Bullish: Why I Moved Back Home to Puerto Rico

 

 sanjuan-puerto-rico-el-morro-fort

Life is good. I recently moved back home to Puerto Rico after 7 years in the USA. Life is good. I recently had my first daughter, she’s four months old today. Life is good. I have a beautiful and intelligent wife that loves me. Everything is more than OK.

Let’s take a step back for a second… I left PR in 2007 because I was looking to build a career. I have been keeping an eye on the economic and social situation in Puerto Rico for several years and I’ve been wanting to move home for quite some time (I confess, I’ve been looking for the right spot to move home from the second I left) but it never felt like the right moment…until the winter of 2013-2014 rolled around. During this time there was a lot of news about Puerto Rico’s economy and the difficulties it was facing. There was also a lot of news about different measures government and enterprises were taking to grow the economy and push forward. Full disclosure: I’m bullish on Puerto Rico. At the same time, anyone who lived north of Virginia and East of Idaho at any point between October 2013 and May 2014 knows this last winter was f***ing brutal. The cold weather and the impending birth of my daughter, combined with my bullishness towards the future of Puerto Rico, served as motivation to begin stepping up my efforts to get home.

me muero de frio

As a part of stepping up my efforts I posted a message on my high school alumni page on LinkedIn stating my intentions to move home. In the post I explained my experience and the industries I was interested in working in; I did this with hopes that some of the people in my alumni network could lend a helping hand. The first response I received was not what I was looking for. It was an honest, thoughtful response from an attorney that attended the same High School as me urging me not to move to Puerto Rico because of the economic situation. The following was my response which I felt compelled to share with you all because I believe it is a message that does not receive enough attention:

 “Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your advice… I am, although, going to respectfully decline the advice. I have not made the decision to move home lightly… it is a result of… months of research, analysis, and some soul-searching. My desire to move home is fueled, in part, by my desire to raise my newborn daughter near our immediate, and extended, family; by my desire to have a positive impact on society in Puerto Rico and by my belief that there is a wealth of opportunity in Puerto Rico.

There are many economic problems on the island but within desperation, and desperate economies, often lies immense opportunity. This is a thought reinforced by multi-billionnaires like John Paulson that have decided to bet $1 Billion+ of their money on Puerto Rico. A thought also reinforced by the fact that some of today’s strongest corporations began during the Great Depression (i.e. Macy’s, GEICO, Sony Music, Ricoh, Hasbro, Revlon)…

Furthermore, in my opinion, the economic situation in the USA is not really that much better than in Puerto Rico when looked at closely. The US is broke, but it prints its own money so it is able to create a perception of affluence. In many states there are better public benefits than in PR but you pay a very high tax-rate to get the services. This can negate the additional income made by virtue of working in a “sound” economy. The problems in Puerto Rico are not very different than the problems in many other countries. They are real, but they are not insurmountable.

I propose a change in the subject and the language we use when discussing the future of Puerto Rico. Even my father heard the same warnings of an island in despair while he was considering moving our family to Puerto Rico in the 80’s and his father heard the same things in the 30’s and 40’s. Let us engage in conversations of how to take advantage of the incredible human capital present on the island… of how we can use the natural beauty of our island to attract foreign money through tourism… of how we can start taking back the agriculture economy that is being hi-jacked by companies like Monsato, etc.

I did my best to be concise in my response since it is a complex issue (probably failed the concise part) and I assure you my intention is not to create dispute, but to create productive, positive and solution-oriented conversations. I’d love to sit and have a conversation and an adult beverage, or two, because through conversation we create solutions and uncover opportunity.”

This response opened several doors for me and ultimately helped me get a very good job in the financial district of Puerto Rico. It’s very important we change the vocabulary we use when discussing the future of our Island. Once we drop the pessimistic vocabulary we can have an optimistic conversation about the future.

– JGC

64 thoughts on “Bullish: Why I Moved Back Home to Puerto Rico

  1. Very well said, my friend. I agree that successful people can see the opportunity before the rest. I randomly saw your blog post on my feed and was compelled to read it.

    It seems a lot has happened since we all met in Baltimore years ago. Looks like things are looking bright for you two. Wish you two the best and if I’m ever in PR we’ll have a drink and catch up!

  2. Estoy en proceso de completar mi PhD en Demografia y no veo el dia en que agarro el avion par volver a PR. Claro que te van a decir que no vuelvas, ellos no son los que enfrentan las fiestas en la soledad de una casa vacia, la frialdad de las demas culturas, la incomprension y sobre todo la a~oranza al hogar.

