The Governance Template of Puerto Rico
There is very little recorded history of Puerto Rico before the Spanish colonialist arrived. It is therefore difficult to understand why the people of this land accept foreign rule without any murmur of protest. Medieval cruelty can explain why Europeans were able to subjugate Aleutian and other native communities in the Americas, but why do people of Puerto Rico accept their subservient status with the United States in this day and age?
It is not as though there is a dictator bought over as in Pakistan, or that there is the full integration and equal rights as in Hawaii. Puerto Rico may provide cheap labor and serve as a great vacation destination where you do not need to change dollars, but are these guys part of thee family or not? The gains for Washington are clear, but what does Puerto Rico get out of it?
Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S. So why does its Resident Representative not get to vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, and what does the title Resident Representative really mean? Could he or she not just be addressed as Senator? The U.S. President is the Chief of State of Puerto Rico. So why are residents of the territory not allowed to vote for this office? Why do the people of Puerto Rico elect a Governor and not their own sovereign Government? Does the U.S. have an equal share of this pie or what?
Puerto Rico is an important role model for the people of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and indeed for the entire Hispanic world struggling to choose between alternate models of affiliation, ideology, and choice. Is the Puerto Rico model of surrendering political independence for dollars the best path for a bright future? Since excellence in all levels of education distinguishes Puerto Rico, it would be interesting to know the rationale of academicians in the territory regarding the future status of their wards! President Bush has a frequently avowed commitment to spreading democracy in the world, so why not start with unincorporated territories? What a wonderful sign off for 8 years in office if Puerto Rico could be set free!