Puerto Rico

report 2018

The invisible island

The archipelago of Puerto Rico is part of the Caribbean, is owned by the United States as an unincorporated territory, or better defined as a colony, since 1898, and is populated by people who theoretically possess US citizenship. It is a people in resistance to the processes of assimilation and to the process of colonization, its resistance manifested in its use of the Spanish language and in its Caribbean social- cultural structures. The systemic issues that we face in the economy and society are due to our colonial condition that imposes foreign agendas and a model of dependent capitalism and industrialization by invitation. The island adopts policies for accelerated economic growth based on foreign investment- that is, industrialization by invitation, and in the production of goods for export, that is, dependent capitalism.

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From Puerto Rico, the women's organization Cohitre also describes a “colonial condition that imposes agendas foreign to our people”. In September 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the island, destroying 70,000 homes and collapsing its electric network (still not completely restored), its transport system, hospitals and fuel and food supplies.

The catastrophic effects are sharpened by the absence of political powers -the island is a US 'unincorporated territory' since 1898- and the control of its finances by a US-imposed Fiscal Control Board, due to its indebtedness. “The diversion of funds to pay off public debt, adjustment plans, austerity measures, the reduction of the public sector and privatization has compromised the government's capacity to respond to the crisis” while “the response of the US government is slow, erratic and centralized” and “the US Congress has shown no rush to provide aid to Puerto Rico, given the debate over corruption and how to manage the funds”.

Reports from Puerto Rico

2018 - The invisible island


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