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Why Couldn't Puerto Rico Stand On It's Own?

November 17, 2002
Copyright © 2002 PUERTO RICO HERALD. All rights reserved. 


My name is Guillermo Leon. My father was born and raised in Puerto Rico as were my grandparents and their parents and so on. However, I was born and raised here in the U.S.

My question is this: Why couldn't Puerto Rico stand on it's own?

Instead of pondering the question of whether or not to become a state why not ponder becoming a country? Sure, it would not be a very large country, but it would belong to Puerto Ricans. Puerto Rico could use finances generated from tourism or other means to help support itself and it's people. By doing this it would insure that our culture would not be lost.

It seems to me that if Puerto Rico becomes America's 51st state they would be signing a death warrant on their culture. Maybe this sounds like I'm going over board, but so many cultures have been changed forever and even lost because they weren't allowed to sustain themselves.

I am proud to be Puerto Rican! And I want our culture to go and never end. It's been years since I've been home and I miss it greatly.

I am writing to you in English because America almost succeeded in striping me of my culture. I am 40 years old and I am trying desperately to learn my native tongue. My father died when I was about 8 yrs old. After his death I was made to believe that I should speak only English instead of both languages.

Through my childhood and into my adulthood very few people have been willing to accept my heritage. I can't tell you how many times I've been told that "I" or "we" have always considered you to be white and not Hispanic. Like this was a compliment?

I am in no way speaking out against white America! As far as I am concerned we all have a right to exist. Which means that our cultures have a right to exist as well.

Also, the other question I have is this: How come Puerto Ricans never had a say in their future?

Again, my intention is not to demean the U.S., but to find answer's. Puerto Rico was turned over to the U.S. like property lost in a bet.

Yes, I understand that it was a part of a treaty agreement, but isn't it like the same thing? Puerto Ricans had no say in the matter, they just had to go along with it.

Am I ungrateful to the U.S.?

No, I just believe that Puerto Ricans deserve the chance to walk and grow on their own. I believe in Puerto Rico, it's culture and it's people. We've been nurtured as well as had our hands held for years. I believe that it's time that we learn to walk on our own. Am I alone in thinking this?

Looking forward to coming home some day,

Guillermo Leon

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