Most days the caramel-colored shores of El Mix are like a postcard in motion, with a backdrop of azure A-frame peaks being groomed by offshore winds, framed by palm and almond trees swaying gently along the sand’s edge. In the pristine grasslands of Playuela that front El Mix, you typically don’t see much besides the tropical flora and fauna that reside there.

But today was different. A warm stickiness hung in the afternoon air as throngs of protestors gathered in the dirt parking lot of El Mix. Spanish proclamations blared through megaphones while surfers and local community members waved Puerto Rican flags and signs scrawled with messages saying “Nuestras playas no se venden!” which translates to, Our beaches are not for sale!

At the front of the group, three people banged on tambourines and led a chant as the crowd followed along, shouting and clapping in unison:

“Playuela, sí! Columbus, no!”

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