Annotated Bibliography

History of Status Issue

Melendez, Edwin, and Edgardo Melendez. Colonial Dilemma: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Puerto Rico. (1993).

This book features pieces written by a wide variety of scholars who have studied the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico. In the first chapter, Pedro Caban writes about the history of the development of the commonwealth and the policies put into place to create this system. Juan Manuel Carrion, in the fourth chapter, writes about nationalism on the island. He frequently brings up the presence of the Puerto Rican identity and how it has changed over time.

Ramos, Aaron G. “The Development of Annexationist Politics in Twentieth Century Puerto Rico”

Ramos writes about how the discussion of statehood on the island has changed throughout the 20th century. He begins by discussing the early annexation movements that began to appear post Spanish-American War. Political parties that have been associated with the topic of annexation are mentioned with a brief history of how they formed. The piece then concludes with an analytical look at how the statehood solution of the status issue is seen in the modern day.

Howe, Russell W. “The American Caribbean.” Nation 184.2 (1957).

Russel Howe writes in the year 1957 about the territories in the Caribbean that are under American control. This gives a tremendous amount of perspective on how the issues that Puerto Rico faces compare to those faced on other smaller territories. He goes into detail about the three problems that the island faces; being the lack of schools, large amount of slums and the overall poverty faced by a large portion of the population. The topic of national identity and desire for independence is brought up to conclude the piece, stating how strong of a nationalist rhetoric exists in Puerto Rico.

Meyer, Gerald J. “Pedro Albizu Campos, Gilberto Concepción De Gracia, And Vito Marcantonio’s Collaboration In The Cause Of Puerto Rico’s Independence.”Centro Journal 1 (2011).

This piece goes into the push for independence and key figures that led the movement. The background of Pedro Albizu Campos is briefly given, along with other political figures that pushed for independence. Meyer compares the way they each approached the topic of independence and frequently mentions the role that a Puerto Rican identity played in each of their arguments.

Howard, Alan. “Rising Tide For Independence.”Nation 10 (1976).

In this article published in 1976, Alan Howard describes the history for the Puerto Rico’s status issue and focuses on the evolution of the independence movement. He begins his argument with the U.S. occupation of the island in 1898 and goes into great detail on how different political parties rose to support different status options. The methods in which the U.S. has attempted to decolonize the island are discussed, including the vote in 1953 which sought to change the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico. After showing that this has failed he concludes with describing this conflict as one that will put into practice the lessons learned from the conflict in Vietnam.

Carrión, Juan Manuel. “Two Variants Of Caribbean Nationalism: Marcus Garvey And Pedro Albizu Campos.”Centro Journal 1 (2005).

Juan Manuel Carrión compares the impact that Marcus Garvey and Pedro Albizu Campos had on their respective islands. He discusses the similarities both had including the both of them being black and experiencing discrimination. Carrión then goes into the different historical backgrounds of both islands showing how the differences over time have affected the national identity. After analyzing these events and going into great detail how cultural factors shaped the ways that these two leaders saw race and nationalism.

Limón, José E., Jim Stafford, and Autumn Libal. “Puerto Rico’s Relationship With The United States.”Americans Who Cannot Vote: Puerto Ricans’ History & Promise (2005).

In this book, the history of Puerto Rico’s relationship is described in great detail. It spans from the Spanish American war to the development of the free associated state. There is also mention of the Nationalist Party attacks against this status declaration and how they sought to push for independence. It is also suggested that staying a common wealth would allow the population to maintain their national identity more than in statehood and that statehood would be more beneficial for the economy than independence.


Economic Impact

Bram, Jason, Francisco E. Martínez, and Charles Steindel. “Trends And Developments In The Economy Of Puerto Rico.” Current Issues In Economics & Finance 14.2 (2008).

This article breaks down the recent behavior of the Puerto Rican economy post 2008. Two years following this time, the data shows a decrease in the prosperity of the economy. Several different industries and markets are then broken down to see which areas of the economy are being affected the most. After describing the business climate and the workforce on the island, the authors display faith in the ability of the Puerto Rican economy to bounce back.

“Commonweatlh Vs. Independent Countries.” Caribbean Business 32.37 (2004).

