45 thoughts on “?Que diferencias hay entre los puertorrique?os de Puerto Rico y de los Estados Unidos?/How are Puerto Ricans in the United States different from Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico?

  1. economic and historical realities
    There is no state that previously had a distinct culture and language of its own (such as California, Texas, Hawaii, New Mexico, etc.) that did not lose it upon being absorbed into the United States. This is a historical fact. If Puerto Rico were to become a state it would indeed lose its language and culture. It may take another century, but it would lose it. Legally, California was supposed to conduct its business and all state matters in both Spanish and English. It did not. Once absorbed into the U.S. the Californios slowly faded away. Have you ever heard of the Californios?

    Puerto Rico as a colony does not negotiate its own trade relations with other nations in the world. This is very different from an individual business importing some products. Although these businesses are effected by trade policy–as you state there are import taxes. In fact, one of the main ways of regulating individuals is through import taxes. Puerto Rico does not in any way set its policies and trade relations with anyone. In fact, many products in PR are quited costly because of this. My 12,000 dollar car costs 25,000 dollars on the island.

    Someone once said: The nation, La patria, is not negotiable. The nation of Puerto Rico is not reducible to bill paying. But I will say more later. Nationhood is emotional because it is really a matter of life and death for the people of Puerto Rico. And I’m not talking about an ethnicity or minority group with the U.S. I’m talking about a nation among nations in the world with its own distinct culture, history and customs. We always arrive at this because it is at the heart of all other issues concerning Puerto Rico–it’s not a digression. Everything else is an attempt to avoid dealing with this matter. I doubt if any of the founding fathers of the United States had an economic plan when they sought independence from England. They also did not hold a plebiscite to see how much support they had for independence. In fact, had they held a vote, independence would have lost.

  2. RE: economic and historical realities
    My opinion is that Puerto Rico should not become a state not only for the reasons that Kiwi stated but there are others reasons also.

    Imagine non Puerto Rican politicians deciding the fate of our identity without regard to our culture.Thats just what would happen if P.R. becomes a state.How can anyone imagine that the U.S. will regard P.R. as equals when for decades 2nd. and 3rd. generation hispanics have been fighting for equal rights in the mainland U.S. and these are hispanics born,raised,and educated in the U.S.. Let’s face reality there is nothing free in this world it’s up to us hispanics to do for ourselves instead of depending on the U.S. to finally except us as equals.

    On the other hand I don’t believe that independence is a safe option. If we are to look at other former colonies who have fought for independence their situation is not an example to follow.

    Just take a look at the situation in Africa, Carribean,and Asia.Let’s remember who we are dealing with.If P.R. opted for independence the U.S. would write us off in a heartbeat. We would be in the same economic situation as our Carribean neighbors.

    Honestly speaking I’m not sure what is the solution to Puerto Rico’s status problem. But I am sure if Puerto Ricans come together and search for valid solution to fulfill everyones political beliefs we can succeed.It will take some time but its possible.

  3. RE: economic and historical realities
    My point about digression is that we were supposed to be speaking about our differences and similarities, but continually migrate to this topic. I guess it’s very important to all of us.

    You make a good point on the historical record of the states. However, Puerto Rico has been a US territory for about 100 years and has not lost its language and culture. The examples you cite consisted of territories with very small native populations that were overwhelmed with Anglos. I don’t expect that will ever happen in Puerto Rico, which is already over-populated with native Puerto Ricans. The small number of Anglos that have migrated to the Island have been mostly assimilated into the Puerto Rican culture.

    The reverse is happening in some centers in the US. Our culture has made great inroads here in the New York Metropolitan area and elsewhere. In certain parts of New York it is a liability not being bi-lingual. We have television stations, radio stations (the number one radio station in New York, among both the Anglo and Hispanic stations, is in Spanish, lead by Puerto Rican DJs), and politicians (which champion Hispanic issues, including those very important to Puerto Rico). In Miami it is not uncommon to see signs that say “English Spoken Here” rather than “Se Habla Espanol”. Hispanics are the largest growing ethnic group in the US. Why is so bad to be affiliated with the most powerful nation on Earth?

    You continue to suggest that a small minority will rule the day. This is very dangerous talk and leads to so-called revolutionaries that can’t convince a majority of their ideals and then take matters into their own hands. Your analogy to the American revolution is totally inappropriate, as the English citizens living in the American colonies could not organize political opposition without being subject to the wrath of the English crown. Puerto Ricans have the freedom to organize political parties and actually vote on the issue of independence. There is no need for a revolution. All you have to do is come up with a convincing argument, convince the Puerto Rican citizens of the merits of this argument, and bingo you have independence. Unlike the choice of Statehood, if Puerto Rico votes for independence, there is no question that the American Congress will have very little choice but to grant their wish. Are you suggesting that the people are not smart enough to make an informed choice?

