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Op-Ed: A Taíno legacy?

Guest columnist, Gigi de Mier, APR, Fellow PRSA

Recent studies show that Puerto Rican DNA carries 15 percent of Taíno genes. As described by Christopher Columbus, Taínos “… were well built, with very handsome bodies and very good faces … they do not carry arms or know them. They should be good servants.”

Columbus also wrote: “They traded with us and gave us everything they had, with good will, they took great delight in pleasing us … They are very gentle and without knowledge of what is evil, nor do they murder or steal. Your Highness may believe that in all the world there can be no better people.”

These precise attributes were their undoing. Trusting, eager to please, simple-minded and agreeable, they were made to pay tribute in gold or cotton and not complying meant certain death. Most Taínos perished from war, slavery and the mines.

I cannot help but wonder if these Taíno characteristics are so ingrained in our DNA that they have kept us from being so much more demanding of government decisions that aren’t any good for the people. Only university students are fierce and fearless in demanding justice, probably because of their youth.

But the island’s middle class, the largest population and the ones that are most affected by government laws, rules and regulations, are satisfied with voicing their complaints among friends and neighbors and enthusiastically talk to the media, but no action follows.

I am not advocating extreme measures like the execution of the finance minister of Japan for not doing his job right, or the incident in a Hungarian city in which his constituents stormed city hall and threw the mayor from his second floor window.  Yet, I believe in the power of the people, in the achievable goals following their convictions, that by believing in themselves they have the capability to accomplish change.

Why should we be made to vote for a legislative reform that does not reflect the ultimate desire of the people: only one legislative body? Why do we have to vote for the same incompetent government officials that do not fulfill their campaign promises? How is it that we pay our electric bill without fully understanding what we are paying for, especially when one of the charges is for operational costs, which is the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s responsibility?

How much more time and money should be spent on a gas pipeline that nobody wants, while the wind farm in Guayanilla and the largest sun panel farm in all of Latin America, located in Ponce, both approved by the government and endorsed by the Energy Office, are still lingering?

Come on, people, and let’s do more than complain. Let us remind the government that they were chosen by us to work on our behalf and for our benefit. We are proud of our Taíno heritage, but we are so much more than that 15 percent of our DNA.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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