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For Sale: Fort El Morro

Luis López Nieves

The governor of Puerto Rico wants to sell the Telephone Company. I must admit that my first reaction upon finding out about this brilliant decision was envy. Why hadn’t such a marvelous idea occurred to me instead? The answer is simple: Governors are visionaries and tremendously creative people. By thus proposing the immediate sale of the Telephone Company, our wise governor discharges his constitutional duty of establishing guidelines for us and opening new avenues towards progress. That is what governors do best. Therefore, it would be much better if we Puerto Ricans stopped already with all these fruitless protests that lead us nowhere. On the contrary: we must become fervent ad hoc salespeople, and in a great patriotic gesture, and as soon as possible, aid in the sale of the Telephone Company.

And as long as we are feeling so inclined to sell Puerto Rican properties, why stop with the Telephone Company? What do we get, for example, from El Morro? What revenues? Wouldn’t it better for us to get rid of that old hulk? It occurs to me that we could get, easily, for its land, its view, and its location as a jetty in Old San Juan, say $50 or $60 million. And we also have St. Christopher’s Castle which by the way, and as far as I know, doesn’t serve a single productive function either. On the other hand, how about a nice little five-star hotel built at the entrance of the islet and conveniently located just a few blocks from Hooters? How many investors could resist this? Hey, and how about an El Yunque Hilton? Can’t you visualize it? With the sale of El Yunque we wouldn’t only pocket a few more millions, but once and for all we would remove all concern and anxiety about our tourists getting lost in the forest and later suing us.

In my desperate attempt to join in the call of our great leader, I began to prepare a list of useless possessions we could sell. But I’m a real bonehead; I forgot that these properties belong to the Federal government. We can’t sell them because we have no say in the “federal affairs” that take place in our island of Puerto Rico. It is truly a pity and a waste of resources.

Nevertheless, we must not give up. So, I got out my pencil again and came up with other properties we could sell: the San Juan Cathedral, which could be converted into the most fabulous discotheque of all times. I also thought of La Capilla del Cristo (The Chapel of Christ), where an intimate bar could be built with the added attraction of serving piña coladas and enticing its patrons to feed corn to the doves in the adjoining park. But I suddenly remembered that these places belong to the Church and they would probably not like Rosello’s selling them.

They say necessity is the mother of invention. In my desperate attempt to heed the patriotic call of the governor of Puerto Rico, I once more picked up my pencil, and suddenly it came to me (like a bolt of lightning) that we do have a totally worthless piece of property that we could sell right now and not have it missed by anyone in the world (not even Puerto Rico): La Fortaleza, the Governor’s Mansion.


“Se vende El Morro”, Luis López Nieves, El Star, San Juan de Puerto Rico, 28 sep 1997, p.124.
Translated from Spanish by Penny Banks.

“Se vende El Morro” por Luis López Nieves: versión original en español

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