    The problem, as I see it, is that current arguments for independence do not have much merit, particularly as it relates to economics. That is why the Puerto Rican people have been hesitant to choose independence. Independence is a great ideal, but you cannot go headlong into an experiment that has not worked elsewhere (Santo Domingo and Cuba), without a sound economic plan. Again, I cite the economic cycles that occur in Puerto Rico, with dramatic increases in unemployment, which get siphoned off by Puerto Ricans getting on a plane to the US. Why do suppose there are about as many Puerto Ricans living in the US as in Puerto Rico? We didn’t all decide to move here because we love the weather. It’s been the result of repeated economic downturns which has forced many of us to seek relief in the US. I cannot emphasize this enough. How many other countries can say that approximately 50% of their population has left over the last 50 years. This is a reality! It is not some lofty theoretical argument. I have had the misfortune of seeing the hopelessness in the eyes of the people that are either unemployed or under-employed, first hand. This is the true life and death question. Your culture and heritage you can retain anywhere and under any circumstances, as the Jews have demonstrated despite being scattered all over the world for over 2000 years.

    It’s easy to make a romantic slogan of nationhood, its another to come up with a platform of rational goals. Don’t get me wrong, if there is a way to do it, then fine, but let’s hear it. The independence movement will never get off the ground until it develops this plan. All the rhetoric on romantic notions will not convince people, who have grown accustomed to first world living standards, to change the status quo. This is abundantly obvious from the results of the plebiscites, with the independence movement showing dismal voting results.

    Regarding the import duties, please check the facts. The majority of import duties are from the government of Puerto Rico. They are a large revenue producer for the Island. These revenues fund many of the social programs to shore up the economically dis-advantaged people that I speak about, but that chose to remain in the Island either unemployed or under-employed.

    One potential argument is that the tax abatement programs for American industries that were the underpinning of Operation Bootstrap are rapidly on their way out. Someone I work with who used to work in the pharmaceutical industry has told me that this industry will likely phase out many of their operations in Puerto Rico over the very near term. There is no incentive for them to remain on the Island, when they can get much cheaper labor abroad. The federal tax abatement program made all the difference. The only way to have tax abatement programs in the future is to become independent. Through independence we can continue to attract foreign investment because the Island has relatively low labor rates and has the benefit of a highly educated population.

    People in the Island understand the impact of Operation Bootstrap has had on the economy of the Island and will likely listen intently to any program brought forth to replace it. This is just an example of a rational economic idea that can be put forth to the people. I’m sure that there are many more. Let’s hear them.

  4. Read a little more history or for starters…
    why don’t you check out the timeline in LA PATRIA section of this website. It’s about the anti-colonial struggle of Puerto Rico. You might even be interested in Las Carpetas, a very good scholarly collection of essays dealing with political represssion and surveillance in Puerto Rico. They are both eye openers. But be this as it may. I will tell you a very big difference between Puerto Ricans– whether on the mainland Puerto Rico or abroad in the United States–some of us are fearlessly independent and others would rather live in the shadow of a giant so long as there’s a comfortable rock to crawl under.

  5. RE: Read a little more history or for starters…

    I read them. I’ sure I’ll find lots of oppression by the US in those references. However, fearlessness is OK as long as it’s not recklessness. What I’m suggesting is that we proceed with caution, with a rational plan, and with the majority of the people behind us. We have that ability to proceed with Independence, if the majority of Puerto Ricans can be convinced it’s a viable option. There are very few impediments now to this option, as the US Congress and the President have already endorsed this option if the people chose to do so. Consequently, it is not the so called imperialists that are holding up going to independence, it is the approximately 98% of Puerto Ricans that voted against it. Now, why is that? Are they being deceived by the “imperialists”? Or, is it that they haven’t heard any convincing arguments from the proponents of independence.

    Our continued focus on attacking the US is misdirected. We already have our ducks in a row (the US Congress and the President). The Independence movement has to spend more time working on a viable plan that they can sell to the Puerto Rican people, as they are now the one’s that are rejecting it.

    Independence does not have any chance of becoming a reality, given the current lack of support of this idea by the people. And, this lack of support is from some of the most politically active people in the world. Puerto Rico can take pride in having one of the highest voter registration and voter turnout records in the world.


  6. RE: RE: Read a little more history or for starters…
    It’s not a matter of not attacking or defending the “kind and goodly” American imperialists. It’s a matter of setting the record straight. There are many things you say that are gross distortions of the truth and are basically opinion rather than fact. This is what we are “looking” at or “examining.” I wouldn’t use the word “attacking.” You make assumptions about historical processes without really exhibiting any real understanding of them. A rational plan–name three countries that set out to become independent with a rational plan. Just name three of them. To make observations such as I am making is not to say that there isn’t a direction, a tendency, an outlived mode of being and a new one already emerging. That is not to say, throw caution to the wind. You set up straw men to knock down. The United Nations protocol for decolonization involves first establishing a period of independence and then setting up an election in which those in the country and those who were forced to leave because of their country’s colonial condition, as well as those born abroad if they wish to, participate. It is then that a more unbiased election can be held either for independence, statehood or continued colony.

