Courtesy Reuters

Puerto Rico and the U.S., Their Future Together

PUERTO RICO needs to be "placed" afresh in the United States mind--placed not just geographically, but economically, culturally and juridically, so that the deeper political meaning of its relationships can be seen in new and correct perspective. Puerto Rican affairs have been moving full-steam ahead. The island is no longer a liability but a credit. It also is beginning to loom a little larger than its mere geographical size would indicate because it is beginning to contribute to the outside world--especially to the United States--something that is valuable and scarce today: understanding and good-will. Because of all this Puerto Rico has become politically interesting in eyes that until recently passed it over as geographically invisible.

To bring the picture into focus, the following facts must be established at the start: Puerto Rico is not asking for statehood. Puerto Rico is not demanding independence. Puerto Rico is deadset against colonialism. In other words, Puerto Rico is developing a new pattern of political freedom.

The island is a political mutation--perhaps a cultural mutation too--unique in the American system, whether by "America" one means the United States or the hemisphere. It is a Latin American country composed of good citizens of the United States. How good they are as citizens is shown by their record in Korea, where a large percentage of casualties were Puerto Ricans, and by the fact that most Puerto Rican soldiers are volunteers. It is shown by the quick and effective way in which the people and the Government of Puerto Rico come forward to refute Communist propaganda that depicts the United States as an "imperialist colonial Power." It is shown by the fact that 81 percent of the voters of the island have declared that they do not ask independence. It is shown, finally, by the vigor with which both people and Government repudiate the handful of Nationalist fanatics that occasionally fire real bullets into the real world from the bastions of their utter fantasy.

How Latin American a country

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