Puerto Rico: the reassertion of US colonialism

Dominguez, Francisco (2020) Puerto Rico: the reassertion of US colonialism. Transform A Journal of the Radical Left (7) , 4. ISSN 2514-3387

Abstract

On 23rd September 2019, pro independence Puerto Ricans celebrated the 151st anniversary of the 1868 nationalist armed uprising aimed at shaking off Spain’s colonial shackles, known as El Grito de Lares. It was the title of the proclamation of Independence by the Revolutionary Committee of Puerto Rico, set up by Puerto Rican exiles in the Dominican Republic. The uprising was brutally put down. The setback led Puerto Rico’s liberal creole oligarchy to campaign to be allowed ‘autonomous self-government’ with Madrid’s consent, but led the conservatives to favour full assimilation as a Spanish province. This made the pro independence movement a minority within the island. There was another pro independence uprising in 1897, which was opposed by the bulk of the creole oligarchy that colluded with the Spanish authorities to swiftly put it down. In July 1898, the US, following the successful military invasion of neighbouring Cuba in June that year, after dealing Spain a crushing defeat, occupied Puerto Rico, which it eventually annexed. Ever since Puerto Rico has been a de facto US colony regardless of the legal double-speak that has sought to disguise it. Interestingly, the political divisions of the Spanish colonial time have been more or less perpetuated under U.S. domination even into the 21st century. Thus, Puerto Rico’s society splits into three defining currents: maintaining the status quo: (i.e., self-government); la estadidad (becoming the 51st member state of the United States of America); and full independence. Since the end of the 19th century, the status quo position has enjoyed majority support; the estadidad has been a smaller second, and full independence has remained a small minority of committed but heavily repressed revolutionary activists. However, the recent mass mobilizations in July 2019 against a corrupt Governor that forced his resignation, the intense discontent that the island’s economic deterioration (actually, bankruptcy), have the potential to change these hitherto fossilised divisions due to a substantial growth of the pro independence line.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 29527
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Francisco Dominguez
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2020 16:46
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2020 09:26
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/29527

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