Puerto Rico //

US colony or 51st state?


Puerto Rico’s political status is a highly emotive issue, and though it looks set to remain a Commonwealth of the US for the immediate future, there’s a lot of truth in the old adage, “after two or three drinks every Puerto Rican is pro-independence”. Most Puerto Ricans fear that becoming a US state would mean a dilution of their Hispanic identity, but that full independence would lead to economic and political chaos – even a cursory look at the modern history of Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic looks pretty bleak. Although the island has a lot more freedom than the stereotypical colony, liberals and artists generally despair at the US association. Esmeralda Santiago in Island of Lost Causes says, “the truth is, we do have a history of struggle for independence, but the opposition has always won. The failure of our best hopes…has caused many Puerto Ricans to simply give up.” That may be true: many Puerto Ricans now believe US statehood is inevitable.

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