July 16, 2009

America's Cuba

I'd never thought about it much before, but reading Stephen Hunter's nonfiction book American Gunfight about the two Puerto Rican nationalist terrorists who came close to assassinating Harry Truman in his bedroom in 1950 turned me into a Puerto Rican nationalist.

Seriously, why does America rule a populous Spanish-speaking island in the Caribbean?

It's just a leftover from the era of Teddy Rooseveltian American imperialism, a war prize from the Spanish-American War of 1898. It's hard to figure out from Googling around why the U.S. government ever wanted Puerto Rico.

In contrast, there was at that time a popular notion that owning the Philippines would pay off for America because the Philippines were said to be the key to opening the door to the China trade, and if all 300,000,000 Chinamen bought a pair of American shoes, that would be 600,000,000 shoes! Well, maybe, maybe not, but at least the Philippines land-grab had a theory to explain it.

But what was Puerto Rico supposed to be the key to: the Haiti trade?

The only theory I've ever heard of why the U.S. wanted Puerto Rico was that it was supposed to protect the approaches to the Panama Canal. Yet, I don't see any evidence that Teddy's strategic oracle, Admiral Mahan, thought much of Puerto Rico's strategic value. In the chapters on naval strategy in the Caribbean in his 1911 book, Mahan barely mentions Puerto Rico, and instead spends many pages salivating over Jamaica's strategic location. (The U.S. closed its last naval base in Puerto Rico, Roosevelt Roads, in 2004, relocating its operations to Florida. In 2003, the Navy gave up on its Vieques firing grounds after protests.)

As far as I can figure, the U.S. kept Puerto Rico more or less as a souvenir of that "splendid little war" with Spain. We couldn't keep Cuba, which with its huge length, long coastline, and more developed economy, was sort of worth something strategically and economically, because we had gone to war in the name of Cuban independence. So we demanded Puerto Rico as an "indemnity" from Spain for making us declare war on them by their being so colonialist.

Cuba helped bankrupt the Soviet Union by costing the Russkies about $6 billion per year in subsidies. Economist Art Laffer estimates that Puerto Rico costs the U.S. government almost four times as much, mostly in tax breaks to corporations. And the cost of Open Borders between Puerto Rico and the U.S. has been sizable, especially to Eastern Seaboard cities during the decades before the government started bribing Puerto Ricans to stay home. And Puerto Ricans become instantly eligible for affirmative action benefits the moment they step off the plane in the 50 States, which doesn't do Americans any good.

The U.S. pays Puerto Ricans to conduct all their politics around the statehood v. commonwealth polarity, but nationalism remains in their hearts: Puerto Rico sends its own teams to the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic, and Puerto Ricans cheer loudly when their teams beat the Americans.

And why shouldn't they? It's only natural for an island nation to feel little emotional tie to the continental power that conquered them, especially if they have different languages.

Puerto Rico is never going to progress like Hawaii did into an English-speaking place where Americans would want to settle. It's full of Puerto Ricans. (Hawaii has almost twice the land mass of Puerto Rico but less than one-third the population.)

Recent referendums in P.R. have been slightly tilted toward staying a subsidized colony, but someday "statehood" will win a referendum. And then the Democrats will have a field day demanding that we respect the wishes of the Puerto Rican people and give the Democrats two more U.S. Senators.

It's time for Puerto Rican independence.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't they want to enjoy the best of both worlds? Suck at the U.S. teat, enjoy open borders, and continue to think of themselves as a separate country?

king obama said...

Is this post related to the Sotomayor hearings in someway?

Steve's thinking:

"Ah, if only Puerto Rican's weren't US citizens, Sotomayor wouldn't be in the US and wouldn't be getting confirmed as a US Supreme Court Judge."

Calvin said...

"It's hard to figure out from Googling around why the U.S. government even wanted Puerto Rico."

I thought it was because of the massive wisdom deficit. The progressive imperialist geniuses at the turn of the last century in their prescient brilliance foresaw that the America of the 21st century would face a severe wisdom shortage, and would thus need it in abundance, preferably in the form of a Latina woman. So they acted accordingly.