This article published in Caribbean Business in 2005, compares how the economy of the island of Puerto Rico compares to other smaller independent nations. The islands per capita income is compared to the United States and nations in Western Europe, showing that those on the island are making less. Next the gross national incomes of several countries in the western hemisphere are compared. From this it is clear that Puerto Rico, when under the United States, is able to keep their GNI higher than most surrounding independent nations. While the island is still much less efficient compared to the United States, it is still better off than its surrounding neighbors.

Márquez, Carws. “Independence: Could Puerto Rico Go It Alone? (Cover Story).” Caribbean Business 34.2 (2006).

In this cover story from the Caribbean Business editorial, Carlos Marquez calls into question whether Puerto Rico could sustain when independent. He discusses how Puerto Rico would be forced to take control of their economy and create treaties and agreements with other nations. Following this the conflict of how the political landscape would change is mentioned with focus on the new issues citizens would face, such as gaining passports from the republic. Marquez argues that this would cause many citizens to leave the island as to not lose their United States citizenship. To close this piece the economy is once again focused on, stating that following independence the national debt would become too great for the island especially with the end of federal funds from the United states going to the island.

Maldonado, Rita M. “The Economic Costs And Benefits Of Puerto Rico’s Political Alternatives.”Southern Economic Journal (1974).

In this journal article, statistics are brought up to show what the result of several status solutions would be. To begin Maldonado describes the current status of the economy under the commonwealth relationship with United States. The following parts then analyze how each alternative status would do to the economy and the citizens of the island.


National Identity


Ruben Berrios, Martinez, President, and Party Puerto Rican Independence  “Political Status Of Puerto Rico.” FDCH Congressional Testimony (2013).

On August 1st, 2013, President of the Puerto Rican Independence Ruben Berrios Martinez addresses congress on how the status issues if affecting the island. He claims that the island is in the process of turning into commonwealth, creating a poor, “ghetto state.” The loss of the educated middle class is labeled as a major concern since it will further damage the economy of the island. Martinez then discusses the problematic plebiscite ballot, breaking down how the information gained from it was inaccurate The speech concludes with mention of the how national identity will prevent assimilation post annexation.

Rubinstein, Alvin Z. “The Case Against Puerto Rican Statehood.”Orbis 3 (2001).

Political scientist writes this academic journal to argue against the annexation of Puerto Rico. He begins by looking at the economy value of the island and describes why gaining Puerto Rico would be attractive for the Unite States. By pointing out how difficult assimilation of this population will be, he moves into supporting his anti-statehood stance. The island of Vieques and the situation with the military on the small island is mentioned, with the military leaving in the year 2003. Rubinstein closes with talking about how the process of Americanization would fail on the island, preventing the population from truly assimilating into the Unite States.

Barreto, Amílcar Antonio. “Nationalism, Language Policy, and Nested Games in Puerto Rico.”Caribbean Studies (2002).

This piece focuses on the Puerto Rican identity that has been produced on the island throughout the 20th century. By going through the history of this identity it is clear to see how strong its roots are. A lot of what is said about language and culture will be interesting to tie in with the topic of sovereignty since it can be used to support the push for independence, Comparing the information in the article with the transition to statehood for Hawaii.

Hoyt, Garry. “Could Independence Be Newly Viable?.”Caribbean Business 26 (2002).

Garry Hoyt, who lived on the island from 1955 to 1980, argues in his article from 2002 that Puerto Rico’s independence is still an option that can be achieved. He begins by stating that the numbers of those who are said to support independence are being misrepresented and explains why this occurs. Hoyt goes on to list several factors that would encourage the United States to part ways with the current relationship with Puerto Rico, one of which being the removal of the economic burden the island causes. After comparing the situation to that of the creation of the United States, he points out the cultural and linguistic differences that would become issues if the island became a state.

Falcón, Angelo. “The Diaspora Factor: Stateside Boricuas And The Future Of Puerto Rico.”NACLA Report On The Americas 6 (2007).

This academic journal analyzes how those Puerto Ricans living within the United States view the current status issue on the island. It was written by political scientist Angelo Falcon who is the founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy. The piece goes into great detail about the issues that have surrounded the plebiscite and the large migrations of Puerto Ricans to the mainland United States. Falcon also speaks extensively on the national identity that Puerto Ricans have in terms of music, food, and language. The spread of the mainland population is also described. Through analyzing the status of the stateside Puerto Ricans and the uncertain future that they have, a lot can be taken from this source on what impact national identity has on the population.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s