  7. To continue
    Also, who are “some of the most politically active people in the world” who do not support Puerto Rican independence. And how are they politically active? Meaning what are their politics? And why should we care what others think or want for us, rather than what we think and want for ourselves. Beyond this, how do you know that there is a current lack of support for independence. How do you know this? I can name several politically active people who support Puerto Rican independence. Who are also venerated or highly respected in Puerto Rico: Juan Mari Bras, El Topo, Lolita Lebron, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Ruben Berios, etc. Many intellectuals and artists, if not most, support independence for Puerto Rico. But truly, I would like to know the people you are referring to. Please give us some names.

  8. RE: To continue
    You cite a handful of people and believe that this shows a groundswelling of support. These are indeed well known, respected, and politically active people, but their message is apparently not being supported by the masses of the people, or 98% of the voters would not have rejected it. The people I am referring to are the 98% that voted against it. Is this just my opinion, or is it a reality (by the way, my number of 98% is an approximation, it could be 95%, I don’t remember the exact count on the last plebiscite)?

    My point about the political activity in Puerto Rico is that the people are not passive spectators like their Puerto Rican counterparts in the States. From my own personal experience, they are well informed, they have strong opinions, and they make choices. Thus, despite decades of political oppression by the US they are still out there exercising their political will.

    Let’s assume for a moment that the plebiscite had come in with 98% in favor of independence. Would we ignore this outcome? Of course not. The people you cited above would take hold of this and run to the US Congress demanding independence immediately.

    I guess your idea is to force a political status on the people that they don’t want and then have them decide afterward? I’m not sure I understand this concept.

    I respect your opinion and your passion for independence. My father has similar views. He came here to live many years ago and was treated with contempt. He swallowed his pride, saved his money, and returned to his beloved Island. He is still very bitter and is now a passionate independista. He forgets that he left the Island because he was out of work and that he came here and learned a profitable trade and made good money. This real world economic option is what has allowed him to live comfortably. So, it is a complex association with have with the US. We love to hate it, but often need it in times of trouble.

    Your right, much of what I say is just opinion. But, it’s based on real life experiences of family and friends that have lived through the economic downturns that have influenced so much of our history. However, if you look up any contemporary history book on Puerto Rico, you’ll see that this economic situation is not just my personal opinion. The books, however, need to be devoid of a political agenda, just straight facts about what has been happening, both the good and the bad.

    I’ve enjoyed this forum discussion, although we have strayed a bit from the topic. I’ll let you have the last word.



  9. you’re a nice guy
    You’re a nice guy, but…As far as finding work and all that. I don’t think this is too great an argument for a country to be swallowed up by another. I think it’s good that you can go to another country and work there. In fact, I think it’s great to be able to go to many different places to work, if you have that opportunity or desire or need. I don’t think, however, that this is a reason for one country to control another–or to absorb it. Although, it accounts why people have basically sold out Puerto Rico. Let’s call a spade a spade. People who are willing to sell out their country for a job–that’s what we’re looking at when you describe this “economic situation.” Don’t forget that PR still has exorbitantly high unemployment and that over 45% of the people receive some sort of U.S. government subsidy. So you are quite accurate in explaining an electorate which hangs by its master which feeds it.

  10. This reminds me
    I was in Mount Sinai Hospital, in the emergency room, and a man of about thirty–un puertorriqueño–was placed next to my mother’s bed. He said that he wanted Puerto Rico to become a state because here, in New York, he was collecting welfare and food stamps and–although he could get food stamps in Puerto Rico–he was having problems getting his welfare check on the island. This was his reason for wanting Puerto Rico to become a state.

  11. RE: you

    Thanks. Here is a healthy dose of reality:

    Data extracted on: November 13, 1999 (07:33 AM)

    Local Area Unemployment Statistics

    Series Catalog:

    Series ID : LASST43000003

    Seasonally Adjusted

    Area Type : State

    Area Name : PUERTO RICO

    Measure : unemployment rate


    Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Ann

    1989 14.9 13.7 14.4 14.2 14.4 14.7 15.2 14.9 15.1 15.4 14.5 14.1 0.0

    1990 14.2 13.6 14.1 14.9 11.5 14.1 13.7 14.5 14.4 15.0 14.6 15.4 0.0

    1991 14.7 16.0 15.4 16.3 15.9 16.5 15.6 16.2 15.9 15.7 16.7 17.0 0.0

    1992 17.1 17.4 16.9 16.4 16.9 16.3 17.4 15.8 17.0 16.1 16.2 16.2 0.0

    1993 16.9 17.6 17.3 17.0 17.3 16.8 17.2 17.7 16.7 16.9 16.6 16.3 0.0

    1994 16.4 15.7 15.1 14.8 13.8 14.4 14.1 14.0 13.9 14.3 14.3 13.9 0.0

    1995 13.5 13.1 13.8 13.8 13.5 13.4 14.1 13.2 13.8 14.6 13.5 13.8 0.0

    1996 13.6 13.2 12.9 13.7 14.5 15.0 13.7 13.9 13.5 12.8 12.3 11.4 0.0

    1997 12.4 12.9 13.1 13.7 13.6 13.9 13.9 13.3 13.1 13.5 14.0 14.4 0.0

    1998 14.3 14.1 13.6 13.4 13.0 13.0 12.9 12.9 13.4 14.0 13.1 12.4

    1999 12.6 12.7 12.9 11.0 11.1 10.8 10.3 11.8 11.7

    These numbers are pretty scary, don’t you think? Despite Puerto Rico going through an economic boom in recent times, unemployment is still around 11-12%. Look at the numbers during an economic downturn, around 1992-1993, in the range of 16 to 17%. That’s even more scary.

