Writer: Jones Act ‘Convenient Scapegoat for Puerto Rico’s Woes’


April 2018


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Another writer has spoken out in favor of America’s freight cabotage law.


Julio Rivera, a popular multimedia personality and political consultant, wrote an editorial in early February that was posted on The Washington Times website. The headline: “A convenient scapegoat for Puerto Rico’s woes.”


Rivera pointed out that the Jones Act had been unfairly blamed for hindering the recovery in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. He also noted that the attacks against the longstanding maritime law that followed were regrettable.


“To unnecessarily hinder a vital cornerstone of not only our economy but our military in the name of shortsighted political opportunism could only be an example of the worst kind of crisis politicization,” Rivera wrote. “The fact that the Jones Act provides benefits, both direct and indirect, to homeland security, immigration enforcement, and the protection of American jobs exposes its opponents as ‘break it to fix it’ opportunists, oblivious to the potential negative ramifications of its repeal.”


After expounding on the various security benefits of the Jones Act, Rivera continued. “As long as the suffering in Puerto Rico continues, we will continue to hear these debates rage on. Some opponents of the Jones Act incorrectly argue cargo shipped in or out of Puerto Rico is required to be transported on Jones Act compliant vessels. Puerto Rico allows for cargo from around the world to be imported into the island. Over 60 percent of cargo-carrying ships docking in La Isla del Encanto are foreign vessels.”


He concluded, “The ugly side of politics and attempts to distract from the systematic corruption in Puerto Rico has found a convenient scapegoat in the Jones Act. Truth be told, a repeal of the Jones Act would only weaken the economic prospects of some of the struggling island’s most fervent allies.”


As reported in last month’s LOG, several other articles (new pieces as well as op-eds) have been posted and published this year backing the Jones Act. The law requires that cargo moving between domestic ports be carried on vessels that are crewed, built, flagged and owned American.


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