Stepchild's Hunger

Even when the ships sailed regularly to Puerto Rico, bringing in the rice, beans and salt cod (staples of the natives' diets) and taking away the sugar, rum, tobacco and coffee (cash crops that pay the natives' paltry wages), there was hunger and destitution on this lush, mountainous, crowded island—stepchild of the U.S. economy. Now that German subs lurk in the Caribbean and ships are needed elsewhere for war, famine might cease to be a threat, become a grim reality.

In sunlit, stuccoed San Juan, beggars collapsed on the streets. There were fist fights when 22,000 pounds of spoiled codfish...

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