    Prior to Operation Bootstrap in the 1950’s unemployment was much higher in the 20 to 40% range. During the 1950’s there was a net loss 500,000 people who left the Island. Among those were much of my immediate family. During the 1960’s, this trend continued. It was only during the 1970’s that there was a net reverse migration back to the Island.

    We are very mobile. The labor statistics I listed above do not account for many of us who get on a plane and come here to the US when unemployment is very high. This is cited in some history texts as “an excape valve.” This excape valve levels off the unemployment rate on the Island. Without this excape valve the unemployment rate back in the 1992-1993 which was 16 to 17%, could have easily been much higher. Our brothers in Santo Domingo don’t have this option and are plagued with chronic unemployment and poverty rates much higher than ours.

    By the way these statistics are about working people, not those on government assistance. When you are on government assistance for a long period you are dropped from the ranks of the unemployed.

    You can all interpret these number any way you want. I thought it was important to look at some real facts.



  12. Statehood Issue
    I found a very disturbing article while surfing the web. It’s a bit dated, but you may want to read it. The author:

    JORGE AMSELLE – Communications Director for the Washington-based Center for Equal Opportunity.

    Tile: State ‘Hood

    Web Site: http://www.nationalreview.com/11aug97/amselle081197.html

    By the title alone, his aim is to offend. He concludes that the US should cede PR back to Spain.

    Anybody run across this guy before? He has an ax to grind against us.

  13. Some Interesting Reading – Differences
    Check this paper out:


    Christina Ortíz: My Puerto Rican Identity

    It appears she went (is going?) to Albany State. I also went to college in upstate NY (Troy, NY) and relate to many of the issues she raises in her paper. I remember going to a Ray Barretto concert at Albany State and seeing him almost getting booed off the stage because during that time he was not playing latin music anymore. This was during his “cross over” period. For many of us, it was the first time we were out of our Puerto Rican communities and we longed to hear our music again.

    Her paper appears to be right on point with the topic of the forum.

  14. Stereotypes
    I am a student at the University of Florida studying the effects and interactions of different cultures in the United States. I am not Puerto Rican, but I am interested in the culture. I have been following some of your discussions on the differences between Puerto Ricans in the United States and those in Puerto Rico. As Puerto Ricans (in either location), what stereotypes to you face on a daily basis? Are they true or not? Where do they come from? What do you want people from other cultures to know about Puerto Rico and its people? This is your opportunity to be heard . . . I look forward to everyone’s response.


  15. Help
    Hello Everyone

    My name is Ketsia Fortune, I am a student at Brooklyn College (Brooklyn NY.I’m currently enrolled in Puertorican study course (core 9). My teacher Has assigned us to read an article about Puerto Rico. The objective of the project tends to compare and contrast what I read with what I learned in class. I’m having a hard time finding an article that would allow me to do so. if someone can help me with the assignement please feel free to write me at my e-mail adress: ketsiaf@hotmail.com
    I hope to hear from you soon……
    Love ketty.

  16. RE: Stereotypes
    This is something from a Nuyorican:

    One common stereotype is a racial one. We often hear “he (or she) doesn’t look Puerto Rican.” We are a racial mixture of European whites (mostly Spaniards), native Taino Indians, and black Africans. We span the racial spectrum across these racial types. Many of us are racial hybrids such as mulatos and mestizos. But some of us are predominantly of one racial type, typically either Caucasian or black African.

    Those of us that are very European looking or African looking are often the ones singled out as not “looking Puerto Rican.” When I tell some non-Hispanic people that my grandfather was a black man, they often respond by asking if he was originally from the US. I’ll respond “No, his racial ancestry was from Africa.” Then I’ll hear, “Oh, then he was not Puerto Rican.” Again I’ll try to explain, “Yes he was very much so Puerto Rican.” The concept of racial diversity seems to elude them.

    If they see a red-headed, freckled faced Puerto Rican we can go through a series of similar questions and responses. I would have to explain that certain regions in Spain were peopled by ancient Celtic tribes, often referred to as the Celtiberians, which accounts for this racial characteristic that is manifested in some of us.

    We take great pride in our racial diversity. We draw strength from the cultural and racial contributions of each group.


  17. Differences
    Having been raised in New York til the age of 13 and lived in PR long enough to receive my BA I believe there are differences depending on the social economic class of the people you compare.

    Admás, depende de donde uno viva. Las personas del campo tienden a ser personas más humildes que las personas del área metropolitana.

    What I observed is that puertorricans from New York are more outspoken, less timid and more brash than persons born and raised on the island. In P.R. we use > and > denoting respect. Girls are treated differantly on the island also. Women tend to be more assertive in N.Y. This is of course, a generalization that doesn’t apply to everyone.

