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Puerto Rico: statehood or independence?

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
This is a question that has plagued Puerto Rico for over a century now. And many people have killed each other for that subject, as it is the most controversial political subject of the Caribbean.

But, despite how it concerns Puerto Rico the most, before we start to talk about statehood, you must ask a while the Americans, as they would then have to make the decision that benefits their country the most. Which is why I am making this post.

There are three bands in Puerto Rico: The New Progressive Party, which are the anexionists, who believe and try all the time through both legal and illegal methods to get PR to become the 51st state of the US. They have around 1 million voters. They believe they are Americans, and understand that with independence the economic and political future of the island will be very grim. Most of them fear that Puerto Rico would fare out as Haiti.

The Popular Democratic Party, which under Luis Muñoz MarÃ:censor:n had the infamous "Commonwealth", which they sucessfully convinced the Americans to do it on 1952. They believe that it is a freely associated state in a voluntary union with the US. If so is true, then Why on earth have we got only the legal freedoms of a state with a governor no Congressmen or participation in presidential elections and that pays no taxes to the IRS, and are completely subdued to US federal law I are not sure. They believe the same of independence as the anexionists, but don't want statehood because then they understand that Puerto Rico would lose its identity.

Then come the independentists, who are a divided minority. On one side is the electoral party of the Puerto Rican Independentist Party, which has around 100,000 voters. There are also independentists who don't believe the PIP is doing its job and don't vote, there are others who hate/fear the anexionists so much that they are willing to vote for the PDP to avoid their winning. There are other organizations like the Nationalists, and the illegal Macheteros. The Catholic Church has most of its bishops here and the archbishop of San Juan on that camp. They believe in Independence for basically three reasons: a: nationalism, plain and simple. b. That Puerto Rico will in truth progress when it has an authority to do its own economic decisions and trade with whom it is most convenient. c. They believe that statehood would mean the death of their nation. The vast majority of such have answered in polls that if statehood was to come they would keep with the ideal of independence, regardless the fact it would then become secession.

In the states the matter is a bit like this: Most liberals are willing to give statehood, most conservatives are not, but in the end most of Congress is not willing at the moment.

Some of the reasons for which many in the political circles of the US don't like it are this:

Cultural differences: Puerto Rico speaks Spanish and only a very small minority of educated people know English fluently. Of course this immediately has some starting to fear the possibility of having another Quebec. The most ardent opponents because of this reason are the "English only" guys. It is obvious that with a Spanish speaking state, then the US would be well on way to becoming a bilingual country.

Amount of "Sececionist":There is a relatively large sector of the population actively seeking independence, which would be willing to keep on for independence even with statehood. In other words the minute statehood happens there would be several hundred thousand people trying to commit secession.

Possibility of another Northern Ireland:In the 40s and 50s the Nationalists attempted to make a coup d' etat and attemted murder at governor Muñoz, tried to assasinate Pres. Truman, and made an armed attack and shootout in mid session of the floor of the US House of Representatives (The bullet holes are still there, just go to the US House floor in Washington and look to the roof, and behind a couple of chairs). The Nationalists still exist as a peaceful organization nowadays, but it is home to the most radical elements of the movement for independence, many of which may be willing to do similar things again if statehood was to happen. There is also the Machereros, which is in the FBI's roster of domestic terrorist organizations which is a clandestine organization led by Filiberto Ojeda RÃ:censor:os, and they have already done Bank robberies, set bombs to the airplanes of the National Guard, etc.. Of course, this fact immediately puts into a cold sweat many within Congress, thinking that if statehood is a reality then they will have their own Belfast.

Many conservative Republicans, simply don't like the idea a whole state composed of "foreigners".

Of course, at the same time there are those within Congress who favor it:

The ones who see that statehood for Puerto Rico as a right, and even take pity of the via crucis the PR has been in, without having all the rights Americans have.

Also, the more multiculturalists, easily tolerate the idea of a Spanish speaking state.

The ones who also understand that will be a benefit to the US as it will pay Federal Taxes.

Regardless, or this, even if Puerto Ricans were to ask for statehood someday, the Americans would have to decide what is more convenient for them. As we have seen it can be both beneficial, and at the same time it can be dangerous. And that is precisely why I want to ask, specially the American members of this forum, what do you think about the subject?
post #2 of 2
Having visited a variety of the Carribean islands including Puerto Rico, I think it is pretty clear that Puerto Rico has benefitted from being a territory of the USA. However...with that said, I think that the whole idea of territories is horribly paternalistic and harkens back to a time when our goal was to expand our rule around the world.

As I mentioned in a previous thread, I have fallen head-over-heels in love with Puerto Rico, and would love to have it as a state just because it is such a great place filled with such great people. However, I think Puerto Rico should be given sovreignty (sp). They are a free people and should be a country free from foreign rule.
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