the Internet phenomenon, I have found that most of my pals of the R&R youth years are still doing well... in Florida. Although many Puerto
Rican rather have the island's landscape beauty, others feel the economy
there is detrimental for the kind of lifestyle they want. College grads,
policemen, teachers, artists and a slew of other professionals are
seeking Florida. WHAT happened? Is the local economy THAT
bad? Where's the money gone? (Please don't say the Governor's
I was a kid in the 1950s there was no extraordinary reason to move to the
Unites States. Puerto Ricans had been doing it for fifty years but
somehow the post-war 50s was a time of some abundance, all over. Gasoline
was 25¢ a gallon and you could have lunch for a couple of bucks. A salary
of $20 a day could support a small family in PR.
We had big cars, like the '55 Cadillac, with 300 lb. bumpers
It took 2
guys to lift that in order to install it.
In 1956, my dad bought a big
five bedroom house in Bayamón for just $3,000 !!!. There were some
Boricua migrant travelers that came and told us about "Los
Niuyores", but they weren't wearing the fancy clothes of the Hamptons, so
we assumed we were OK in the Barrio. Our military served in the later
decades to no avail. No affluence or loots ever came from it.
Today Puerto Rico suffers the same old economic malady... businesses are
staggering, blame it on Wall Street, The Politicians are crooks, the
customers are not there... yada, yada... What happened? FLORIDA...
that's what's happened!! After years of ubiquitous inflation and
nothingness, families packed up and joined the fulanos in Miami
Ever heard "Miami of Bust!"?
Fulanos are thousands of middle-class professionals who have fled Puerto
Rico within the past twenty years, becoming what some people are calling
"Flori-Ricans." They can't stand the impasse. Just like the
Jews in Pharaoh's time... They needed an Exodus!!! Let My People Go!!!!
The title "Exodus" derives from the Greek ξοδος,
Exodos, meaning "departure, out-going," the name given to the book
in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of Jewish scriptures made
between the 3rd to 1st centuries BC. In Hebrew it is called Shemot
(שְׁמוֹת) from the opening phrase Ve-eleh shemot, ואלה שמות, "These
are the names", a practice in line with the other four books of the
Torah. So there.
All we want is jobs to feed our families... in Miami... Arf!
The fulanos are behooved into thinking that they should
stay and work for this country. Well, they claim to be tired of the sacrifice of
their families due to unfulfilled promises. The same old sandwich with a
different bread. The departure of the Vieques Navy a while back, left 1500 jobless...
and if I'm not mistaken, Ramey in Aguadilla left also a trail of dusty
The ever-present corruption in the government has left a
bitter taste in the mouths of the constituency. "NO... not again"
...says Rufo, a local from Puerta de Tierra, as the Newspaper headlines
ANOTHER indictment against the governor... two, three, four.. five. It's too
much, too soon. ¡Ay, Caramba!
HARD FACT: Too many corrupt officials are being caught with
their suits on but with their hands full of cookie dough...
How can such legislation influence the economy?
Many would-be-emigrants are called traitors when people
ask, 'Why don't you stay here and work for advancement?' WELL...Armando
long are they supposed to? They want to help push Puerto Rico forward,
but what about their kids?"
It seems that the jobs are not hanging from a coat
rack just waiting to be picked up. These guys are fed up by an island
wracked by inflation, unemployment and the ubiquitous of crime grown out
of control... ah, and the crooks in government who are filling their own
pockets in Switzerland.
Puerto Rico, after the first recession, let masses of people move to Florida as first-time voters in a
presidential election year, banking that the Sunshine State would
provide new opportunities.
This time, the Puerto Ricans leaving the island are highly educated
professionals whose departure both provides a safety valve to growing
unemployment and threatens the island's skilled work force. As they
backwards... they see nothing but smoke fading into the blue Puerto Rican skies
In theory, waiting in line for The American Dream is everybody's
Studies show at least 200,000 of Puerto Rico's 4 million people
moved to Florida from 2000 to 2006. About half of Florida's nearly
700,000 Puerto Ricans live in Central Florida, particularly the Orlando
area. That's close to one million!
But census figures do not reflect the wave that began two years ago,
when a budget crisis forced the Puerto Rican government to shut down for
several weeks. More than 70,000 people were temporarily furloughed, so
it was not long before nurses, doctors and police officers joined the
teachers and out-of-work public servants who headed for Florida.
Then gas prices climbed, and people saw their electric bills reach as
high as $1,000 a month. Yikes! Government statistics show food prices have
increased 12 percent this year, and housing 15 percent.
Products in US markets sell cheaper because there
are more people buying them. Merchants can afford a lower price due to
Professionals in Puerto Rico make around $25,000 a year,
give or tale a thousand or two. Day care centers and private schools
cost $600 or $700 a month. Typical car payment - for a Suzuki - was $500
a month. Many are falling behind in mortgage and other loans. Stay
behind and complain? You have to find opportunities.
How many Puerto Ricans have
arrived in Florida in the past two years, it's hard to tell. But
government estimates show some 65,000 are leaving the island each year.
The island's government
has largely ignored the problem, because it offers a safety valve for an
economy that experts say shrank by 2 percent last year....2%? I don't
People can only leave so fast...
Experts say the
exodus could be temporary, particularly as people realize Florida is
suffering job losses, too. (Mmm, would it better to be unemployed there
than in PR, huh?)
Emigration is part of the Puerto Rican mentality, and so is
returning home after several years abroad. Puerto Ricans know how to
read, and once in Florida, it just a matter of reading the Road Maps.
Pa' Mississippi me voy!