Academic Master

Global Politics

Does Puerto Rico need to take action to defend its independence, roots, and culture?

I won’t swear any loyalty to the USA’s Republic and flag. I suspect these words should be from several Puerto Ricans living on the island. These people wish that their country or island would someday free itself and become independent from the US settlement. Puerto Rico has been under US command and control for the past 92 years, and according to historians, it is the last country in South America (Latin America) under US domination (Acosta-Belén and Carlos Enrique Santiago). The people of that country want to get rid of the US control, and they want the right to vote for their government and president. They want their currency and identity. They want to raise their flag on every building. They want to feel the taste of independence instead of being called a commonwealth state. High and mighty nations and countries should not deny the right to smaller nations for their vested interests. Strong nations should help developing nations become independent.

There are several advantages of being democratic and independent. The one major benefit is that the citizens should be able to choose their command in chief. But in the case of Puerto Rico, the people cannot vote to elect their leader because it is a US commonwealth state, the Puerto Ricans can’t vote for their president. In this view, despondency and disappointment are rampant within Puerto Rico’s youth (who are mostly recruited and sent off to fight US wars in several parts of the world). If declared independent, they can elect their leader, members of the assembly/cabinet and governors. These elected leaders will decide the island’s fate but now, instructions from Washington are considered final, and no one can challenge them (Acosta-Belén and Carlos Enrique Santiago). This is why the movement to gain independence is gaining momentum on this small island, and it might be possible it can turn into a massive and violent movement in the future, which could be disastrous to tarnish the US image towards the outer world.

As the struggle is gaining momentum, it has a bad impact on the ability of the Puerto Ricans to export to other countries and carry out the trade. Under US dominance, the US authorities keep a tight eye on the states where they do business. If given independence, Puerto Rico can broaden its economy and enhance its business capacity to a greater extent. It will also enable them to broaden their export market and reduce financial dependency. According to Eric Negron, the Independence Party’s tax advisor, “Puerto Rico has been blessed with many resources, and if it becomes an independent state, Puerto Rico will gain strength, and it can be a breeding ground for foreign investors” (Duany). Being a dominant state, it can’t reap the benefits from its existing resources and Puerto Rico will never become economically independent. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the Puerto Ricans that they should be granted the right to vote and freedom.

Heritage and culture are the pride of nations worldwide as they serve as the backbone of each society.  The nation’s history is reflected in the language just like the people’s DNA. Puerto Rico could face the danger of losing the national language as serves as a commonwealth. Since the discovery by Spanish conquistadors in 1492, the island’s national language has been Spanish.  However, there are concerns about the United States influencing Puerto Rico to change the language to English or make both English and Spanish the national languages. This approach has been adopted by many schools on the island where both languages are taught.

It is seen that there are some benefits for those who are born in Puerto Rico as many of my fellows showed satisfaction from being in the commonwealth.   An important benefit they enjoy is the right to citizenship in America upon birth. Puerto Ricans born on the island are considered American citizens and possess the freedom to enter the mainland of America (Duany).  The status of Puerto Rico as a commonwealth will bring advantages to the coming generations.  The people of this island have been exempted from paying federal taxes and enjoy the aid given by the United States.

The benefits Puerto Rico received from America remained helpful to the island in attaining the development and growth it holds today. Apart from all these perks, the island pays a costly price by attaching words like “commonwealth” and “territory” to it.  A nation’s heritage is important to its people, and no nation is ready to compromise it merely for financial aid and tax exemptions.  Rather, Puerto Rico should retain its independence and operate by conducting economic trade with other countries. This independence would help it stay connected to its heritage by keeping Spanish as the main language for its people and being involved in government matters for the benefit of its people.  Although Puerto Ricans are enjoying many perks, they still need to take steps to stand by their culture, roots, and independence.   They should develop such situations to give importance to the voice of the people living on the island and make Puerto Rico a free, independent nation.

Work Cited

Acosta-Belén, Edna, and Carlos Enrique Santiago. Puerto Ricans in the United States: A contemporary portrait. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2006.

Duany, Jorge. The Puerto Rican nation on the move: Identities on the island and in the United States. Univ of North Carolina Press, 2003.



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