“Puerto Rico: A Colony By Any Name.”
On Christopher Columbus’s second voyage to what was called the West Indies, he visited Puerto Rico, called Borinquen by the Arawak natives of the island. Columbus docked in November 1493, and with him came the force and greed of the Spanish empire.
For four centuries, Spain brought imperial exploitation, slavery, repression, and death to the Arawaks, and in its place arose a new people, the mixture of Southern Europe, Spain, the remnants of Indians and Africans.
After the U.S. pushed a weakened Spain out of Cuba, it seized Puerto Rico as well. From that seizure of 1898 by the U.S. until today, Puerto Rico has been an American property under the U.S. government’s thumb.
Did you know that Puerto Ricans can’t vote for president, that they on the island can’t vote in general elections? They fight in every American war and die in every conflict. When U.S. businesses open up shop in PR, they are exempt from taxes, money that could aid the island in its health and educational needs.
And just days ago, after being lashed by nature’s fury as Hurricane Maria, when they dared complained about slow American response, the moronic U.S. president called Puerto Ricans ingrates. Ingrates!
Now weeks later, they are still suffering: no water, no food, no power. They are Americans in name, but in fact, they are colonial subjects of the U.S. empire used by America and then forgotten.
From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.