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Colonialism's Impact

Independence Or Statehood

Colonialism's Impact

May 14, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Chicago Sun-Times, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

It's no surprise that the U.S. military resumed bombing the island of Vieques , Puerto Rico , despite protests from the Puerto Rican people. That is what colonial powers do: place the needs of the colonizer above the desires of the colonized.

Let there be no mistake: Puerto Rico is a U.S. colony and has been since the U.S. military invaded Puerto Rico on July 25, 1898. Vieques is the most blatant example of the deleterious impact U.S. colonialism has had on Puerto Rico .

In 1938, the United States expropriated Vieques , claiming that it was indispensable for U.S. military training maneuvers. Since then, two-thirds of the island has been off limits to its inhabitants. U.S. naval bombing has destroyed the fishing industry, Vieques ' principal livelihood. Twenty-six percent of the population is unemployed. Vieques has the highest cancer and mortality rate in Puerto Rico .

Throughout Puerto Rico and among the approximately 3 million Puerto Ricans living in the United States, sentiments against the U.S. bombardment have caused thousands to protest. More than 1,000 people have engaged in civil disobedience. This massive opposition is understandable, since what is at stake is the survival of a community.

The recently elected governor of Puerto Rico , Sila Calderon, just filed a lawsuit in federal court demanding that the military not bomb Vieques . The court ruled there was not sufficient evidence that the bombing would irreparably harm the residents of Vieques . This, too, is one more example of U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico -a U.S. federal court decides the fate of Vieques .

The U.S. military has no right to bomb an inhabited island and then justify that bombing through the U.S. judicial system.

Melinda Power
Logan Square


Independence Or Statehood

May 25, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Puerto Rico Herald. All Rights Reserved.

Dear Editor,

I truly am beginning to believe that the Puerto Rican people are a tad

selfish. For starters, they don't want to become a part of the United States

because they want to maintain their own identity. Ok, that's fine. But wait,

they still want the United States to shell out money for welfare, the 13

billion dollars they get annually, and all the other goodies they receive

because of Puerto Rico being a Commonwealth which includes easy entry and

departure from the United States because they are considered citizens. Yet,

with all the freebies Puerto Ricans get from the U.S. government they pay no

federal taxes. Very unfair!!! It's no wonder that only 3 or 4% of the

population want independence. The rest of the island's 96% or 97% of the

population are no fools. They know a good deal when they see one. In fact,

so do I. I am packing my bags tonite and moving to Puerto Rico!!!! ADIOS,


Seriously folks, let's get real here. It's either independence or statehood.

I do not believe anything else would work.

Jessie Jone

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