Robbing The Peasants of Puerto Rico
First and foremost I must say I have grown to love this island I now live on very much. Puerto Rico has so much to offer. The food is great; the beaches for the most part are clean and the woman I love lives here. The sunrise is magnificent and the sunset is awesome. In many ways I feel like I am in paradise.
Now that I told you some of the positives, I must hit a negative. This problem is just beginning and I see it becoming a very large issue and may bog down the courts of justice. I feel it is stupid and we need those courts to convict rapists, thieves and murderers; not everyday people and tourists.
Before I go into it, warm your mind first with a couple pictures of the positive I told you about.
DTop And AutoExpreso
Maggie, my love, has wanted to show me all of Puerto Rico. We have been doing just that. I have also been the one driving much of the time and I must say on many of the roads here it is like driving on the moon. There are craters and potholes everywhere. The main highways, which would be considered interstates in the United States, you do find holes, but not nearly as bad. These highways have toll booths set up in many places. The two main ones we take are #66 and #3. They run parallel to each other ; See the maps (click them to see them in a larger format). The tolls range from $1.00 to $3.00. A trip to anywhere can cost a lot if you take these roads to keep from driving on the moon.
DTop which is the Department of Transportation in Puerto Rico set up a special system called Auto Expreso which is a tag on your windshield and you get a card much like a debit card. You could also go through these booths and pay cash which many people do instead of the card which initially is $20 and must be renewed for at least $5. The DTop has said they are going to go to a complete system of no cash, just the Auto Expreso. This, is the problem! Read on and understand!
My love is a school teacher; special education is her specialty. Maggie told me something one day that brought tears to my eyes. Many of you know how I feel about children and she explained how there are some of the students she has had that have not laid their eyes on the ocean. I said "what! How on an island this small can not these kids see the ocean?" There are poor people here that cannot afford to pay these tolls and DTop has just made that more difficult.
We almost found out the hard way yesterday when we were cruising and realized the last time we went through AutoExpreso the light flashed yellow meaning the card needed a refill. We had cash but we came to a toll booth that had been changed to no cash. Thank God there was still $2 on the card. I questioned what would have happened if we didn't have the money on the card. So I went to the tried and true Google search engine to research. The findings:
If a person doesn't have AutoExpreso you better have 20$ on you. If you do have it you better have at least $5 on you if it is empty, even if the toll is only $1. There is no turning around as these are one-way roads with dividers, so how DTop gets you is with a $100 fine.
Talk about putting a dent in tourism!
What about those kids who have never seen the ocean?
I must say that whomever is running DTop and AutoExpreso should pull their heads out of that dark hole it is in.
Also, where is all that money going? I see car upon car going through these booths and it wouldn't surprise me if just the booths on the two roads I mentioned were making around $500,000+ a day.
At least the politicians could pull some of that out of their pockets and make sure some of these poor children could see and swim in the ocean.
I am not saying to not have the tolls, but at least make it cash too. As Tom Hanks once said "Stupid is as stupid does". Was Forrest Gump stranded on Puerto Rico?
I say quit thinking about yourselves and think about your people and your country. You, the politicians, will do much better if the peasants are doing well; that has been shown for years by many leaders of many countries.
This is the first installment of things I find wrong in Puerto Rico, may the leaders listen! Remember what a famous Puerto Rican leader said:
“Death is the same for the weak and for the strong, for the poor and for the rich”
Luis Munoz-Marin quotes (Journalist and commonwealth governor, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Boricua Pride Is Calling!
© G.L. Boudonck
© 2011 Greg Boudonck
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