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Customer Review

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Overview of the PR Status Question, January 11, 2005
This review is from: Puerto Rico: The Trials of the Oldest Colony in the World (Paperback)
This is a relative short (less than 200 pages), straightforward and direct book on the most important subject facing PR for 100 years. The author gives us a great background on the evolution of the status question (independence, statehood or commonwealth) for PR since Spain ceded it to the U.S. after the Spanish American War of 1898. Other lands that were ceded after the war (Philippines, Cuba) were granted more autonomy and even independence than PR was. But why? The author tries to answer that.

The bigger issue is that the Commonwealth status that PR and the US enacted in 1952, while a step forward, is not really the "true" associated free state that PR envisioned for itself. While PR generally makes its own laws and governs itself, in the things that it cannot do and the ability of Congress to abolish some laws, the island can be defined as a colony in the purest sense of the word. The author goes on to state many times that it is not an issue of dislike toward the Americans, something so fashionable these days. In fact, he clearly states that whether PR chooses to be independent or perfects the commonwealth status, a close association with the U.S. would be a very desirable thing. The U.S. has generally been a very positive influence in the economic development of the island.

However, the island was told early on by the U.S. that when the day came and it was ready, the U.S. would allow it to choose its destiny in terms of self-government and would honor it...a "promise" that has not been kept. In my opinion, with 400 years of Spanish rule in the background, I don't think Puerto Ricans would ever assimilate culturally to being a state. They would never let that happen. An improved associated free state is the likeliest outcome.

The question of at least not being a "colony" anymore is the main issue of the book and it is such a central and clear problem for the residents of the island that the heads of all three main parties (independence party included) have all come out against the current dangling status.

The author doesn't make an overt case for statehood or an improved commonwealth status. I think he does a good job of stating the possible advantages and disadvantages of either scenario. It would be a very difficult decision and drawn-out process, but it must be undertaken in order to gain a better sense of self-respect for both the US and PR.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 29, 2012, 3:27:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 29, 2012, 3:32:46 PM PDT
Magda V says:
This book is oudated and a bias view of Puerto Rico. Since the USA set foot in Puerto Rico we had nothing but progress. We are not politically opress we voted twice we didn't wanted to be a state to avoid the burden of taxes. Away from the fact that that our children have to fight USA wars (which I personally find fair -by the way I lost my son in 1995 in the army) In anywayswe have no resources or anything the USA can take from us. I don't live in there, but I know that people there are drownning in pork chops from checks from Food stamps. We had a military post from the american goverment and it was removed. We have no oil, gold or slaves that Uncle Sam can take awaay. So it doesn't look to me like any colony I seen . I talked to my people there recently, and there is progress everywhere people paying expensive houses with american subsided jobs, with the help of HUD .We also have welfare. So I can reffer to this book and author as beggers with a club (limosneros con garrotes) We are just fine and happy with being USA concubine. Don't buy this book it will give you a false representation of our island go there and se our "suffering" in the richness of all we have.
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