little Caribbean island, home to 3.5 million US citizens, is a territory of the United States, or more properly, a colony, insofar as its residents have no representation in Washington, cannot vote for national candidates for office, and furthermore, are subject to US federal courts, whose judges are all appointed by the federal government.
At least USA Today made the story its page one lead, instead of just a business story, but it too just notes that the island is a “commonwealth” and that as such it cannot be bailed out as Greece hopes to be, by such international bodies as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the European Union. The meaning of the term “commonwealth” is not defined.
The Wall Street Journal ran its report on the bankruptcy on the front of its Money & Investing section, making it clear that the only significance of this story was to the many institutional and individual investors who hold Puerto Rican tax-free bonds in the municipal bond allocation of their investment portfolios. It too failed to explain what it meant to call Puerto Rico a “commonwealth.”
US citizens outside of Puerto Rico, most of whom don’t even know Puerto Ricans are fellow citizens, and not potential “illegal immigrants” to their shores like the Haitians, Dominicans, Cubans and other residents of neighboring islands, are no doubt understandably confused about Puerto Rico’s status, given that Kentucky, Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania all refer to themselves as “commonwealths” and not as states.
That last bit is actually a bad joke. Puerto Rico is can never be said to have been “voluntarily united” with the United States. It was a spoil of war when the US defeated Spain in the Spanish-American War of 1898, and became a colony under brutal military rule, its indigenous independence movement crushed, and even its native Spanish language barred from public education from 1898 until 1948.
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, uncompromised, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/2822
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