Houston Chronicle op-ed on Cuba, the US, and Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican flag.

Puerto Rican flag.

I was first exposed to politics growing up in Puerto Rico, where electoral campaigns and post-election governance can be an acrimonious and divisive affair. This partly because, at their core, Puerto Rican politics are all about the island’s political relationship with the United States, which gives Puerto Rican politics an existential tinge driven by deep economic, social, and cultural insecurities. In a January 24 op-ed published in the Houston Chronicle, I argue that the recent thaw in Cuban-American relations offers the US an opportunity to solve the Puerto Rican status issue once and for all:

A majority coalition composed of supporters of statehood, independence (a small but influential minority), and a sizable portion of commonwealth supporters now favors decolonization. The question is: What relationship is America willing to have with its 4 million Caribbean citizens in the future? Is it willing to accept Puerto Rico as the 51st state, and if so, what’s the price of admission? Under what conditions would it grant independence? What kind of non-colonial, intermediate status would it be willing to negotiate with Puerto Rico? Individual decision makers have expressed preferences, but it’s time for the U.S. government to speak with one voice.

Read the whole thing at the Houston Chronicle website (or click here for a PDF) and let me know what you think.

Luis Hestres

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