Isn't this along the lines of why we invaded Afghanistan as well? Bush envisaged that the America of the 22nd century would face a heavy prudence deficit, and judged (correctly) that we would solve it by invading Afghanistan so we can import prudence in the next century. Preferably in the guise of a goat herding Pashtun.

Chris said...

What the hell to do think will happen to the Supreme Court if we separate from Puerto Rico? Do you have in mind an alternative source of wisdom?

Simon said...

Presumably any announcement of impending Puerto Rican independence would set off a flood of Puerto Ricans into the US, unless they were guaranteed dual citizenship (as the UK gave all Irish citizens who wanted it).

Anonymous said...

"It's time for Puerto Rican independence."

But how? They don't want it.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
You forget that those times (ie the early 1900s prior to WW1), were the hey-day of White Imperialism and Colonialism - as explemified and typified by Great Britain and the caricature of the British imperialist at that time - bristing moustache,pomaded hair, bombastic attitude, dashing derring-do, pomposity, and a certain devil may care blood thirstiness (the so-called 'Boxer' rebellion in China sums it all up) and cast-iron self-confidence.(The 'gay' images evoked have been commented upon previously by many others).
The images of Horatio Kitchener, Winston Churcill and Cecil Rhodes come firmly to mind, together with Rudyard Kipling - the official bard of the policy.
Other White nations aped Britain in this regard, and not to be left out the USA came late to the game.
There isn't a deeper explanation.

Acilius said...

Admiral Mahan may well have preferred Jamaica to Puerto Rico, but Jamaica wasn't available in 1898. The British weren't going anywhere in that year. The Spanish Empire, on the other hand, was in a state of collapse, its possessions ripe for the taking.

David said...

This post is an open invitation to a "testy special."

Anonymous said...

"Is this post related to the Sotomayor hearings in someway?

Steve's thinking:

'Ah, if only Puerto Rican's weren't US citizens, Sotomayor wouldn't be in the US and wouldn't be getting confirmed as a US Supreme Court Judge.' "

So true.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with you Steve. This poor, resourceless, Spanish-speaking island is a liability and not an asset to America. Give them their independence now.

Anonymous said...

wait they are eligable for affirmitive action in the US but not in puerto rico?
i agree with others unlike say south africa where our meddling had no direct impact on us, 'free' puerto rico and you'd have another Hati, and loads of refugees.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, why would the US want Puerto Rico? Or Guam? Or the Phillipines? The Spanish-American War, which lasted only about four months, was one of the most important events in American history. There is a direct connection between that war and the growth American imperialism in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The war was hotly controversial in 1898. The US scored an astoundingly easy victory over the decrepit Spanish empire, and of the detritus of the war, Guam and Puerto Rico remain US possessions. Why the US wants Puerto Rico, or ever wanted it, eludes me. The US was quite right to cut Cuba loose almost at once, although successive American governments intervened in Cuban affairs almost at will until Castro, a communist but also a Cuban nationalist, took over. The US hung on to the Phillipines for no good reason, and this played a major role in getting America involved in WW II with Japan. (Rudyard Kipling, poet laureate of the British empire, wrote "The White Man's Burden" to encourage American advenrurism in the Phillipines). There is a continuous time line from the Spanish-American War through American nationalism, make-the-world-safe-for-democracy-ism, imperialism and anti-communism to the present day involvement in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. And, of course, 1898 is when American meddling in Latin American affairs really got rolling. How's that worked out lately?

So I don't know why the US remains in Puerto Rico. I've been there a couple of times, and it's pleasant enough, although it really feels like an Outpost of Empire. Cut 'em loose before they vote for statehood, for then we really will have a problem.

Ronduck said...

Since you're worried about the possibility of the extra Democratic Senators coming from Puerto Rico why not mention the massive overrepresentation of New England in the US Senate. Right now NE is divided into six states and therefore has 12 senators. Rationally speaking NE should be one state and therefore should only have 2 senators.

The US Senate is currently divided 60-40 in favor of Democrats. If NE were one state then that would be 50-40, and in fact would be even less lopsided since Democratic efforts to import Dem voters and rig the process could have been blocked.

Ah well, I am dreaming.

Sgt. Joe Friday said...

We should have cut them loose a long time ago. Unfortunately if anyone were to advocate that now, it would be portrayed as by the media as "ethnic cleansing." I doubt very much that even generous foreign aid subsidies would alter that narrative.