  3. I completely agree with you, Jorge. I have been away for a year because I joined the military and, even though I feel I made the right decision for what I need at this point in my life, not one day passes without me thinking on some projects I want to do there when I go back. It is easy to get island fever, but the language we use to talk about PR definitely needs to change, as well as the lenses through which we look at its reality. There are many unsong little good things happening in PR right now, and I want to be part of them when my time is up. Thanks for this post!

    • Thanks for the note Richard. I am right there with you; I am happy I left the island and feel it was necessary for my professional and personal development. Now that I gained what I had to gain I can say I am happier than ever before now that I am back.

  4. This is what my wife does not understand.

    Good to see you come back to the island Jorge. I’ll hope to be able to do the same in a few years. I miss the taste of home, so I’m sure the taste and smell of success back there would be sweeter than anywhere else.

  5. Jorge has tocado realmente un punto que lamentablemente nuestros compatriotas aquí en la isla no quieren comprender.Gente como usted con esa visión de futuro es lo que necesita nuestra isla. Venga a Puerto Rico y a echar pa’lante este hermoso terruño

  6. De acuerdo, uno solo escucha todo el tiempo, “la cosa está mala”… pero aquí las cosas están mucho mejor que en otros países, definitivamente la gente solo valora lo que tiene hasta que lo pierde (o hasta cuando se van de la isla)…

  7. Thank you for this!

    As a twentysomething between deciding between MA or MFA or Is It Even Worth My Money while at the same time dealing with the duality of starting a life in the US (NY) while realizing, for the first time ever, that there is actually a constant spark in PR, every time I spend weeks or months in the island I am excited/thrilled to see new projects and new industries. THIS HOWEVER, must keep growing in order to re-imagine local business throughout the island, as it is threatened by the rise of WALMARTIZATION.

  8. LOVED, READING THIS ARTICLE AND I’M EXTREMELY HAPPY YOU CAN MAKE THAT MOVE
    ALTHOUGH I WAS NOT BORN IN PR I WAS TAKEN THERE BY MY MOM AT 6MONTHS OLD UNTIL ABOUT 12 YEARS OF AGE AND IT’S BEEN 30 YEARS SINCE THERE’S NOT A DAY THAT GOES BY I DON’T DREAM OF THAT EVENTUAL RETURN MUCH HAPPINESS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND BELIVE ME YOUR DAUGHTER WILL LOVE YOU FOR DECISION TO RAISE HER IN THE WARMTH OF YOUR BEAUTIFUL ISLAND IN THE SUN AND THAT OF YOUR FAMILY

  9. You are so right! I talk with Business Owners every day and even when most use the word Crisis on their first sentence none of them have been afected by it. On the contrary true leaders are growing to the challenge and as a result their businesses are also Growing.

    I’m glad you are back.

  10. I feel the same way. I moved to the states 2 years ago. My husband and I, both graduate students, felt the need to branch out of the island in order to obtain higher education. Not because we don’t respect education in PR, but because, in my husband field of study, he needed one of his degrees from outside the island to prevent what the academia calls “inbreeding education”. I can’t wait for the day when I get to move back home. Most of my friends think I’m crazy, but I don’t live in a state with an abundance of puertorricans. It’s been very difficult to adjust, specially living in one of the “bible belt” states, where we still experience some racism, people don’t understand our culture, and some don’t even know where PR is. With all of that said, I don’t regret moving. I see PR for the beauty of the island, I get to appreciate all the things that PR has to offer that I took for granted before. To top everything else, the cold does not agree with me! Great article, I hope I can do the same in a couple of years!

    • Thank you for your kind words JT. I know how you feel when you speak of the lack of understanding of our culture, it can be a tough pill to swallow. The most important thing to remember, though, is that you and your husband left for all the right reasons and are putting yourselves in a great position to be able to take care of yourselves and your family; and in doing so putting yourselves in a position to come back to the island strong. Stay positive! :) It will never be Puerto Rico and the cold is rough but we need to do our best to enjoy whatever setting we’re in. Even the colder Bible belt States can offer nice things. There are beautiful landscapes, some that you can ski and snowboard on, and there is very good food (mostly BBQ!!). No single one of us is going to change the world, we need people like you and your husband to branch out, gain experience, grow, and come back.

  11. Awesome!!!

    Greqt thought!!! Is not for someo+e that only talks without living the experience. This is an articke of so+eine tgat live the experience and see beyond the problem. See a world of opportunities! Very good Jorge!! And like Pedro Flores said and I want to repeat:
    Prefiero ser aqui un mendigo que en otra tierra un marqués!

  12. Debió irse a vivir a un estado como Florida, con un clima más parecido al de PR y en el cual, en varias áreas, hace décadas decenas de miles de puertorriqueños vivimos felices la estadidad jíbara.

