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Should Puerto Rico become a US state or independent? Show more Show less
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Puerto Rico, one of five American territories, has limited power and rights under its territory categorization. Some mainland Americans argue Puerto Rico should become the 51st U.S. state. Activists in Puerto Rico go one step further—full independence.

Puerto Rico should be an independent country Show more Show less

Puerto Rico was seized by America after the Spanish-American War and has its own unique culture, heritage, and ingenious people separate from the US. Puerto Rico deserves to be given what it once had—autonomy and its own, localized government.
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Puerto Rico would have a more localized government

Puerto Rico has a local government, but Puerto Rican laws can be overruled by the US government, and all laws have to be within US law. Puerto Rico deserves a more localized and democratic government.
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The Argument

Under the current regulations regarding Puerto Rico's territorial status, any law passed in Puerto Rico's congress has to fall within existing US law. However, the island itself is entirely different than the US. Puerto Rico should be given its independence to govern itself however it sees fit. In its current state, Puerto Rican law is overseen by a board of non-Puerto Ricans that was appointed by President Obama when he signed the Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act, otherwise known as PROMESA.[1] Under normal circumstances, Puerto Rican law would be subject to US law already. However, under PROMESA, a political board oversees Puerto Rico, making decisions and setting policy agendas that Puerto Rican citizens never agreed to.[2] This board was set up to control Puerto Rico's debt, which is a staggering $120 billion. However, decisions on how to best manage the debt of the island are being made from the mainland United States, with little to no knowledge of what the island actually needs. If Puerto Rico were to be given its independence, it could make its own laws, create its own system of governance, and manage its own debt, all in a way that would be more personalized to the island. Independence would inevitably lead to quicker policy action, better money management, and a better quality of life for Puerto Ricans.[3]

Counter arguments

Puerto Rican independence movements have a history of being overly violent, as exhibited by a 1954 shooting at the US Capitol by Puerto Rican nationalists. [4] Other nations with a history of violence have not faired well when proclaiming independence, like Venezuela, who had a historic debt crisis in 1902. [5] Venezuela was marred by government takeovers and unstable politics throughout the 20th century, and Puerto Rico could suffer the same fate if it became an independent nation.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://theintercept.com/2018/09/19/hurricane-colonialism-the-economic-political-and-environmental-war-on-puerto-rico/
  2. https://www.ft.com/content/3af8ab49-6e3a-4fca-b752-55cbdc3be1af
  3. https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-dream-of-puerto-rican-independence-and-the-story-of-heriberto-marin
  4. https://www.nytimes.com/1954/03/02/archives/five-congressmen-shot-in-house-by-3-puerto-rican-nationalists.html
  5. https://www.theodorerooseveltcenter.org/Learn-About-TR/TR-Encyclopedia/Foreign-Affairs/Venezuela-Debt-Crisis.aspx
This page was last edited on Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 at 18:44 UTC

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