I'm certain that I am way too old (51) that I'll be around to see the end game, but IMO where all this is headed is toward some kind of soft partitioning or voluntary resegregation. People naturally want to be around other people who they perceive to be like themselves, so you'll have the Anglos gravitating toward the upper midwest, Pacific Northwest, and parts of the south, the Hispanics to the southwest, and blacks in the south and big cities of the east and midwest.

Of course even with the above scenario there is still going to be the problem of poor, unskilled Hispanics migrating to areas where they can find work and welfare. And once they show in sufficient numbers, the process will start all over again with the non-Hispanics trying to figure out where they can go to escape the new, "vibrant" culture that's spring up around them.

MacSweeney said...

They didn't need a practical reason to conquer something back then. It's a piece of land. Manifest Destiny.

J said...

America is wealthy enough to support a small Caribbean island. Puerto Rico's significance for America is in what it is not: it is not a Russian military base (as was Cuba) and is not a hostile dictatorship (like Venezuela). I dont know if it is worth. I mean for Puerto Rico. The island, once an agricultural powerhouse, produces nothing, exports nothing. It has lost its language, literature, culture, identity. It is America's reservoir of proletarians, in the Marxist sense.

Eddy Elfenbein said...

But Steve, without Puerto Rican immigration we never would have had West Side Story. Think of the big picture here.

Anonymous said...

America's post Spanish-American War policy was pretty much incoherent. The Philippines was kept as a colony in all but name, Cuba become independent but virtually a protectorate for a few years, and initially Puerto Rico was given to the Navy Department like it was an afterthought.
Like you Steve, I always heard the chief reason for keeping PR was to have a "presence" in the Pacific, even if it wasn't a very plausible reason.

Perhaps we kept Puerto Rico out of a plain ol' misguided sense of Manifest Destiny. In the first few years after the Spanish-American War there were a few failed attempts to establish American settlements in Cuba to Americanize the island ala Texas in the 1830s. Does anyone know if there were simiiar ventures attempted in Puerto Rico?

"Presumably any announcement of impending Puerto Rican independence would set off a flood of Puerto Ricans into the US, unless they were guaranteed dual citizenship (as the UK gave all Irish citizens who wanted it)."

Yeah, the independentistas hedge their bets.I haven't read any nationalist literature lately but I recall most nationalists do call for dual citizenship offers and free trade agreements in case independence is achieved.

-Vanilla Thunder

Anonymous said...

I worked in Puerto Rico off an on for a year in 2004.

Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world totally trashed unless they are leased by american hotels. The locals seem to have no idea what a beautiful island they live on. I remeber one picturesque bay on the southeast side covered in litter and even a few dead dogs.

In general, the PRs hate Americans but love their dollars. They treat you like crap if you don't speak spanish, they complain constantly about American rules and hegemony but they also don't think the US government sends them enough money.

Listening to the local radio stations there, I was amazed at the amount of people who say they want to achieve sovereignty and yet continue to receive US foreign aid forever.

stari_momak said...

Yup its time for a new anti-Imperialist league. PR, American Samoa, the Northern Marianas, Guam. Let's get rid of the all. In fact, I'd throw Hawaii in, and maybe Texas south of San Antonio (inclusive)

Anonymous said...

One quibble: the Soviet Union didn't break up because it was bankrupt. It was solvent until the last day of its existance. Russia went bankrupt as a result of looting by the oligarchs, but that was AFTER, not before the breakup of the USSR. The people who eventually became the oligarchs fought against the old order so that they could loot it after it fell.

As far as I know, the old USSR did not have a significant external. or internal debt when it broke up. The Soviet standard of living was going up, not down, up until the late Gorbachov yers, when the thieves finally started getting what they wanted.

The idea that the old USSR had to be abolished becaquse it was banrupt is a political cover story by the oligarchs and their frineds in the Western media.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Since the Puerto Rican experience was immortally romanticized by the incorrigible Marxists Laurents & Bernstein [don't know much about Sondheim], the Puerto Ricans have had the zeitgeist on their side.

Anonymous said...

"I thought it was because of the massive wisdom deficit."

Calvin, that was very funny.

rast said...

