Playas para el Pueblo

It has been over 3 years of hearing the waves at night since making the choice to live near the beach. I’ve been seeing beautiful sunsets and sunrises over the water just a few steps from what I call home.

I have seen wildlife up close from sea turtle babies making it to sea,  to dolphins swimming meters away from the shore.

But the Isla Verde Courtyard is removing part of the beauty that makes it worth living so close to nature.

The experiences of living on the beach have been positive.

I have chosen to do my best at tuning out the bad parts. I try to highlight the good and that is why you will see more of my pictures of the Island every day. I rather capture an image of a sunrise than point out the trash that is under my feet when I click the shutter.

Contamination from Hotels in the Area

The other issues are how many hotels benefit from using the beach but don’t care much to protect it.

For over a decade the Courtyard Isla Verde has been trying to put cement in a critical patch of vegetation in Isla Verde.

Recently the local government gave them permission to start the development. This sort of goes against the current governor’s plans to protect our land.

Hotels like the Courtyard create large buildings that contaminate the land from the moment they bulldoze the much needed vegetation to the noise and light contamination that they continue to create. Other pollution issues are that buildings creating shadows on our sand at night. This hurts the life cycle of the Tinglar sea turtle eggs. This issue is one of many and were part of the poor planning in developing structures in the area.

The Guardians of the Beach

The land has been protected by a group of volunteers for over 10 years.

The “Coalicion of Playas para el Pueblo” have served as guardians of the beach and part of our coast.

These folks are from all walks of life, all serving critical roles in our society.

Different to the hotels which pollute and litter and wait for the government agencies to pick up garbage, these folks are cleaning the beach, educating people about the environment and other issues, and protecting sea turtle nests along with other flora and fauna.

They do everything possible to take good care of mother nature.

Provocations and Violent Attacks against Activists

Recently there have been violent exchanges where the Hotel Management has attempted to take the role of the authorities.

Two days ago as activists were protesting in front of the hotel, a hotel employee ran over a group of protesters.

Violence should never be an option.

There is no reason anyone should run over those that are protecting the environment. I’m not sure why the hotel employee thought he was acting like a hero going after human beings just like him. Even worse, the Hotel Courtyard publicly stands by the acts of their employee as you can see in the following tweets.

Marriott tweets

After talking to multiple sources yesterday at the camp, it appears the hotel employee came out of the lobby of the hotel. He got in his car and left the building into traffic, did a u-turn, and came back. All while in his car and not on foot.

While in his car, he got behind a line of vehicles that were in traffic while the local cops had control of the flow of moving vehicles.

At one point he decided to cut in front of the car in front of him. The he ran over protesters. Some of them heavily injured.

I wanted to share the videos because the only video shown by the local press did not clearly show what happened.

I wonder if the Courtyard Stands by their employee now?

The Isla Verde Courtyard Marriott decided to  state that their employee felt he feared for his life. But instead he decided to go in his car, cut in front of everyone in line waiting, and plowed through a crowd.

I want to share the following videos in Chronological order so you can reach your own judgement.

Video 1

 

Evidencia de como el empleado del Marriott rebasa a los vehículos para pasarle por encima a los manifestantes. No estábamos impidiendo el acceso, pero la policía estaba dirigiendo el tránsito para precisamente evitar cualquier incidente. Pero vemos como el Toyota Yaris negro, no sigue las directrices de la policía.

Posted by Mariposa Rahe Bagua on Friday, November 20, 2015

Video 2

Lots of Excuses and Not even an Apology

I already read every excuse available from the fact that he was late for work to the nonsense that he feared for his life.

Just because an employee feels his interests ($$$) are at risk does not give him any right to plow through a crowd.

Was that employee thinking of the impact he would create for that protester and his family?

I am sure that selfish act on his behalf demonstrates he did not care about anyone but himself.

What can we do?

When I look at these situations I see the opportunities we have in making sure no more violence occurs.

Making sure that the hotel realizes that cutting down trees and replacing it with cement is not good.

Here are my quick suggestions:

Let the Marriott Management know you don’t agree with them.

Send a message to:

We also created a landing page with more ideas on how you can help the cause. Visit the landing page here.

It is important that we don’t continue to hurt what is left of our ecosystems.

There is enough cement in Isla Verde and the rest of the San Juan Metro area. For those who don’t know, Isla Verde means Green Isle? What will be green about cement?

What are your thoughts?

Feel free to download the image below and support the cause with attribution to raulcolon.net

Isla Verde Courtyard