I was planning this post for the 4th of July but since we have no reason to recognize it as a Holiday on the Island I decided to move it up to today. Last year I wrote “Happy Self Determination Day USA!” post regarding a tweet Gabriel Pagan sent out on the celebration of independence for the U.S.! For some strange reason, Puerto Ricans go out to celebrate the Independence of the U.S. Our country is the only colony left in the world.
I wrote most of this post before watching the documentary created by @AJFaultLines on the current status of Puerto Rico on My friend’s @toxic_lunch’s blog). If you want to see Puerto Rico from my point of view and really understand the way I feel this is the closest you will get by watching a 20 minute video.
If you really want to understand some of the struggles we go through day by day @ajfaultlines has investigated and offered a deeper explanation. As a huge favor to me please watch the video:
The island is not a priority since we have no real representation in congress. The closest we have is our Resident Commissioner Pierluisi who constantly contradicts himself. He wants to be a State of the Union but goes against the fundamental Constitutional Rights by attempting to Censor Bloggers and those who only disagree with him.
Island residents are Citizens of the U.S. The Jones-Shafroth Act is the reason for this and two months later the Selective Service Act of 1917 was extended to the island. Some 20,000 thousand Puerto Rican Soldiers were sent to the 1st World War. To this day our small Island provides more service members per capita than any other U.S. Territory or State (I am an ex-service member).
Bases were also established in key strategic areas around the island. Some places would be the closest thing to heaven on earth had it not been for all the pollution and bombs they dropped on Vieques and other military exercises conducted on Culebra.
Puerto Rico has been a Colony since Spain colonized it centuries ago. In 1898, we where handed over to the U.S. as a trophy of the Spanish War. The U.S. invaded Puerto Rico (and yes I said invaded) and if you ever go to El Morro Fort you can clearly see some of the debris of when the U.S. bombarded the island to take over it. So if you thought it was a pacific exchange it was not.
Being a colony has created a state of mind of people being dependent on the relationship with the U.S. because they think it benefits them. Many people just scratch the surface and don’t look around to see the hardships the island is going through. The individuals who benefit from this relationship are in high power positions that allow them to control the masses either economically or by dispersing information, brainwashing the masses, and leaving those that are not brainwashed to be seen as rebels.
As you can see in the documentary, Puerto Rico’s economy is going to be the slowest growing in 2011, it enters its 5th year of recession, unemployments is 3 times higher than many other U.S. States (the highest unemployment rate as a U.S. Territory), and our average income per capita is half of that of Mississippi the state with the lowest Average income per capita.
Synonym of Anti-American and Extremist
On the island being Pro Independence to many is synonymous with being Anti-American and Extremist. In my case I love many things about the U.S. and I did serve in their military for 8 years so I would not call myself Anti-American although some might want to market me that way. The only extreme thing I have done is written similar blog posts to this one which our local government censors and ignores so it does not have much of an impact.
I see independence as the ingredient of a new formula of success for the island. Obviously that idea is jilted by politicians who take care of their constituents in tangible ways and create a false sense of caring to the Island residents. A good example was Obama’s visit on the island he came over to collect money , make a superficial speech, and make those Puerto Ricans in the U.S. happy that he stopped over to say,” Hi.” Not sure how that translates into being committed with the Island.
Overall, being independent can allow us to choose the best options for the island like negotiating better deals with other countries which the U.S. restricts us from doing. More importantly, it would cost us less bringing goods in via other boats that are not from the U.S. (which are the most expensive in the world). Many factors can give us quick results if we become independent but those factors will not arrive even if we become a state.
How can the masses celebrate Independence when they can’t even understand the importance of Puerto Rico’s independence?
If you are in the U.S. Happy Independence Day but keep in mind that the U.S. has restricted the Independence of many (Iraq, Afghanistan, and Puerto Rico). The only difference is that Puerto Rico does not present any threat towards the U.S and many years later I am trying to figure out how Afghanistan and Iraq present a direct threat to the U.S. other than economical.
For those of you who doubt what I say just do a current state assessment of what is happening on the Island (You Probably did not watch the video) and then give me your opinion on how this is actually benefiting us. Here I include a few articles which might help you continue your research:
photo credit by aaronbflickr