+Postage Due+Hispanics in USA

Luis Vazquez (71702.2275@COMPUSERVE.COM)
Sun, 5 Dec 1993 18:02:55 EST

Though I'd better forward to the ANTHRO list my response to Carter Pate in
regards to his questions about Puerto Rico, for the benefit of those who
may have been following the "Hispanics in USA" thread.

-------- Forwarded Message --------

Subject: +Postage Due+Hispanics in USA
Date: 03-Dec-93 at 22:54
From: Luis Vazquez, 71702,2275


Although not an anthropologist or otherwise a scholar of any sort, as a
Puerto Rican, however, I can probably contribute my two cents worth:

It can be argued that the U.S. did eventually extend the protection of
U.S. citizenship to all Puerto Ricans (including, perhaps, some who did
not really want it) in 1917, with the passing of the Jones Act. I don't
think the Treaty of Paris included any provisions requiring the U.S. to
respect or sustain Puerto Rico's language and culture. In fact, for some
40 years after the change in sovereignty, a strong transculturalization
effort was made, by requiring all school subjects to be taught in English
(with the notable exception of Spanish, which continued to be taught).
This situation changed around the late 40's, when, having achieved a
higher level of local autonomy, the Puerto Rican government reversed that
policy, and once again made Spanish an official language. (English,
however, is still a mandatory subject from the early grades up to
college, and is still considered the Island's second official language).

In regards to what you call "...the anomalous problem regarding Puerto
Rico...", I would have to agree with you personally. However, the
supporters of commonwealth status would, of course, disagree. They all
agree, at least publicly, that this is Puerto Rico's tailor-made status
which guarantees that Puerto Ricans enjoys all (or at least most) of the
rights and priviledges (mainly financial) of U.S. citizenship while
safeguarding Puerto Rico's own national character. Conception of what the
commonwealth should be, however, varies among its supporters, from those
who support autonomy amounting to almost nothing more than an
"associated" republic status (an "almost" independence), to those who
would almost advocate statehood...without federal taxes.

The recent plebiscite essentially kept the level of the debate exactly the
same. Commonwealth supporters would like to claim total and final victory.
Winning with a margin of only 2.2%, however, and with leaders of the
statehood and independence movements pledging to continue their
struggles, Puerto Rico's status issue is anything but settled. Luis