The Hard Rock hotel chain is coming to Puerto Rico, and plenty of residents are not very happy about it. Plans are to build the $500-million venue in Old San Juan where the Department of Finance is currently located. According to El Nueva Dia, the hotel will break ground in 2024.
The history of Old San Juan dates to the early 16th century. Spanish colonizer Juan Ponce de León came upon the area and called it Puerto Rico. In 1983, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) deemed San Juan as a national historic site that “represents the continuity of more than four centuries of architectural, engineering, military, and political history.”
Because of San Juan’s rich history, there are many Puerto Ricans who don’t like the idea of the Hard Rock hotel chain expanding onto the island. It’s, of course, important to note that countless neighborhoods in Puerto Rico have become gentrified under Acts 20 and 22.
Independent journalist Mariela Fullana Acosta called the project “lacking in aesthetics” and “completely absurd.” She added: “It’s like putting Las Vegas into a historic area.”
Author and journalist Michael Deibert posted that “the destruction of [Old San Juan’s] beauty continues shamelessly apace” with plans for the hotel. He added: “These people are little more than vandals against [Puerto Rico’s] national patrimony.”
Puerto Rican journalist Susanne Ramirez de Arellano also isn’t a fan of the hotel chain being built. “The Hard Rock, the shi–iest restaurant there is, in a theme park that no one goes to, now comes to see how many dollars it can get from Puerto Rico,” she wrote. “Frightening.”
Another Puerto Rico citizen said the hotel would take away from the charm of the area. “Little by little, it is becoming a more modern place and not so historical,” they posted.
It’s one thing to bring businesses to Puerto Rico and create jobs, but it’s something else when you start exploiting land, taking advantage of people, and ignoring their history and culture. Based on the reactions on social media, many Puerto Ricans believe that’s what’s happening now.