    Tambien es cierto que hay una percepción de que los que vivimos en New York somos diferentes a los de la isla. Tanto es así, que cuando yo visitaba a mil familia en el campo las personas se sorprendían de lo “buena y tranquila” que yo era. Igualmente fue con mis hijos. Perciben a los neyoricans como personas sin respeto y raperos que no somos de allá.

    I for one live comfortably in both worlds and can relate to both.


  18. RE: Stereotypes
    Well, Puerto Ricans from the island don’t face stereotypes from other people or if others attempt to stereotype them, it doesn’t really carry much weight since these would be in the minority. Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico are in their own country and–thank God–make up the majority of the population. What makes stereotypes most destructive is when a majority holds them about a minority. Having said this, I know that Puerto Ricans want to be known for the amount of talent that that tiny island generates. People are slowly becoming aware of this. I was just talking with Rafael Tufiño and he was remaking about this himself–he is one of Puerto Rico’s finest artists. It’s quite amazing, really. And yet, in the U.S. people have the misconception, the stereotyped view of us as being–Well, you can fill in the blank. In the U.S., Puerto Ricans and those of Puerto Rican heritage confront prejudice that has been damaging. Just look at the problems our children face. And look at the devastation in our communities. In spite of this, many Puerto Ricans stateside have succeeded and given back to our communities. Those of us who have done well must give back to our communities. I hope this helps you a little with your research.

  19. RE: Help
    You should go to the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College (East 68th Street and Park Avenue). They have a reference library and several librarians who can really help you. What your professor is asking of you is relatively easy. Don’t get too stressed out over it. Really go to the Centro–you’ll be amazed at how helpful and down to earth everyone is there. Bring your class notes with you. I know they will really help you a great deal.

    You can take the IRT #6 to East 68th Street and you’re right there.

  20. RE: Statehood Issue
    Hey, what do you expect? He writes for the National Review, the William F. Buckley conservative rag. They equate us with anything and everything that is wrong with this country. We’re a foreign element that desperately clings to its culture and language and as long as Puerto Rico exists with its own culture, language and identity, they will want to keep away from us. The U.S. basically sees us as real estate. They want the islands, not us. It’s an old and tired history. Don’t lose sleep over this guy–just send your comments.

  21. Our time has come!
    Hello everyone. I am a New York born American of Puerto Rican and Italian parents. I think that our time has come as an ethnic group to stand out for our positive contributions to American society. Puerto Rican Americans are contributing so much to American culture in education, science, the arts and athletics. Our stamp on popular culture is well known (i.e. Jaun Gonzalez, Ivan Rodrigues baseball MVP’s, Rick Martin,Jenifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Jimmy Smits actors and singers, Geraldo Rivera in media, Joseph Unanue and the Ferre Family in Florida in Business) but our contributions in other fields are not as well known. How many people know that we have over 200 scientists working for the NASA Space Agency? How about our Educational leaders at Universities throughout the country? America is benefitting from the current “Brain Drain” that has thousands of college graduates from Puerto Rico immigrating to The States every Year. I think that it is time for our community to continue its positive advance and each and every one of us Puerto Rican Americans who are educated and successful should contribute in some way to advancing this cause.

  22. RE: RE: diferencias
    Relax, Jose. You are facing many misconceptions by few anti American racists. Believe it or not, statehood will bring about a monumental increase in Puerto Rican awareness and appreciation, throughout the entire nation. But as of now, 95% of our people defend our culture and our American citizenship and they are more than willing to “reach accross the ocean.”
    Bear in mind that in this Island we have many different cultural traits and nobody is asking anybody to change them.

  23. RE: RE: RE: diferencias
    By all means, when Puerto Rico acquires full American citizenship as a state, you guys will receive a monumental boost in your Puerto Rican ego. This subject has been studied extensively by PR senate candidate Dr. Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer.

  24. RE: RE: economic and historical realities
    It has been extensively proven that the effects of Operation Bootstrap were grossly exagerated. In independence, why would any company settle in PR unless you bring our salaries down to those of the Dominican Republic? Forget it, statehood is inevitable.

  25. RE: RE: To continue
    Based on all the studies I have made on these subjects, your opinion, Jose, is very well embeded in reality.

  26. RE: you
    Which country will absorb Puerto Rico? Texas? California? Maine? New York? Alaska? Hawaii?

  27. RE: RE: What are some of the similarities, then?
    Me parece que elegba debe ser mas cuidadosa en expresar situaciones con exactitud. En la Nacion en Marcha no se agrupo “todo el pueblo,” como ella reclama. Otra marcha paralela ocurrio a muy cercana distancia, con la caracteristica que era mucho mas grande. Esa marcha era de los estadistas.
    Tambien debo añadir que el sentimiento nacionalista es mas ruido que otra cosa. Apenas en Diciembre en el plebiscito voto menos del 3% por todas las formulas de independencia juntas. La estadidad lofro un 47%.

  28. RE: RE: Bellyaching or calling a spade a spade?
    You will never see a solution as long as the colonialists here in the Island vote for Ninguna de Las Anteriores!

