It has been suggested that my country, Boriken, renamed, in honor of pillage, Puerto Rico, or Rich Port, should raise its moribund economy from the dead by harvesting the organs of our young and selling them to rich foreign tourists in need of transplants. It has been suggested that those of our children who have been shot in the head during the day to day business of narcotrafficking and murder, leaving their organs intact, and those of our children who die, without being totally crushed, in car accidents, collisions of reckless speed, addiction and other suicidal residues of genocidal conquest, that our dead children be taken to processing plants, where experts will extract the red anones of their hearts, the pale and highly prized beans of their kidneys, the dark, cordillera slopes of their livers, their branching lungs like the cloud forests of El Yunque, the seashell corneas of their eyes, and market them to wealthy people whose own organs have failed. (In this business, organs travel from poor to rich, female to male, brown to white.)
In this scenario, the bodies of our children, slaughtered in the cross fire of colonial violence, are reframed as a natural resource. No longer are we to be sterilized to prevent our cluttering up our island with people. Instead, we should treat the high homicide and accident rates of Puerto Rico as a kind of agricultural climate suited to the farming of body parts.
Imagine someone picks up a box of fruit at your fruit stand and instead of paying for it, assures you that your peaches will get great exposure. Imagine a customer at your restaurant sends back the bill. He doesn’t think he should pay for the time it took the chef to make the whole pot of paella, just the three minutes it took to scoop out his portion and bring it to the table. Imagine you clean houses for a living. A client calls and says she’s throwing a party and would love to have you come get the house ready. She can only afford to pay your bus fare, but she knows the guests will really appreciate your efforts. As a writer, these are the kinds of offers I get all the time.
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