  13. I agree eith you 200% although my situation is very different. I was fired by a company, a Puertorrican company because I didnt want to move to the US. When they originally offered me the job I was to spent time between PR and Florida and it was a perfect situation because if they would asked me to relocate I would’ve declined the offer. It doesnt matter what people say and how bad things might be. The fact is that I love my Island, my life, my family, my friends are here and I like living in Puerto Rico. Five weeks into the new job they unilaterally decided I had a week to relocate. I said no and tried offering alternatives but it came down to: If you are not willing to move to Florida, you are fired”. So I was….. So if you could help me find a job in PR I would appreciate it.

  14. Muchas Gracias por creer en tu isla gente como tu son los que van a ayudarnos a echar esta Isla hacia adelante “Bienvenido a tu tierra”

  15. First, I want to congratulate you for deciding to move back to Puerto Rico. We need more willing and productive people to come to the island. However, there are some things about your blog, which is making rounds on the internet, that need to be addressed.

    You underestimate the differences in the economic problems between Puerto Rico and the United States. To say that they are not that different from Puerto Rico is not correct. Puerto Rico has the same currency as the rest of the states. So, regardless of whether what you say is true about the artificial affluence, it should have the same impact on Puerto Rico.

    While it may be true that in some states taxes may be higher (which is something that should be evaluated on a state by state basis and not simply say taxes are higher in all 50 states compared to Puerto Rico), you forget that the cost of living in almost all the areas in the states is much lower. When it comes to food, electricity, water and even property (in most areas), the costs is considerably lower than in the U.S.

    Even if this affluence is due to the power of printing money, there is no denying that then median income in the United States ranges between $40,000 and $50,000, while the median income in Puerto Rico in $19,000. When you combine these numbers with the dramatic lower cost of living, there is not competition. It is a fact, not an opinion, that, economically the U.S. is far better than Puerto Rico. And that is just evaluating the economic aspect.

    In the social aspect, the United States is, again, far superior. There is far less crime, better schools, infrastructure, and health services. This alone, makes paying higher taxes worth it.

    These economic and social differences translates to a higher standard of living that can be enjoyed in the United States as compared to Puerto Rico.

    As for your example of Paulson and other wealthy people moving to Puerto Rico, that is hardly evidence of how there are opportunities for everyone. Many countries are great places to live if you have the money, connections and a special skill set. In Puerto Rico, that is becoming more evident. The best people can do, if they do not have the money and the connections, is use their special skills to overcome many obstacles and achieve success.

    Unfortunately, the majority of people don´t have these special skill sets, much less the money or connections. Between a lack of education and natural ability, they are limited to a few options. These options are quickly drying up, forcing them to either not have a job, have a job that does not provide a quality of life, growth or a sense of fulfillment or move some place else.

    These are the people that are abandoning the island in droves and are enjoying a much better standard of living in other areas. Many of them spent years trying to progress in Puerto Rico and it just didn´t happen. It was not because of a lack of trying. It was not because of their attitude. There were just no opportunities available.

    In summary, I don´t know who you are or your intentions in writing this. But a change in attitude by itself is not going to work. Our problems are deeper, much deeper. I say this with the utmost respect. The contents of your article is mostly just serving as propaganda for those that ideologically believe in the current system and are unwilling to truly reform it.

    • Thanks for the reply. Not a big fan of the Anonymous comments but you were thoughtful in your response and it seems you put time in to it so I decided to post it. In the future please identify yourself when posting, I think it leads for a more productive conversation.

      That being said, I think you’ve misread much of what I wrote. I do agree that the artificial affluence has an impact on PR as well as the USA, never said it doesn’t. I never said there are no differences with problems here and the USA; I said they are over-stated. I didn’t write that taxes are higher in all 50 States. I mentioned “many States” (speaking only of the ones I lived in). I didn’t say, or hint, that the current system works; I believe it needs to be changed drastically but there is enough written about the problems already, we all know them.

      I do not criticize nor condemn those who leave; that would be hypocritical since I am one of the people who once left because of a lack of professional opportunities. On the contrary, I think it’s often the correct move to leave; and for some it’s often the correct move to never come back. That does not make them better or worse. I don’t claim to have all the answers; coming home does not make me better or worse, it was simply my decision and each person should make the choice base on their personal situation and personal economy.

      I also agree that a shift in attitude isn’t going to change things, but it is an integral part to creating change with our actions. My primary intention in writing the post is introducing the idea of a change in vocabulary and a shift from being 100% problem conscious to becoming more solution-oriented in our discussions.

      Thanks again for your comments.

    • Words of wisdom! As a retired professional, living ib Puerto Rico, I must say that you really told things as they are. I, for one, would love for every professional Puertorican working and living in the ConUS to move back to the island and help the economy to go forward. But, unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as it looks. Yes, your profession is important; not the same job opportunities for a lawywer, than for a teacher. Winters in some parts of the U.S. are pretty bad, but you can get used to them. No one should pass the opportunity to try, but make sure that two or three years later you’ve to go back to athe U.S. Good luck to those interested.