  29. RE: Differences

    Thanks for bringing us back to the forum topic.

    You brought back a sad memory for me. When I was attending college, the hispanic students on campus formed a group to foster our common interests. One of the activities we started was a welcoming of newly arrived hispanic students to the university. One young lady from Puerto Rico would have none of it, however. She went out of her way to avoid us. I guess she felt we were beneath her, all those low class Nuyoricans, with their loud music and crass ways. She came from a well to do family in Puerto Rico, in the banking industry. I was rudely introduced into something I had never experienced before, class differences amomg us.

    This young lady was much more confortable among anglos of her moneyed class, than Puerto Ricans of a lower class. She went through 4 years of college without interacting with us at all.

    I was always under the impression that one of our best cultural traits was how we tend to embrace all comers, good, bad, or whatever. I guess that doesn’t apply all the time.


  30. RE: RE: Statehood Issue

    Thanks. That explains it. I thought perhaps he had some deep-seated resentment for us brought about by some PR beating the sh__t out of him when he was a boy. Well, actually, that may still be the case.

    Take care,


  31. RE: RE: RE: economic and historical realities

    How would statehood address your concern about the salary disparity between P.R. and the Dominican Republic?
    Does statehood make Puerto Rico a more attractive option on the issue of wages than the Dominican Republic?
    Salary aside, what economic incentives would inure to the island’s benefit upon statehood, such that it would attract the business community?

    Conversely, what are the disincentives under the current order, that would be solved by Statehood?

  32. RE: RE: RE: RE: economic and historical realities

    Puerto Rico is a good place for American industry because they get a well educated work force at much lower wage rates than the rest of the US. They were also paying reduced federal taxes, which has made it highly attractive to set up shop in the Island.

    Since the federal tax abatement programs are being phased out, something has to be done — and soon. Perhaps being a state would allow PR to lower local taxes as an incentive, since much of local social services and many other programs that are now funded by Puerto Rican taxes would have to be picked up by the equivalent federal programs. This wouldn’t be a hand out by the federal government, since Puerto Ricans on the Island would be paying federal income taxes.

    Someone indicated that the affects of Operation Bootstrap were over estimated. I didn’t know that the statistics were in debate. But I can tell you that many members of my family were direct beneficiaries of this program. Working in the fabricas has allowed many of them to tremendously upgrade their standard of living. My grandfather worked in the sugar cane fields all of his life and died destitute. In contrast, all of his children have done well, many of whom to this day still work in fabricas brought forth by Operation Bootstrap. There are countless stories in my family about the economic transformation that this program had on the daily lives of ordinary working people.

  33. RE: RE: diferencias
    Firstly, Mexican Americans are different from Mexicans, and Cuban Americans are different from Cubans. Secondly, Puerto Rican Americans are different from Puerto Ricans. This isn’t just semantical, it’s a very concrete reality. Thirdly, the gnawing question of Puerto Rico’s status is not profoundly important to both Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rican Americans to the extent that they are connected to their families on the island and the culture of the island which is separate and distinct from that of Puerto Rican Americans. Check out the section of this site on NUYORICAN CINEMA and you’ll see that Nuyoricans are distinctly different from Puerto Ricans (born and raised on the island). There is a different sensibility and emotional life. Our historical and cultural references are completely different. We learn Shakespeare here, they study Cervantes. It is very easy to overlook all of this when you are ignorant of it. Being ignorant, however, will not make these differences disappear.

    Also, your whole way of looking at the problem of Puerto Rico is from a North American perspective–albeit a Puerto Rican American. You consider being Puerto Rican an ethnicity, not a nationality. This is really unfortunate since it is inaccurate and ahistorical. Before there was a Puerto Rican American, there was a Puerto Rican. The old economic argument is well-taken, however, as some Puerto Ricans from Puerto Rico say: “La Patria no se vende.”

  34. RE: RE: RE: RE: diferencias
    This doctor you refer to, no doubt, supports statehood. As the Ferre family all do. You do the good doctor an injustice in saying that having full American citizenship will boost the Puerto Rican ego. Just the opposite–and our people’s pattern of behavior is the most eloquent testimony to this. It is not by embracing American culture, money, government, food stamps that the Puerto Rican ego is boosted. It is by embracing Puerto Rican culture, history and politics that a true and positive sense of self is developed. What you propose is embarassingly self-destructive and self-defeating for our people who comprise a culture and a nation. I believe for you–because you are a Puerto Rican American, you should continue to assimilate and remember us as your very distant relatives. Que Dios te bendiga y te perdone.

  35. RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: economic and historical realities

    Thank you for your response. However, I don’t believe that you addressed the questions I posited. You certainly presented an argument in favor of the status quo (actually the status quo ante, since the IRS tax break has now been eliminated.)


    – Currently, if Puerto Rico can offer a job force whose payrate is lower than that offered by the 50 states, how would statehood preserve this advantage?

    – if you argue that as a state, Puerto Rico could possily offer lower local tax rates as a business incentive, what prevents Puertio Rico from legislating such incentives now?

