Puerto Rico, U.S.A: The Case for Statehood

Courtesy Reuters

"The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a political and economic anachronism."

With that one-sentence paragraph, Rubén Berríos-Martínez began an article in the April 1977 issue of Foreign Affairs, entitled, "Independence for Puerto Rico: The Only Solution." But the President of the Puerto Rican Independence Party was too kind: "commonwealth" as a political status is not even an anachronism; it is a myth.

For 400 years, Puerto Rico was a colony of Spain. Then, after the Spanish-American War, sovereignty over the island was transferred to the United States, a nation which, in deference to its own revolutionary origin, eschews the use of the term "colony" in describing its dependencies. Thus, as the nineteenth century ended, Puerto Rico ceased to be known officially as a "colony," and instead was euphemistically redesignated an "unincorporated territory."

So it has remained to this day.

In this article I intend to show why "commonwealth" is

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