Puerto Rico is an isolated United States territory within the Latin America. It is located west of the United Stated Virgin lands. It is a former colony of Spain which dominated it for a very long period of time. It was delivered from the Spanish rule by intervention of the United States troops during the 1898 Hispano-cubano-americana war. Outside observers view Puerto Rico as a dependent state that does not have her sovereignty or autonomy. This country shares citizenship with the United States which accords her citizens freedom of movement and can cross this country’s borders.
Currently, outside political observers view Puerto Rico as a nation without a state. This is because this island is neither affiliated to the United States of America nor is it a sovereign republic. Duany highlights that despite the United States granting its people US citizenship, it was never incorporated into the United States territory. In fact, the United States Supreme court refers to Puerto Rico as a “foreign state in the domestic sense”. This explains how alienated the island is. Even at the onset of the twenty first century, Puerto Rico remains a nation that has no state and is not yet assimilated in the United States culture.
This country is regarded by many scholars as swinging because her borders constantly experience migrations from both sides. Many Puerto Ricans cross over to the United States while others move from the mainland into the Puerto Rican island. In this back and forth movement, many Puerto Ricans frequent both the United States and their homeland. This migration from the Puerto Rico is fueled by search of employment opportunities in the continental United States of America. For instance, Duany cites that most of the Puerto Ricans are secure short term employment opportunities in the US firms before returning to their homeland. This term sway simply refers to the temporary nature of the Puerto Ricans in terms of their settlement. They hardly spend long period of time in neither United States nor their Puerto Rico homeland. In fact he reiterates that these people move like ocean currents which are dependent on the coastal wind patterns. Their wind pattern is the economic green pasture that they tend to seek every now and then. They keep crossing the border into and out of this island nation.
The concept of the Puerto Rican transnationalism started with the US denial of the existence of a Puerto Rican nationality. The US administration then invaded the island on the claim that it was unable to run a self government and on a clear cultural identity. The idea of opening up its borders was also fueled by its unpreparedness for independence as long as from 1898. Most scholars reiterate that this island was not ready for independence from the Spanish. Its residents appeared primitive and uncivilized. Soon after the end of World War II, the Puerto Rican island received a great extent of autonomy from the US. However, this autonomy did not eliminate the United States’ colonialism on this island.
The US initiated cultural nationalism adoption as from 1955s. Since this time, Puerto Rican major government agencies such as its cultural institute have pushed for nationalist iconography guided by its various aspects of the society such as culture, language folk art among others. These icons diffused into both the mainland and the island but never achieved their objectives. Despite this wide spread of these iconography, they did not generate massive support for the Puerto Rican free association with United States or rather independence. Transnationalism is also a product of the presence of the Diaspora. Nearly half of the Puerto Rico nationals live abroad in the United States or other neighboring states.
Puerto Rican island is in a dilemma between choosing the United States and belonging to commonwealth. However, it is worth noting that Puerto Rico became a common wealth in 1952 with restricted powers in matters regarding taxation, education, health and language. Today, the island is in a cross roads and cannot choose between commonwealth and United States. Guany states that few Puerto Ricans perceive their nation as a commonwealth associated state. On the other hand, Puerto Ricans affiliated to the United States strongly believe that this island should be part of the United States.
The Puerto Rican government facilitated the element of the Diaspora through sponsoring some of its people’s movement to Hawaii and other Caribbean countries. This government feared its inability to feed and provide general care for its rapidly increasing population. This sponsorship thus intended to use the massive exodus of people from Puerto Rico to curb high rate of unemployment and overpopulation. Apart from the government’s support for its nationals’ migration, some Puerto Ricans took their own exit to seek employment opportunities to cater for their families. However, it is worth noting that the government’s role was very paramount. Those who frequently cross the island’s borders to mainland and back have become bilingual and thus bicultural. This migration has made Puerto Ricans to become members of a trans-local nation that covers Archipelago in this island to the United States Diaspora.
In conclusion, Puerto Rico is an island which does not have political sovereignty. It still depends heavily on the United States Federal Constitution for even citizenship. This island’s economy is also not stable its people often cross its borders to seek employment opportunities in the Diaspora. This migration has resulted into trans-nationalism in that Puerto Ricans live global lifestyle as they hop in and out of different countries. However, the Puerto Ricans have upheld and appreciated their cultural heritage and wherever they go, they hardly get assimilated.
Duany, Jorge. "Nation, Migration, Identity:The Case of Puerto Ricans." New Society 30
November 2001:178. Print.