    – additionally, anticipating that you may argue that lowering local tax rates would constrict spending on social services, the U.S. government is already the primary obligor on transfer payments. Therefore, if the feds already occupy the position as primary funder of social services, what relief from social service spending could Puerto Rico anticipate as a 51st state?

    I look forward to your reply.

  36. RE: RE: RE: RE: diferencias
    Why are we even considering statehood??? Are we that dependent on the U.S. that we can’t be independent? Why does the thought of departing from the grip of Uncle Sam scare so many of us? It doesn’t make any sense.

    Do we realize that in the course of “industrializing” Puerto Rico, many of her natural resources and/or natural crops were destroyed? Puerto Ricans certainly didn’t do that. The U.S. did that.

    I digress. My point is not to bash the U.S. I’m merely suggesting that Puerto Rico and the U.S. can remain allies and closely associated by other means. Commonwealth has NOT worked. And, NEITHER will statehood.

    And, please don’t bring up Cuba or the Dominican Republic. Many will argue that we’ll end up like one of these island nations. I beg to differ. I think we are a highly skilled and educated people. What about island nations such as Japan? Ireland? Australia? Need I go on……Remember that Cuba and the Dominican Republic were and are faced with different circumstances. So, let’s stop comparing ourselves to them and their fate.

    More importantly, what about our Puerto Rican culture?? We ARE going to lose our sense of identity if we become a state. Look at the plight of Hawaii. There’s a movement there to secede from the U.S. Why? Because native Hawaiians didn’t benefit one iota with stathood. In fact, they’re second class citizens in their own country!!!! Mainland Americans (non-Hawaiians) gained from statehood. So, why do we expect to benefit?

    Puerto Rico already has a tremendously high unemployment rate. In fact, I think it’s higher than the U.S. unemployment rate during the height of its Great Depression. That’s insane. Why? Because there are no jobs in Puerto Rico. A lot was lost when Rosello and his pro-statehood puppets decided to end tax-exemption status to so many American business with plants in Puerto Rico. And this was done to show the U.S., namely Congress, that we too can be a state. Wrong! It backfired big time. And, as a result of no jobs, many educated Puerto Ricans have left the island to work in the U.S. [That’s one of the reasons many Puerto Ricans work for NASA.]

    If Puerto Rico were independent,we undoubtedly would be the prize jewel of the Caribbean. We’re experts in many fields, highly educated, and a hardworking people.

    So I implore and beg all Puerto Ricans who believe that stathood is the answer to all Puerto Rico’s woes, to get your minds out of the sand. We’re experiencing a welfare of the mind. It’s time for therapy.


  37. Jose, you are mistaken
    You are mistaken in saying that statehood would not lead to the loss of
    Puerto Rico’s language and culture.

    You are mistaken in your assessment of
    the economic trading that goes on with
    other nations. Puerto Rico does not
    negotiate treaties, just as other states
    do not. And trade is limited by the U.S
    relation to the trading partner-
    therefore, meeting U.S. needs, not
    Puerto Rico’s needs.

    You are mistaken in viewing the safety
    valve situation as resolving any
    economic dislocation in Puerto Rico.
    Puerto Rico’s economy is completely
    linked to the U.S. and is basically
    riding American vicissitudes, not its own.

    You are mistaken in thinking Puerto Rico
    can not place its own economic house in
    order but must depend on the U.S. to
    keep it in some semblance

  38. RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: diferencias

    You need to check your facts about unemployment. Puerto Rico is currently experiencing the lowest unemployment it has ever had. If you check one my responses on this web, you’ll see the actual statistics, which I posted. It’s still high in comparison to the US (I believe it’s about 11-12%), but several years ago it was as high as 17%. Before Operation Bootstrap it was chronically above 20%, and during some periods prior to 1950 it was in the 40% range. Many people making statements on this forum make statements without the benefit of reading our history and looking into the actual facts. It’s important for all of us study the numbers; they tell a story that is very much at odds with the emotional statements about independence.

    It’s a common joke among some circles: “Don’t confuse me the facts, I’ve already made up my mind.”

  39. Spying on citizens–difference or similarity?
    Secret Dossiers kept by government on Independence supporters


    by Chris Hawley, Associated Press


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP)

    When the Puerto Rican police department released more than 135,000 secret dossiers on suspected independence supporters in 1989, it laid bare a landscape of deception in this U.S. territory.

    Shocked islanders found that friends and co-workers had been spying on them in part of a vast effort to quash anti-U.S. sentiments. Students found themselves unaccountably linked to terrorists. Businessmen and women found evidence that they had been denied jobs and scholarships.

    On Tuesday, after 10 years of legal battles, the government apologized and

    offered $5.7 million to compensate them.

    Many say that’s not enough. “You can’t heal people’s lives so easily,” said Felix Colon Morera, 47, who was stunned when he saw the 1,000-page file on his militant activities during his college days.

    Inside were photos, descriptions of the inside of his house, interviews with neighbors and employers, careful notes from rallies he had attended and comments linking him to a terrorist group of which he says he had never

    heard. The last and most chilling item, filed in 1983, was a picture of his

    newly wed wife.