Steve, "we" are in PR for the same reason we've gone to all these other places: big business socialism. Well-connect elites gain the benefits, while taxpayers shoulder the costs.

kurt9 said...

Yeah, I'm a Puerto Rican nationalist as well, always have been. I never understood why we needed to have Puerto Rico as a part of the U.S. I also agree with Steve's general attitude towards Teddy Roosevelt's imperial foreign policy as well, especially that "Splended Little War".

Anonymous said...

Steve, I think you're basically right, PR is a souvenir piece the U.S won when they defeated the decrepit Spanish Empire, and the corporations love the tax-breaks. Above all of course we need that vital link to the economic power-house that is Haiti ;)

Anyhow, I've long wondered the same thing about why the U.S still has Puerto Rico, and I'm of Puerto Rican ancestry. Many Puerto Ricans have this funny habit of looking down on other Latin Americans, especially Dominicans, even though Puerto Rico isn't independent and the generous U.S government has been giving it a huge boost all these years. They merely got conquered by the right country.

If Puerto Rico was a state, it would have:
1) The highest unemployment rate.
2) The highest crime rate.

Along with a very high high school drop out rate and illegitimacy rate.

Like my grandfather once did in his youth, I favor Puerto Rican independence; however, I do so as an American citizen, not as a Puerto Rican nationalist. I feel very little attachment to the island.

Puerto Ricans are a small group but they are hardly cohesive. Some white Puerto Ricans even see themselves as more Spanish or "Spaniard" than Puerto Rican, because of the negative stereotypes of Puerto Ricans, especially non-white Puerto Ricans. There is a lot of racism in Puerto Rico, but for some reason they usually do a good job of hiding it.

Besides this, many native Puerto Rican islanders look down on the New York PRs, and see them as a culturally distinct and especially troublesome group. Some NY PRs get offended by the mere suggestion that there are any differences between PRs in NY and PRs in PR, yet will claim the PRs on the island are "elitist". Puerto Ricans in PR often blame the NY Puerto Ricans for the high crime rate in PR. They will claim, with a lot of merit, that much of the criminal activity on the island has its origins in the slums and projects of Spanish Harlem and the South Bronx, which had been overrun by Puerto Ricans in the 1960s and 1970s.

Having visited the island many years back, it seems the Puerto Ricans of PR are significantly more white than the Puerto Ricans of the east coast U.S, generally speaking. Although the percentage of whites who are "pure" isn't very large, it seems on the island that 60% to 75% of Puerto Ricans could be classified as predominantly white. At least 10% are black, and 15% to maybe 25% are mullato/mestizo or "mixed". Illegal immigrants from the Dominican Republic are slowly increasing the mulatto/black percentage of the population(and are also blamed for the crime wave on the island), but they often don't get counted in the census.

I often scratch my head wondering how anyone ever thought of "Hispanics" or "Latinos" as a cohesive group, all sharing the same interests and all taking "pride" in Sotomayor's nomination.

Let's! said...

Paddy Buke has been saying we should cut PR loose for years, so at least you could give your boss a little credit, no?

Anonymous said...

"Ah, if only Puerto Rican's weren't US citizens, Sotomayor wouldn't be in the US and wouldn't be getting confirmed as a US Supreme Court Judge."

I'm not American, but that would be exactly what I'd think.

Eric said...

It's hard to figure out from Googling around why the U.S. government even wanted Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico, like Hawaii, had a great place for a massive naval base. The waters around the island aren't as busy as the US Atlantic coast, so we had a very large combination missile/surface/sub/amphibious test and training range there. It was the only place in the Atlantic the navy could practice amphibious warfare.

When a group of developers tapped into Puerto Rican nationalism to boot the navy out of Vieques, we lost the amphibious warfare part of the range. At that point Congress decided to close Roosevelt Roads altogether. Partly because it was less valuable without Vieques and partly because they were angry.

Roosevelt Roads gave us a good reason for being there. But now that it's gone there isn't, and I agree the island should be cut loose.

Cleanthes said...

The United States took Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Hawaii and Samoa in order to keep them out of the hands of the Germans.

