Puerto Rico`s History

Discover the backstory behind Puerto Rico...

An Inside Look of Puerto Rico

By Jose R. Vazquez-Villate

Puerto Rico or the so called  “island of enchantment,” is a place of rich history and culture, where the beaches are as blue as the sky and the summer weather is all year long. Many people think that Puerto Rico is a paradise under the sun and just sipping piña coladas on the beach; but there is so much more. When it comes to its history, it all started when the famous Italian explorer Christopher Columbus arrived on the island in 1493. Many people think that he discovered the island, but there were already indigenous people living in the island called Arawak or “Tainos”. Nevertheless, the Spaniards occupied the island and Puerto Rico became a Spanish colony. It remained as a colony until 1898, when the United States came along and took the island from the Spanish under the treaty of Paris. As a result, Puerto Rico is still a U.S. territory as we speak, were 3.5 million people living on the island are U.S. citizens.  The people of Puerto Rico are classified as second class citizens, because they cannot vote for the president of the U.S. nor have representation in the U.S. congress. It is quite ironic because many people of Puerto Rico have served in the U.S. army since World War I and still the colonial status has not changed.  The people of Puerto Rico have voted in the past that they want statehood and the U.S. congress is not committed to resolve the issue. But as they say, “it is what it is”. - bryantarchway.com

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Ariadna M. Godreau-Aubert

Puerto Ricans on June 11 voted overwhelmingly for statehood, amid concerns that the non-binding plebiscite — the fifth of its kind since the island became a United States territory — was flawed.

Twenty-three percent of registered voters participated in the referendum on an island that normally sees close to 80% voter participation. Coupled with the fact that the option for statehood won with 97% of the vote, this suggested that voters in favor of lessened free association of the status quo—the other two options in addition to statehood—sat out the election.

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, whose party is in favor of statehood as a fix to the island’s long-standing economic problems, now plans to strong-arm the U.S. Congress into action, according to the New York Times. He will now appoint five representatives and two senators to show up in Washington and ask for their rightful seats. Skepticism remains about the whether or not Congress will take action on these results. “I think it’s a useless exercise, because we have seen that the Trump administration and Congress have not showed the slightest interest in the process itself, much less the will of the people of Puerto Rico,” Nestor Duprey, a political analyst, told the Times. - teenvogue.com

The Historical Exclusion Behind the Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Crisis

Congress could help the territory by simply funding its Medicaid system the way they fund the states.

Vann R. Newkirk II

Puerto Rico just hit another debt deadline.

At midnight on Monday, a year-long moratorium on lawsuits from the island’s creditors will expire, which many forecasters project might worsen a developing financial catastrophe on the island, as at least a dozen creditors are expected to sue and tie up more territorial funds. Things took a turn for the worst last weekend, when bondholders rejected a restructuring agreement for much of Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt obligation, but the picture brightened a bit Sunday evening, when Congress signaled it had reached a budget deal to avoid a government showdown that provided almost $300 million in Medicaid funds to the island. Territory officials and a debt restructuring board installed by Congress last year hope the funding will ease some of the pressure as they consider whether to launch into a massive bankruptcy process and increasing austerity measures. Meanwhile, protesters took to the streets in San Juan.

As a consequence of emigration, Puerto Rico is aging rapidly, and more and more of the people left behind on the island are older and sicker or younger and dependent. Doctors are leaving en masse as well. The three predicaments—budget, health, and demographic—in essence form a runaway feedback loop, one that at its most dramatic might end in depopulation, a major public-health emergency, and a fiscal point of no return. - theatlantic.com

Forgotten archives reveal street-level impact of 1918 Puerto Rico earthquake and tsunami

"Repair petitions filed in the wake of the 1918 Puerto Rico earthquake and tsunami, stored and forgotten in the San Juan archives for nearly 100 years, are giving scientists a house-by-house look at the damage wrought by the magnitude 7.3 event.

In the journal Seismological Research Letters, seismologists Roland LaForge and William McCann describe how they used the records to trace the impact of the earthquake in Aguadilla, the town closest to the 1918 epicenter.

The researchers combed through handwritten and often heartbreaking petitions for funds to repair homes battered or washed away by the tsunami, or damaged by earthquake ground shaking. Together, the data provide a "pretty accurate picture to find out where the damage was, and how far the tsunami made it inland," said LaForge.

At the south end of town, in particular, the tsunami's three to four meter- high mark could be determined from repair petitions from houses closely clustered together—where some homes reported wave damage and some were untouched by the waves." - phys.org

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