    • Anonymous: Me parece que tu respuesta es correcta. Si el caballero obtuvo un buen trabajo como resultado de su preparación e idealismo, que bueno. Pero su experiencia individual es sólo una historia feliz. Es no es una muestra representativa de un puertorriqueño que busca superarse. Los comentarios sobre el inversionista extrajero – pense por un segundo – deben ser un chiste. Se trata de un capitalista que legitimamente aprovecha de unos incentivos contributivos y compra a precio de “pescao abombao”. Aunque involuntariamente, parece ser, coincido en que los comentarios suenan a una propaganda para sostener el status quo. Jose Carlos Velez – Abogado estatal y federal.

  16. Sorry, beg to differ, I guess every one has a different point of view. I left more than 15 years ago, best desicion ever!. There is no way I would raise my children in a place that sadly won’t change. I cant wait to see the rest of my family members to move out , which they are considering it. Every time I go visit, I see absolutely no progress, so many limitations, its embarrassing. Continuos crime, drugs, corrupt government , debt all over the place, people living beyond their means, skyrocketting bills, unsafe environments, people getting shot every single day, businesses closing, its so ridiculous.
    And yes, there is smart and talented young proffesionals, but they can’t even get a decent job, theres no funds to make things any better thanks to the goverment, lets see what happens when USA stops sending help, then what? Government there has no common sence and lacks of responsibility.
    Its up to young generations to change all this, which will take a lot of “cleaning House and firings ” to turn things around.
    Its sad, and a shame to think that a place once called home, its just a good vacation spot to me.

  17. Hola Jorge. Gracias por esto. Yo tengo 25 años. Me fuí de Puerto Rico a los 18 años sin pensar en regresar porque varias personas (incluyendo mi familia) me dijeron que no valía la pena. Ahora que termine mi maestría, quiero regresar. Estoy pagando mucho para mi apartamento y no estoy ganando suficiente. Más he visto mis oportunidades y veo que es posible vivir bien en Puerto Rico pero mi familia piensa que mudandome a Puerto Rico es lo mismo que limitarme. Tenemos que saber como hablarle a mi generación. Nadie se debe de sentirse que regresar a su casa no es una opción.

  18. Primero, voy a escoger hablar en espanol. Ya que tenemos los aires patrioticos altos.

    Segundo, facil es ver oportunidad en una isla en recesion cuando uno tiene el “backeo” de los papas, viene de una familia adinerada o simplemente goza de un “network” de la elite puertorriqueña. Claro, multi-billonarios como John Paulson pueden venir aca ya que sus riquezas fueron previamente establecidas en EU (Wall Street). Tambien se incentivan utilizando a PR como instrumento para evadir contribuciones federales.

    Tercero, desafortunadamente PR no se presenta como un lugar para comenzar a crecer como profesional. Especialmente el profesional que no tiene la dicha de conocer a fulano o sultano que trabaja en UBS. La realidad es que las oportunidades de hacerse un todo profesional esta fuera en EU y pocos son los que realmente crean esas riquezas empezando aqui. Existe un movimiento de incentivar el “start-up” en PR pero todavia esta a leguas.

    Cuarto, la calidad de vida en PR esta completamente en el piso en comparacion con otros pueblos/ciudades de similar demografica en EU y otros paises. Basicamente, los que viven en urbanizaciones de control de aceso, apartamentos con guardia 24/7 en san juan se les olvida la criminalidad rampante de PR. Que calidad de vida es esa donde los parques y las areas comunales son puntos de drogas. Que calidad de vida es el tener que vivir encerrado en su propio hogar, no conocer a su vecino que trae carros “raros” a las 3 am los fines de semana para hacer dios sabe que. Me alegro mucho de verad q

  19. Me alegro mucho de verdad de que quiera criar su hija en PR, pero desafortundamente se criara en la burbuja de una escuela privada en Marista, San Jose o San Ignacio. Pero no todos los puertorriquenos que volveran a la isla por razones personales no tendran la dicha de pagar una escuela privada. Muchos tendran que conformarse con matriculos a sus hijos en una escuela publica que en ciertos pueblos en la isla son mas que excelente que las privadas. Pero que guaynabito quiere vivir en Cidra, PR?

    Quizas me caeran chinches por mis comentarios rudos pero se tiene que ver el lado del puertorriqueno de clase media baja que se le hace bien dificil vivir el dia a dia en PR. Quien no quisiera volver a su isla, pero yo kiero criar mis hijos en el mejor ambiente posible y ahora mismo no veo a PR como posibilidad.