Had the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam not been taken, then they would have been conquered by Germany, for sure, as the Krauts were even keener on Admiral Mahan's outlook than the USA was. After World War I, Japan received all of Germany's colonies north of the equator, so they would have received the two Pacific territories. So, the Nips would have had some nice advance bases for taking over the Netherlands East Indies.

I imagine the US would have had to get into World War I rather sooner had Puerto Rico been German controlled. As it was, we bought the Virgin Islands to keep them out of the hands of the Huns.

It's presently the politically correct notion, as well as the Steveosphere notion, that imperialism is bad. But maybe we're wrong. For almost all of human history, people have thought imperialism not just right, but as a sign of puissance, a signal that Almighty Providence favored the imperial power.

Anonymous said...

wait they are eligable for affirmitive action in the US but not in puerto rico?


Of course not, there aren't more competent people of a different color to deny positions to.

Anonymous said...

I often scratch my head wondering how anyone ever thought of "Hispanics" or "Latinos" as a cohesive group, all sharing the same interests and all taking "pride" in Sotomayor's nomination.

I've wondered the same thing. And yet last year's pre-election coverage in my state of FL frequently included light-skinned Cuban emigres from Miami demanding open borders and amnesty for Mestizo Mexicans who wouldn't be able to understand a word they said, in English or Spanish.

I'd expect them to resent being lumped together due to the merest superficial similarities. But they perceive that they have a common interest, so I suppose we should too.

Peter A said...

why not mention the massive overrepresentation of New England in the US Senate.

Because that's a ridiculous assertion. New Englanders are actually underrepresented in terms of senators and congressmen per 1000 people. The mountain states and rural areas are over represented. The scary thing is that America is really "more" liberal than our elected politicians.

John Seiler said...

We need Porto Rico as a state to keep up the flow of rum.

Eric said...

It's presently the politically correct notion, as well as the Steveosphere notion, that imperialism is bad. But maybe we're wrong. For almost all of human history, people have thought imperialism not just right, but as a sign of puissance, a signal that Almighty Providence favored the imperial power.

Well, if we want to be an empire, we should at least be a competent empire. Pournelle has some good observations on that score. We have, in Puerto Rico, not a vassal state but a welfare state. What's the point of that? Wealth is supposed to flow from Gaul to Rome, not the other way around.

stari_momak said...

We need Porto Rico as a state to keep up the flow of rum.

Bacardi 8 is a real treat, but if we legalized trade with Cuba we could get the terrific Habana Club in all its variations.

stari_momak said...

The United States took Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Hawaii and Samoa in order to keep them out of the hands of the Germans.

Dude, go to the library, check out a US History 101 text, and get back to us in 3 months.

Cat Patrol said...

I know several Puerto Ricans quite well. Even after 2 or more generations living in the States, they are still Puerto Rican to the core.

Anonymous said...

I've wondered the same thing. And yet last year's pre-election coverage in my state of FL frequently included light-skinned Cuban emigres from Miami demanding open borders and amnesty for Mestizo Mexicans who wouldn't be able to understand a word they said, in English or Spanish.

I'd expect them to resent being lumped together due to the merest superficial similarities. But they perceive that they have a common interest, so I suppose we should too
.

They can all agree on sticking it white euro-american types. Even when they are white euro-hispanic types. Who wants to identify with losers after all?

Perhaps a self-confident white system in the US would change that. Hispanic whites would have an incentive to ally with that and dispense with their black/mestizo bretheren.

Anonymous said...

I had to look up what happened to those bases in the Caribbean the USA received in return for the 50 (barely functional) destroyers they gave the Brits during WWII. Trinidad, Antigua, St. Lucia, and another one IIRC. They were shut down in 1949, with an option to re-open. I think they had 99 year leases.

Oh well, I guess America is making do with only 700 odd bases in 63 odd countries; any more than that and, gosh, America would be an empire like back in the Teddy Roosevelt era.

(I'm new at snark - should I have used an exclamation point in that last sentence to denote snark? Or maybe a smiley face? Did the "gosh" suffice? If there is a homosexualist here, please advise!)

Ronduck said...

Peter A said...

New Englanders are actually underrepresented in terms of senators and congressmen per 1000 people.

New England is underrepresented in the House compared to the Plains States, but in the Senate states like Vermont are Grossly overrepresented, as are the Plains States.

