to securely and reliably establish the services necessary to meet the basic needs of the country? What has to happen for us to finally wake up as a country, as a people, to work for the dignified life that we deserve? What has to happen so that we do not delay until the election period the problems that choke our daily lives?
Will we forget about all this until another [Hurricane] Maria arrives?
Let’s hope not.
Translated by Ivette Romero. For original post, see https://www.80grados.net/vieques-y-culebra-dos-islas-en-el-olvido/?