    • Pienso lo mismo!! Tienes mucha razon!! Mi esposo y yo salimos en el ’95 ambos con bachillerato. Despues de 10 años regresamos porq nos cansamos del frio, la nostalgia y la familia. TODO se nos hizo dificil economicamente. Cero opirtunidades, cero Progreso! Nuestro hijo comenzo la escuela publica y fue una gran decepcion y dolor de cabeza, los servicios medicos, los hospitales, las escuelas fueron lo q nos abrio los ojos. Despues de 18 meses nos regresamos y vivimos en Nevada hace 8 años. Y al igual q tu queremos las mejores opirtunidades y calidad de vida para nuestros hijos y tampoco los llevaria a ese ambiente!

  20. Llevo en los EEUU desde el 2001 (primero en Hartford, CT de 2001 al 2004; en Columbus, GA de 2004 al 2013, lento, aburrido y racista como el solo; y desde el 2013 en Smyrna, GA, suburbio a las afueras de Atlanta, GA) por razones medicas de mi hijo menor (distrofia muscular Duchenne y autismo). En Hartford me gusto mucho por el clima (nunca he podido aguantar el calor) pero elcosto de vida en los estados del norte es altisimo. Cuando nos mudamos a Columbus, GA (donde esta Ft Benning), la calidad de vida, en especial par criar muchachos, es superior que en la Isla y respetan mucho a los adultos (se parece mucho cuando me criaron).

    Cuando llegue en el 2004 todavia se podia pagar en una gasolineria con cheques. Lo mas comico fue que el 2006 vi en el periodico local, Ledger Enquirer, que ese año habia sido el año con mas muertes violentas, 26 MUERTES VIOLENTAS EN UN AÑO!!! (eso es un weekend o una mini masacre en la Isla). Los que han estado en Columbus, en especial los militares estacionados en Benning, saben que la base, no es como en Buchannan que esta en el area riquita de Guaynabo, sino es como tener a Buchannan por Puerta de Tierra. Y con todo y eso le decia a la gente que me atrevia a caminar de noche por la Victory Drive (donde esta la base) que hacerlo en la Isla de noche y armado (en los 80’s cuando estaba en Sagrado me asaltaron con un magnum en la quija cuatro mojones en un first date).

    No quiero decirles que esto es la gloria (ningun sitio lo es) pero lamentablemente comparado como esta la Isla recientemente, si (la ultima vez que estuve en la Isla fue en 2011). Aqui lo que debemos ver es cual es la necesidad de cada persona. Si aca, dependiendo del estado, son o nos mas frios. Mientras mas vayas a los estados del sur, son mucho mas amigables (y en muchos de los pueblos pequeños, mas racistas). Mi experiencia en Atlanta ha sido buena (hasta el sol de este escrito). Aca no vas a pagar $6.00 por un galon de leche (aca lo mas bajo que he pagado ha sido $2.90 en un supermercado que se llama Food Depot). Lo que si que encuentro malo es la construcción que para mi son casitas de muñecas. Te vienen con la excusa de que es por el frio, pero una vez en hartford hable con un polaco y me dijo que alla cosntruian en concreto (lo tomo por fe).

    Lo que si recomiendo es averiguar y ver sus necesidades antes de hablar y de tomar una decision.

  21. My friend how can you dare to compare the economic situation of PR with the actual improving economic situation of the US?

  22. Hi there,

    Will all my respect, my opinion is based on my actual experience living in PR for my whole 39 years. I admire and support your great vision and possitive atittude toward the Island status, but certainly for us, the middle class peopke living here is not so possitive. Raises in essential services/utilities, denigrated home values, temporary (3 months) jobs are the norm in our proffesional careers. That is our day to day. Enourmous cost for food, gas, private education and utilities is real high. Entertainment with our families is out of the panorama and not to mention the despicable state of the nation infracstructure, its gross. However, I wish you all the best in your persuit of hapoiness, but as a current resident, I can’t agree with your standpoint.

  23. Saludos
    Yo estoy viviendo esa situación. Acabo de mudarme a la Isla. Me gusta que en tu escrito mencionas la palabra oportunidad varias veces. Me llama la atención porque siempre que me dicen que en Puerto Rico hay mucho problemas, yo siempre contesto que para mi los problemas significan oportunidades. Me alegra saber que personas con tus ideas están regresando a la Isla. Conozco algunos colegas que han tomado la misma desición porque quieren aportar e innovar. Me alegra además saber que no estoy tan sola en mi pensar.

    • Igual intención tenía yo cuando regresé el verano pasado. Prácticamente un año haciendo gestiones de empleo y nada. Sino tienes “una pala” o una persona del gobierno incumbente que te ubique, dificil lograrlo. Ya estamos en trámites para regresar a E U. Muy triste ésta situación.

