The annual Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián (SanSe Festival) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a cultural celebration, parade and block party all in one: basically, a Puerto Rican Mardi Gras.

Puerto Rico’s economic and fiscal crisis is made in the USA.

Puerto Ricans are Americans. They’ve been American citizens since 1917. They fought the same battles, made the same sacrifices. They’ve lost their land in the same way that Native Americans lost their land, and they’ve been the subject of discrimination and racism in the same way that African Americans have. They’ve suffered the full spectrum of oppression, and yet they’ve been off the map 4,000 miles away so they haven’t even been able to argue their case.

The United States comes in to Puerto Rico in 1898. The very next year, Hurricane San Ciriaco devastated the island. The US sends no relief. The following year, the US declares that the Puerto Rican peso, would no longer be valid currency. Then the US imposed new property taxes on every farmer in Puerto Rico. Look at those three blows right after each other: the hurricane, the currency devaluation, and the new taxes. The result was that the farmers were in extreme distress and they had to get loans to try and stay afloat. By 1940, 80 percent of the arable land in Puerto Rico was US-owned.

Now you have Puerto Ricans who lose their land, they have nowhere to go, they try to get jobs. When they try to enact minimum wage legislation for the exploding ranks of these workers, the US Congress simply vetoed it, and when they tried to push it, the Supreme Court ruled that since Puerto Rico was a US territory and not a state, that the United States constitution did not apply, even though in 1917, under the terms of the Jones-Shafroth Act, they were called US citizens. So they’re found to be US citizens for purposes of military conscription, but they’re not found to be US citizens for purposes of having any rights. – Nelson Denis

For More information on the situation in Puerto Rico, check out:

Puerto Rico’s Economic and Fiscal Crisis: Made in the U.S.A.

The Lost History of Puerto Rico’s Independence Movement

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