    “It made you feel like … something in a government laboratory,” Colon said. The surveillance was declared constitutional and the files released

    to their subjects in 1989.

    On Tuesday, Gov. Pedro Rossello offered “a solemn and sincere apology … for the concoction and maintenance of these files.”

    In an attempt to settle lawsuits by thousands of victims, he offered to pay

    $6,000 to each plaintiff with more than 30 pages in their files. Others with more than 30 pages who had expressed interest in suing but have not yet filed claims would receive $3,000.

    The announcement comes amid a surge in nationalistic sentiment fostered by a battle with the U.S. Navy over a bombing range on an outlying Puerto Rican island. President Clinton’s recent release of 11 pro-independence militants jailed for seditious conspiracy has also reopened debate on Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States, which won the island from Spain in 1898.

    Police began collecting information on suspected independence activists after the government passed a 1948 law making it illegal to show the Puerto Rican flag, sing nationalist songs or hold independence rallies.

    It was part of government efforts to rein in radicals as it negotiated its

    current commonwealth arrangement with Washington. Later, FBI-trained agents

    expanded the program to track suspected communists and terrorists.

    The operation was exposed during investigations into an undercover agent’s role in a the police killing of two young independence supporters in 1978.

    “An extraordinary amount of effort went into following people and maintaining these files, and the damage they caused was enormous,” said civil rights lawyer Judith Berkan, whose own dossier contains hundreds of pages.

    Former psychologist Carmen Rios Rivera trembled with anger when she read one typewritten 1972 entry from her dossier: ”Several patients of the psychiatric hospital escaped and the person above was identified as an employee of this institution with separatist tendencies.” Another entry has her boss giving undercover agents permission to watch her.

    “These kinds of implications are shameless,” Rios said. She blames the

    dossier for a string of missed promotions and denied transfers that

    prompted her to quit psychology.

    Thousands of unclaimed files as well as lists of undercover agents, informants and the people who read the dossiers remain sealed in a building in central San Juan.

    Many activists say the surveillance hobbled the independence movement,

    which has won less than 5 percent of votes in recent referendums.

    “The dossiers linked being pro-independence with being a criminal,” said Javier Colon, 43, who wrote a book about the dossiers, including surveillance of him that began when he was 15. “You get the feeling that

    there will always be people who mean well but have an agenda against you,

    and that fear stays with you for the rest of your life.”

    Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.

    All rights reserved

  40. RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: diferencias

    Thanks for the correction. Perhaps I should double or even triple check what I read on the web.

    However, I’m concerned with the way you lightly throw around the 11% – 12% “current” unemployment rate in Puerto Rico. That number in itself is insane! You must admit that 11% is a bit high for a “developed country” with U.S. ties.

    Also, I doubt statehood would solve Puerto Rico’s problems. Independence is the answer.

  41. RE: RE: Stereotypes
    Hi I hope that you can help me. Rafael Tufino is my mother’s ( Sara Martinez Figueroa cousin. Her mother Fransica (Panchita) and Rafael’s mother Tita Goya were sisters. As unfortunately happenes in families they have lost contact. I have been trying to track down his daughter Nitza to whom I haven’t seen or spoken to in many years. Besides my mother my Aunt Juanita (Jenni) would like to know how Rafael and his family are. In your note you mention speaking to him,can you let him know that his family would like to contact him and ask if it would be Ok if you give me information about how to go about this process or you can give him my E- mail address. Thank you in advance for any help that you can give.

  42. U.S. Marine Accused of Rape in Okinawa
    U.S. Marine Accused of Rape in Japan
    Copyright The Associated Press

    TOKYO (AP) – A U.S. Marine has been arrested and accused of trying to rape a Japanese woman at a disco on the Japanese island of Okinawa, police said. Lance Cpl. Oswald McDonald, 29, dragged the woman into a corner of the disco Friday and attempted to sexually assault her, a spokesman for the Okinawa Prefectural police said.
    The woman resisted and the soldier backed off without physically injuring
    her, said the spokesman, who only identified himself by his last name,
    Shimada. The U.S. Marines confirmed the arrest on Friday, but gave no further details. Officials could not immediately provide McDonald’s hometown.

  43. RE: Stereotypes
    Dear Janllelle,

    Hi! My name is George and I am currently a student at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia.I was really pleased to read that you have a vested interest in the Puerto Rican culture; it is one not many care to explore. As a Puerto Rican living on the U.S. mainland, I face many challenges.

    This usually stems from ignorance, lack of a formal education, and sometimes mere stupidity. Most Americans tend to be totally oblivious as to how Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory–Spanish-American War–and its relations with this caribbean island. This lack of knowledge is usually the culprit for polarized relationships, bigotry and stereotypes. I’ve heard a great many talk about Puerto Rico as a Third World country when in fact Puerto Rico has the highest quality of living in all of Central and South America (truism). I also get tired of people not acknowledging our rich cultural heritage by constantly associating us with Mexico. Don’t get me wrong, Mexico has a wonderful people and history, however, our cultures are a bit different. Finally, I hate it when in class I am trying to acerbically argue a point and I hear, “Being from Puerto Rico you speak so well”.


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