  24. I believe as you do and I am willing to put some energy toward a shared vision. I know a lot of “Continentals” who feel and think the same way. We need organized leadership and local support to change the political stranglehold of cronyism and nepotism. We need strong and enforced environmental laws. We need to develop our agriculture and produce products for our use and export. Most of all we need to stop relying on US handouts that weaken peoples resolve to better themselves… so much to do… but not unattainable. Sign me up.

  25. Just want to address the “cost of living” comments. Yes, food, electricity and some imported items are higher here but… we don’t use as much here either. Don’t need heat, we use fans instead of air conditioning which is fine for most of the time. Don’t need clothing for four seasons which saves on new clothes and laundry. We don’t need artificial entertainment with all the nature … free to enjoy. Car repairs, medical exp and all insurances are way cheaper. Housing is cheaper. Our house would be twice stateside what it is here. Taxes are about the same and seem to be moving toward mirroring US taxation laws more and more.
    The big downers are the lack of pride in the environment and the abuses in the government agencies from favoritism to making things (all thing) more difficult to accomplish, often to the detriment of the economy.
    I have come to accept these because; if it were easy than everyone would live here. The beaches would be crowded, supply and demand would make this another Hawaii. I love Puerto Rico… I’m staying.

  26. Just want to address the “cost of living” comments. Yes, food, electricity and some imported items are higher here but… we don’t use as much here either. Don’t need heat, we use fans instead of air conditioning which is fine for most of the time. Don’t need clothing for four seasons which saves on new clothes and laundry. We don’t need artificial entertainment with all the nature … free to enjoy. Car repairs, medical exp and all insurances are way cheaper. Housing is cheaper. Our house would be twice stateside what it is here. Taxes are about the same and seem to be moving toward mirroring US taxation laws more and more.

  27. Words of a visionary, my friend. And I will put our prayers behind you and your family every step of the way. See things, not for what they are, but for what they could be. Success WILL be your experience, because your attitude is alignment with the Creative Principle.

  28. Jorge,
    Thank you for writing this. I couldn’t agree more. I live in Miami with numerous Puerto Ricans who I’m proud to call friends and one happens to be the Love of my life. I have been to PR twice now; Once for vacation and the 2nd time on business. Both times I couldn’t help but notice that there are tremendous opportunities all over the island. I would love to start a venture there but have heard from people both here in Miami and in PR who have given me all kinds of reasons why I shouldn’t. This is the general attitude you pointed out but I see agriculture and aquaculture as two of the best bets that Puerto Rico could make to improve her situation as I believe that PR can and should be completely energy and food self sufficient. There are plentiful resources to economically produce feed, food, fibers, fertilizers, renewable chemicals, and even advanced biofuels. I also think the resources are there to produce excess for export to the other islands throughout the Caribbean and beyond. This would improve PR’s economy first by greatly reducing the amount of capital leaving the island annually and also create jobs across every sector for years to come. “A rising tide lifts all boats.” The world is going to need more food in the years to come. This is Puerto Rico’s golden opportunity to turn things around once and for all. I just hope there are enough people there who want this as much as you and I do.

  29. Me alegré mucho leer tu reflexión y de tu decisión de regresar a Puerto Rico. Hace 25 años cuando regresamos a Puerto Rico, mi esposo y yo oímos las mismas advertencias: falta de empleo, un alto costo de vida, la criminalidad, etc. Como tú, regresamos a Puerto Rico después de vivir muchos años en California para criar a nuestros hijos como puertorriqueños, junto a sus abuelos y su familia extendida. Dejamos atrás grandes oportunidades profesionales, pero no me arrepiento ni un solo minuto de nuestra decisión. Hay cosas que el dinero no puede compensar.

    No podemos negar que la situación económica y social está muy difícil. Quizás como país tenemos que tocar fondo para realizar que no podemos seguir en un limbo y que el estatus político es la raíz de muchos de nuestros males sociales y económicos.

    Yo trabajo todos los días para construir un país mejor. Si puertorriqueños nos quejáramos menos y actuáramos más, tratando de cambiar nuestra realidad inmediata, viviríamos más felices. Debemos empezar por romper la mentalidad de tribu y votar por personas competentes y honestas, sin mirar colores ni partidos, que sean capaces de tomar las decisiones difíciles que se requieren para sacar al país del marasmo en que vive. A los que viven en el exilio, son parte de nuestra nación. Estoy segura que si pudiéramos crear más empleos dignos en la isla, muchos puertorriqueños en la diáspora optarían por regresar.

    Te deseo mucho éxito en tu retorno. Ojalá más jóvenes como tú tomen la decisión de regresar para ayudar a reconstruir nuestro país.

