Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Puerto Rico: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Puerto Rico: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island territory of the United States, located east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands. The island has been a U.S. territory since 1898 when the United States acquired it as part of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish-American War. Despite its long-standing status as a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico has been subject to exploitation and neglect by the U.S. government.

One of the most significant examples of U.S. exploitation of Puerto Rico is the Jones Act, a law that requires all goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported on U.S. vessels. This law has had devastating effects on Puerto Rico's economy, as it has resulted in higher shipping costs and limited competition in the transportation industry. These factors have made it difficult for Puerto Rico to import goods at reasonable prices, leading to higher prices for consumers and contributing to the island's economic decline.

Puerto Rico has also been used as a site for U.S. military training and testing, leading to environmental damage and health risks for the island's residents. The island has been used as a bombing range, a testing ground for chemical weapons, and a site for military exercises. These activities have contaminated the island's soil and water and exposed residents to toxic chemicals and radiation.

Another significant issue is Puerto Rico's debt crisis, which has been exacerbated by U.S. policies. In 2016, Puerto Rico's government declared a form of bankruptcy, known as Title III, to address its massive debt. The island's debt was largely caused by U.S. policies, including tax exemptions for U.S. corporations that incentivized them to relocate to Puerto Rico, and the repeal of Section 936, a tax provision that allowed U.S. corporations to operate in Puerto Rico tax-free.

In addition to economic exploitation, Puerto Rico has been subject to political subjugation. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens but are unable to vote in presidential elections and have no voting representation in Congress. This lack of political power has made it difficult for Puerto Ricans to advocate for their rights and interests.

Puerto Rico's status as a U.S. territory has also resulted in the erosion of Puerto Rican culture and identity. English has been promoted over Spanish, and Puerto Rican history and culture have been downplayed or ignored in U.S. education systems.

In conclusion, the United States has exploited Puerto Rico economically, environmentally, politically, and culturally for over a century. These exploitative policies have had devastating effects on Puerto Rico's economy and its people's well-being. It is essential for the U.S. government to acknowledge and address the harm it has caused and work toward justice and reparations for Puerto Rico.


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