I'm coming to the conclusion that the best option we have is to abolish the Senate and give its powers to the House, which would be the natural outcome of the one-man-one-vote supreme court decision of the 1960's that destroyed state senates.

Anonymous said...

I lived in PR for a while for work. I have no problem with them but the culture's a mess, it's a 3rd world Latin American country kept stable by US dollars. Interestingly, a lot of the PR's I met believed the only reason they were granted citizenship in 1917 (the Jones-Shafroth Act) was to be drafted in WW1, and that that was the only reason we kept them on. Nationhood was a young college person's cause; everyone over 30 I met was more than happy to accept the tax dollars of everyone on this thread. Funny about money though: a lot of the PR's I knew flew to the Dominican Republic when they wanted to visit prostitutes!

Anonymous said...

There's only one solution: invade and colonize Cuba so we can balance out Puerto Rico with a solid Republican state.

Sockstand said...

PR independence isn't for their benefit: it's for ours. They may or may not benefit but we will in the long term avoid immeasureable harm.

Of course, the best approach for us is to see if we can give the island back to Spain. That might be more palatable to the natives than independence (although really we should be able to kick them out of the nest unilaterally) as that may open up the EU to them rather than North America.

Anonymous said...

"Its full of Puerto Ricans." (Steve)

This type of rhetoric doesn't benefit anyone.

Shrewsbury said...

I grew up in New York City in the 50s and 60s, and I’ve been a fervent Puerto Rican nationalist since starting third grade at my local diverse and vibrant elementary school.

patrick said...

Bit of trivia- a lot of the more European-descended Puerto Ricans have Corsican ancestry from the 19th century emigration. There was a lot of emigration from "France's Puerto Rico"* to Puerto Rico itself.

*Corsica has a different language (Italian, not French) is the least developed and most subsidized part of metropolitan France, has a historically violent independence movement, and yet Corsican independence is more popular in mainland France than in Corsica itself.

Anonymous said...

In contrast, there was at that time a popular notion that owning the Philippines would pay off for America because the Philippines were said to be the key to opening the door to the China trade, and if all 300,000,000 Chinamen bought a pair of American shoes, that would be 600,000,000 shoes! Well, maybe, maybe not, but at least the Philippines land-grab had a theory to explain it.

Not quite. The Phillipines made a handy base for Christian missionaries that operated in China. These missionaries cared not a whit if China bought 600M shoes (and made a profit for American business), just as long as China sold their 300M souls to Jesus.

History proved everyone wrong. China didn't turn Christian, only Marxist/Maoist, then capitalist while giving lip service to Marx. And rather than buying shoes, China sells 600M shoes a year to the rest of the world!

airtommy said...

it is not a Russian military base (as was Cuba) and is not a hostile dictatorship (like Venezuela).

Bush tried to turn Venezuela into a friendly dictatorship, but he failed, so it remains a hostile democracy.

stari_momak said...

Speaking of the Philippines, the well connected (and admittedly brave) neo-con shill Michael Totten was recently there with some Special Forces/SeAL/ Superduper trooper types, reporting on how they are winning against the Muslims on Mindanao who have naturally seen the error of their ways after 500 years plus of fighting the Spanish, Americans, Filipinos.

What a moroon.

Truth said...

"We need Porto Rico as a state to keep up the flow of rum."

And great asses! We're thinking along the same line. A stroll down Condado beach during the weekend definitely shows what a valuable import New York and Southern Florida would be missing if we denied all of them' 22 year old J-Lo's citizenship.

No Mentiren y me dicen que unos de nosotros gringos no tienen El Fiebre Selva!

Anonymous said...

Imperialism doesn't work without genocide - long term at least. The "Imperialism" we know about was the dreaming of european statesman playing a 'Great Game' in their minds with things called States and Nations - yet being products of late european culture, they were inevitably tied to their self-images as 'niceguys'. It turns out niceguys with a huge technological advantage can hold territory for somewhere between 20 and 100 years. Holding it beyond that time requires something other than a 'niceguy' playing a grand game.

TSB said...

I've been an ardent Puerto Rican nationalist ever since I did a two-year tour at Ft. Buchanan, San Juan, in the 1980s. I wore an Independence Party T-shirt while off duty, and proselytized all the Ricans I knew to vote for independence (no takers, however).