  30. Yo respeto la opinion de todas las personas pero no me arrepiento para nada de haberme mudado para Columbus Oh aqui me siento tranquila hay mucho mas orden, las personas respetan , el costo de la comida luz, gas, es barato comparado a PR en PR yo pagaba 400.00 de luz aqui 100.00 la escuela de mi hijo es buenisima y al 4 dia de estar aqui ya estaba trabajando. Igual mi esposo. Me encanta mi isla pero la verdad no hay calidad de vida tristemente es la realidad.

  31. Bueno, todo es relativo. Te envidio en gran manera, ya quisiera yo tener la posibilidad de volver a mi Isla. Nacida y criada en PR, graduada de la “UPI” en Periodismo, Producción de Radio, CIne y Televisión & Diseño y Técnica Teatral, overachiever, I know. Estoy procrastinating en mis estudios graduados, as we speak.
    En caso, las posibilidades de regresar son nulas. El Nuevo Día/ Primera Hora, donde trabajé antes de mudarme para los “United”, despidió la mitad de su personal, El Vocero la misma historia. Ni con palas entraba a Univisión, WAPA, ni al 6. Experiencia como intern tenía de más, pero nadie quiere pagar. De mi clase graduada de comunicaciones hay muchísimos desempleados, más de la mitad, y los pocos empleados es porque estamos acá.
    Las posibilidades de regresar se limitan a ciertas profesiones así que no debemos generalizar. Dichoso tú que pudiste regresar, mientras tanto a mí me espera una vida por acá.

  32. Cuando se habla de como estan las cosas en la isla no estamos hablando mal de Puerto Rico si no por lo que esta pasando Puerto Rico que es muy distinto, el optimismo es vital para superar cualquier crisis pero no es lo único que hace falta, el tema se convierte un uno mas complejo y que contiene muchas mas dimensiones ya que hay algunas realidades económicas, políticas y sociales por la cual esta atravesando la isla que genera estancamiento en muchos sectores; te felicito no solo por tu optimismo si no por la oportunidad que has tenido de regresar bajo unas condiciones favorables para ti. Igual Amo a mi Isla y soy tan o mas puertorriqueño que muchos viviendo aya. Nadie puede decir que no aporto a la Isla por que soy dueño negocio y un 90% de mi negocio es Puerto Rico – Viajo al menos cada dos meses a la Isla y conservo mis dos residencias aya – La razón por la que me fui de Puerto Rico es por que nuestra niña tenía una condición genética que no pudo ser diagnosticada en PR y tuvimos que buscar alternativas para ella. Hoy puedo comparar ambos estilos de vida y el ambiente en ambos lugares; me duele no regresar a mi isla donde están mis padres, familiares y amistades; no por que no pueda regresar si no por que francamente el mejor ambiente para los míos por ahora esta aquí en TX – como en todo lugar hay sectores buenos y otros no tan buenos. Esta es mi experiencia y mi opinion – nadie esta obligado a abandonar lo que quiere y cada cual debe escoger lo mejor para los suyos.

  33. Felicidades en volver ha nuestro isla! And thank you for the insightful thoughts. I very much relate to what you’ve written here. I was also born in the US, but raised in Puerto Rico from the age of six months to seven years and then lived there again for a year in High School. I now live in New York City(visiting as often as I can), but think often of returning to PR. After a recent trip with my girlfriend(who is also in finance), we are now considering making that move a reality. We also both see a lot of opportunity in PR and also the ability to have a more balanced lifestyle. My industries are medical (am currently an orthotic fitter practitioner/former orthopedic technician), and former Sous chef (classically trained and never wound up liking the work life balance or terrible pay). She is a VP of middle rates at a major US bank w/prior experience in other banks at VP level and some hedge fund work (I feel she could possibly make as much if not more out there, the whole big fish in little pond idea). I would very much appreciate any words of advice as to how to take those first steps toward making that move a reality if you have time. Thank you in advanced. Y, sigue hechando pa’ lanté!

  34. In the states your just another minority that is sidelined, in PR even if you have nothing you feel a sense of ownership. So they say PR is crap, so what the hell its at least our crap.I say to the young people what my mother used to say to me: cuando un huevo vale un chavo, vale un huevo conseguir un chavo. NO se desanimen, pa lante la tierra no se va pa ningun sitio.

