To most people Puerto Rico is tropical holiday playground. But behind the scenes there is?
To most people Puerto Rico is tropical holiday playground. But behind the scenes there is growing local resentment over the island's present position and its ties with the United States. It was expressed recently in an anti-military demonstration.
The demonstration was staged in the small coastal town of Salinas by leaders of the Independence party which gained only three per cent of the vote in the last election. It was the first organised protest ever held in the town but the leaders promised that it would not be the last.
Support for the Independence Party is rapidly growing through demonstrations, by organisations of youth groups, and by giving medical help to the poor in the rural interior.
The Puerto Rican economy appears to be booming, with heavy tax free investment by American industry. It is one of the largest world markets for U.S. goods. But those favouring detachment from American influence claim that for every dollar produced by the island's economy, only 17 cents are left in the island.
Another source of public protest is the U.S. military presence U.S. bases are reported to hold 17 per cent of Puerto Rican land, and some Puerto Ricans see the ships and aircraft there as symbols of American power on their island.
For nearly three decades the party of Louis Munoz Marin governed the island, from the votes of mostly middle and upper middle income Puerto Ricans. But in 1968 his government toppled to Luis Ferre, industrialist and newspaper owner.