Experiencing Puerto Rico made me realize for the first time what a menace to the Republic Teddy Roosevelt was.

We need to cut La Isla Bonita away from the U.S. out of pure self-preservation.

josh said...

Someone mentiomned West Side Story? Recall the Jet Song:"The sharks'll stay clear,cause every Puerto Ricans a lousy chicken..." Sottomayors sleazy performsance at the hearings --denying everything she believes,"wise Latina" was a slip of the tongue(!)and talking bullshit about how the law is everything,ad nauseum. Maybe theres some truth there...

The White Detroiter said...

Alexander Odishelidze and Arthur Laffer wrote a book a few years ago called "Pay to the Order of Puerto Rico" that may be of interest to readers here.

http://www.puertorico-herald.org/PRPay2Order.html

stari_momak said...

You know, I don't think there is a historical precedent for a movement in the metropole that wants to get rid of a territory. There was the anti-Imperialist movement, but their main goal was preventing imperial conquests in the first place. Now we have a fairly gelled situation which would require some effort to overturn. Unfortunately we in the proper US don't get to vote on it, unlike the Borriques.

rob said...

Anyone see 25 Hour? "And F*ck the Dominicans, they make the Puerto Ricans look good."

The Rummies are more right than they probably think. Once upon a time Europeans treated sugar like legal cocaine.

I for one feel independence should be a third option on Puerto Rico's referenda. Most importantly, it would provide a precedent for legal, peaceful succession. That precedent is sorely lacking.

Though I guess it would just take Congress passing a 'this is how you secede' bill. No Constitutional language prevents it.

bistik said...

Aren't the babes there hot?

Anthony said...

You know, I don't think there is a historical precedent for a movement in the metropole that wants to get rid of a territory.

The Turks were pretty happy in 1923 to get rid of all the Arabs and Slavs that the Ottoman Empire ruled.

headache said...

"The Turks were pretty happy in 1923 to get rid of all the Arabs and Slavs that the Ottoman Empire ruled."


I don't think the Slavs wanted to voluntarily stay under the Turkish yoke. The Greeks fought a war of independence to get rid of that murderous, dictatorial foreign rule. I don't know about the Arabs.

Anonymous said...

You know, I don't think there is a historical precedent for a movement in the metropole that wants to get rid of a territory.

The Portuguese movement known as the "Carnation Revolution" which took power in Lisbon in a military coup in 1974 was all too keen to jettison Angola and Mozambique ASAP.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Even if I could think of a good reason why we took PR in the first place, I can't think of a good reason to keep it now.

Besides, we've already got West Side Story.

As to the potential fallout from many Puerto Ricans suddenly moving to the US, that would be a heavy, but one-time, cost.

Lenny Burnsteen said...

One thing I never got 'bout West Side Story, Tony goes into a street in HiSpanish Harlem , yells out Maria and only one window opens? How 'bout one hundred!

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

You know, I don't think there is a historical precedent for a movement in the metropole that wants to get rid of a territory."

France - Algeria?

Soviet Union - Eastern Europe?

David said...

No Testy? Puerto Rico is safe!

Toadal said...

Perhaps as part of the physically destructive, sociopolitical conservative global apocalypse in 2012, a clever, well financed Puerto Rican nationalist group will draft Supreme Sotomayor as Puerto Rico's President.

As a wise Latina woman, would she see the wisdom of being drafted by her people and destroy the shackles of American imperialism?

Anonymous said...

I worked in Puerto Rico off an on for a year in 2004.

Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world totally trashed unless they are leased by american hotels. The locals seem to have no idea what a beautiful island they live on. I remeber one picturesque bay on the southeast side covered in litter and even a few dead dogs.

In general, the PRs hate Americans but love their dollars. They treat you like crap if you don't speak spanish, they complain constantly about American rules and hegemony but they also don't think the US government sends them enough money.

Listening to the local radio stations there, I was amazed at the amount of people who say they want to achieve sovereignty and yet continue to receive US foreign aid forever.


Other than their lack of nature-worship they sound like perfect liberals.

~Svigor

Seamus said...

You know, I don't think there is a historical precedent for a movement in the metropole that wants to get rid of a territory.

Malaysia. Singapore. 1965.