Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Celebrating Independence

With much pomp and circumstance, Puerto Rico celebrated America's 235th birthday complete with fireworks and cultural activities in the Condado section of San Juan. For most on the island, as with their counterparts on the mainland, July 4th is a day to grill and to spend at the beach. Although Puerto Rico is a U.S territory, you'd be hard-pressed to find a flying American flag, with the exception of federal buildings and some federally-funded infrastructure projects. The festivities of the Fourth is in many ways a much politicized event, one which is more widely celebrated in the PNP (the pro-statehood party) circle. For most boricuas, the U.S is mostly viewed as a foreign country. The majority see the island as having closer cultural ties to Spain rather than to the U.S. Needless to say, those who support the PIP (the pro-indpendence party) see the island's July 4th celebrations as outlandish.

As many countries in Latin America (the latest is Venezuela) have been commemorating their bicentennial anniversary of independence from Spain, Puerto Rico is the only place in the region which has been excluded. This is obviously nothing shocking, as the island is not considered to be a sovereign country, but a U.S colony. In a BBC Mundo article titled "Puerto Rico: el país sin bicentenario" (translation: "Puerto Rico: the Country Without a Bicentennial"), it explores the complexities of the status issue. No official date has been set, but Gov. Fortuño and his PNP ilk have been pushing for another referendum vote on the island's political status. President Obama has vowed to support the outcome, whether it be statehood, the status-quo ("commonwealth") or independence. If the past is any indication of the future, and obviously this doesn't always hold true, the island remains very much split on this topic.

One of the predominant reasons for this divisiveness is pure economics. Until Puerto Rico can truly obtain a dynamic economy, and survive without receiving a single penny from the U.S treasury, it will continue to observe the declaration of independence of its colonizer. Imagine an adolescent being thrown out of his parents' home without the financial wherewithal to support himself. This year, the official Fourth of July activities were held at the Condado Lagoon, site of the re-inauguration of the Dos Hermanos Bridge, which was partially built with federal funding. I suppose the venue befits the occasion.


reinaldo said...

I disagree, Baby Boomers white America consider Puerto Rico like a foreign nation, they dont cosider puertorrican veterans one of them but things will change when white America becomes the next bigest minirity group in one generation from now Que viva la Hispanidad

Reinaldo said...

I disagree a little bit. Most white babyboomers see Puerto Rico as a foreign nation.They dont consider puertorrican veterans one of them.But the good thing is everything change for for the best.I donf fell like an outsider anymore.Continental USA is more diverse than in the past.Well see a US President from PR sometime in the future