Puerto Rico as a Case Study
Abstract: Puerto Rico maintains a colonial status since its discovery. The political immobility of the Congress of the United States and local politicians has halted the process of decolonization. Many of Puerto Ricans have the desire to decolonize the Island but the inclusion of the Commonwealth in the Plebiscites of decolonization havehurdled the process. The present study seeks to explain the reasons of statehood supporting.
Pablo L. Martinez
Term I 09
Section 1: Research Question and Relevance
For many Puerto Ricans the issue of the political status has become untenable in the last years. Undoubtedly, it is the most critical topic in Puerto Rican Politics. This research intends to findthe reasons of why Puerto Ricans support more the statehood than sovereignty as solution of the political status issue. The debate regarding to what should be the best option for the decolonization of the Island was intensified since the expressions of support to independence by Sonia Sotomayor during the confirmation process as a judge of the Supreme Court of Justice, and the bill HR 2499 proposedby the Commissioner of Puerto Rico in Washington, Pedro Pierluisi, which promotes the urgency of Puerto Rico’s self-determination.
Puerto Rico has never ceased of being a colony since it was discovered. For more than 400 years it belonged to Spain and then after the Spanish-American War in 1898, the sovereignty over the Island was transferred to the United States. The Commonwealth, the currentstatus of Puerto Rico since 1952, allows Puerto Ricans to enjoy the US Citizenship and certain degree of autonomy to determine their local affairs, but subject to the US Constitution and regulated by the Congress. The current political system has not been able to sort out the colony status. The idea of decolonization has been supported by most Puerto Ricans, but the lack of will by localpoliticians and the US Congress have hurdled the process.
Puerto Ricans have three viable options for decolonization: Statehood, Independence or Free Association. During the second-half of the last century the people of Puerto Rico have had the opportunity of going to the electoral ballot box four times without getting majority in any of the decolonization options due the inclusion of the Commonwealth asan alternative.
The contribution of this study lies in the awareness of the people about Puerto Rico’s political issue and opens a door to a future research of this topic.
Section 2: Literature Review
Relatively little has been published about the problem of the current political status of Puerto Rico. Many of the publications have been based more on opinions than facts. Finding a goodresearch about the status of Puerto Rico is a hard task. Hence, this study is of an exploratory nature.
Spiegel S. (2001). Puerto Rican Self-Determination. (2001-R-0930). Retrieved from
This study is an explanatory study that exposes an overview of the Puerto Rico’s political status. It offers a brief qualitative analysis regarding to thearguments against Commonwealth and the benefits and liabilities of the Statehood without details, Free Association, Independence and the Status Quo.
Bea, K. & Garret, S. (2009) Political Status of Puerto Rico: Options for Congress. (7-5700). Retrieved from http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL32933.pdf
This research is about the decolonization options that Puerto Rico has. It is an explanatory studythat has the purpose of defining all alternatives that the people of Puerto Rico have to decolonize the Island. It makes an extensive use of event-count data related to the congressional attention to the Island’s political status. It suggests the determine role of the Congress in the resolution of the issue.
Barcelo, R. (1980, fall). Puerto Rico’s Decolonization. Foreign Affairs. Retrieved from...
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