My article about Vieques gentrification, published back in 2003
The Second Invasion of Vieques
By Carmelo Ruiz Marrero
August 30 2003
The boom of bombs has been replaced by the real estate “boom.” With the official closure of the firing range, Vieques is now the target of a runaway race of speculators, businessmen and dealers in real estate who are fishing in muddy waters.
The people of Vieques already know this phenomenon. Residents from the United States and other countries and Puerto Ricans from the big island have been for years the owners of most of the businesses on the island, especially those related to tourism, and so they gain the most from economic activities in the island-town.
The arrival of wealthy residents and businesspeople in an area that they find attractive inflates the prices of property, making life impossible for the original residents and forcing them to move. In 1998, Roberto Rabin of the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques (CPDV) told me how the viequenses were losing their island not only to the Navy but also to gentrification.
“Investors and economic interests, mostly from the United States but also Germans and Japanese, have been buying properties in Vieques for many years,” Rabin said. “With the Navy’s departure there are new possibilities and greater motivation for speculators.” He added that on the boardwalk of Esperanza, on Vieques’s south side, 95% of the businesses are owned by people from the U.S., including hotels, restaurants, kayak and car rental businesses, and apartments.
TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE: