Although Puerto Rico is technically a territory of the United States, José Trias Monge prefers the unvarnished term "colony" to describe his homeland's difficult position. Spain ceded control of the island to the United States more than 100 years ago, and in that time Washington has continually avowed its desire to respect the wishes of the Puerto Ricans while systematically limiting its sovereignty. Only three options remain open to the island: Puerto Rico can remain a territory with greater sovereignty, become an independent nation, or join the U.S. as the 51st state. Yet frequent plebiscites held in the territory have resolved nothing. primarily due, Monge asserts, to the U.S.'s reluctance to truly allow Puerto Rico to become self-governing before any final decision is made about the territory's status. Though Monge is quick to point out how Puerto Rico has benefited from its relationship with the U.S., he is unwavering in his support of the idea that "Nobody has the right to govern another: it is as simple as that."
Monge presents a pithy account of Puerto Rico's troubled 500-year history while also setting out a carefully reasoned case for a new approach to the perennially unresolved issue of Puerto Rico's status vis-á-vis the United States.... Monge's reasoning is relentless. Yet one leaves this thoughtful book with the unpleasant suspicion that logic alone, no matter how compelling, will not be enough to rouse the United States Government to unstick this policy problem. -- The New York Times Book Review, Thomas Carothers