This past summer in Puerto Rico, historic protests by the Puerto Rican people showed that the power truly lies with the people.
In December of 2017, Donald Trump signed the new GOP tax bill rearranging and recreating the way our country collects its dues. This bill affects every state in the Union, but it also affects one curious case in the Northeast Caribbean – Puerto Rico. The bill includes a new 12.5 percent tax on profits derived from intellectual property held by foreign companies. For Puerto Rico, this means it is treated differently from every other state. The new policy is designed to back the “America First” trademark of the Trump administration by bringing home American companies.
This article was written as part of the course “Latin American Economic Development” offered by Professor Marla Ripoll, Department of Economic, University of Pittsburgh.
Between the 1930s and the 1970s, approximately one-third of the female population of Puerto Rico was sterilized, making it highest rate of sterilization in the world. Despite the high rate of sterilizations, the dark history of these operations remains understudied and hidden in the shadows of history. Some argue that the pressure to increase sterilization procedures was a targeted practice to decrease the high level of poverty and unemployment. The government blamed these issues on overpopulation on the island.
Understanding the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico can be confusing. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, but not a state. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, yet do not have a say in presidential elections.
For some, he was a fighter, an independence activist. But for the U.S. government, he was a threat. Oscar Rivera was arrested more than 30 years ago in the United States, on charges of "seditious conspiracy" to overthrow the U.S. government, weapons violation and interstate transportation of stolen property "escape" conspiracy, for which he received a sentence of 70 years in prison.
This summer, all eyes turned to Puerto Rico. For a few short weeks, Capitol Hill was forced to acknowledge the problems the American protectorate had been having for years. On June 30th, 2016, the House passed the PROMESA Act (also known as the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act) which prevents Puerto Rico from being sued for not paying its bond payments.
In August of this year, the CDC declared a health emergency alert for Puerto Rico regarding the spread of the Zika virus. Shortly thereafter, our “Isla del Encanto” would come to know its first cases of infection-related births; the month of September, brought with it the first group of babies in Puerto Rico exposed to the zika virus during the first trimester of pregnancy.
The film begins with drive-by scenes of Puerto Rico: blue sky, sun-soaked houses surrounded by greenery, the ocean in the distance. The camera focuses back into the car, a person of ambiguous gender in the driver’s seat, with straight blond hair flying back in the wind.