  35. El mayor problema que tenemos los Boricuas es que queremos vivir como ricos a cuenta del fiao. A eso le añades una recua de vividores- gansos que toman el poder y usan la cartera pública como una tarjeta visa de un jeque de Arabia Saudita. Estas dos situaciones han causado la debacle para los jóvenes en Puerto Rico. Los viejos espetaron a PR en una deuda imposible. Como no hay sufrimiento que dure cien años ,ni cuerpo que lo resista,este merengue va a reventar.La historia nuestra reciente esta ligada a la diáspora de nuestra gente. Todo puertorriqueño añora su isla y curiosamente no se desliga de ella totalmente ni se asimila completamente a sus nuevos asentamientos. Lo sigue el lelo lai y la mancha de plátano así se esconda. Lo más seguro los hijos y los nietos de los que obligadamente se han tenido que marchar sean los que en el futuro puedan levantar la sociedad y economía de nuestra isla nuevamente. O los que se fueron regresen con nuevas ideas y recursos para enderezar la cosa. Los que se queden estarán aquí con los brazos abiertos,nunca olvidamos a los nuestros.

  36. Hi to all:
    Jorge , I really want to thank you for your bravery an for your commitment. We need to change our mind towards Puerto Rico, our Nation, in order to start big changes in our society, and you nailed it. After reading your article and all the comments, I would like to share some thoughts and experiences for the benefit of those in disbelief. I’m a 40 year old “kid”, born and raised in this Island. I have visit the USA several times and some other countries too, but I’ve never been living for more than a month in the USA. Fortunate for me, it has never been an option to leave my country nor had the need to do it because of harsh circumstances no matter how hard they become (respecting the individual circumstances of all who has to leave the Island). It’s true that the situation in the island has deteriorated and the society has been dismantled systematically but is also true that we as a Nation have been an accomplice to what we have inherited from decades of lousy government and corruption, we have and still vote for those who have Damaged our country the most… politicians. Now is our responsibility to amend those errors or “horrors” and grabbed the “bull by the horns”, because if we don’t, we’re just letting those who made (and are still making)bad decisions do as they please. The actual situation will not be solved by criticism or by calling a radio station to state your opinion or just by voting every 4 years and behave like cattle. It is solved by people like you and others who stand on their ground and have some sense of belonging, of ownership, and say: “enough of this crap”. We need to do something not just sit around like spectators and pray for change. … it won’t happen! …. like JFK said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. People seem to see the individual and not the collective, but as the society deteriorates the individual too and viceversa. I have seen the worst of our society because I come from the “projects”, which I prefer calling: caseríos, but I have work honest and hard, studied and move to my own Apartment but I don’t forget the harsh times we had nor ashamed of where I come from( and believe me, we really had hard times in Monte Hatillo). Now, we are going to open a guest house in Isabela our own business. My philosophy is, when you have hard times you got to reinvent yourself from scratch, think out of the box, only actions solve problems not turning your head the other way. I also see good things happening too: Los nuevos jibaros (young pleople going back to agriculture), a renew collective sense, a lot of local business opening an succeeding, tourism growing, incentives for small and medium businesses. Have you ever ask, if things are so bad on the Island why are big chains as: Walsh!tmart, Walgreens, Cvs, Ihop, Costco, Chessecake factory, Olive Garden…. (I could keep on) opening a lot of new stores and keep looting us…..
    For those who believe…. come and join us!
    For those who don’t. ….. Then, Don’t block the way.

    • Hola Víctor, me gustaría conocer acerca de tu proyecto en Isabela y tu trasfondo en Monte Hatillo para publicar un artículo periodístico. Contáctame a través de Twitter @lauquinterodz

  37. Acabo de regresar de mi viaje anual a “Levittown”, por el re-encuentro que se hace de la Escuela Superior Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos—que se a convertido en “Las Fiestas de Levittown” por la noche, que para que contar. Hago ese viaje desde 2007, para recargar energías. Desde el 2011 se ha vuelto un viaje importante pues he estado desempleado por cesantías en serie, y “underemployment”. Esta vez estuve tan tentado en quedarme. Mi mejor amigo y compadre se ha vuelto un empresario, y le va muy pero que muy bien. Mi miedo es que acabo de renegociar la hipoteca de mi casa para no perderla, y no quiero perder en su venta. También esta el pequeño problema que no tengo ni un sólo centavo ya para mudarme hasta que consiga trabajo de nuevo.

    Por lo menos mi plan es ganar plata para depositarlo en por lo menos una Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito para que genere capital para esos empresarios como mi compadre, y hasta invertir directamente como socio en los negocios de amigos siendo como un micro-banco de inversión de una forma muy personal.

  38. Pingback: La Falacia: “Solo en Puerto Rico…” | Jorge Gonzalez Castro

  39. As a bilingual Special Education teacher with 27 yrs of experience I dream of one day returning back to PR. I want to becoming involved in the Dept. of Education to ensure children with different abilities have appropriate education and that there are post education programs that can help young adults with different abilities find employment, transition, independent living, etc. I also hear a great deal of negativity about PR however, I chose to ignore it because I believe in Puerto Rico, my culture and in myself. I want to create and make a difference in my island.

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