Cultural Bridge for the Hemisphere

Cultural Bridge for the Hemisphere

by José C. Barbosa Muñiz, PhD. (Better known as Joe Barbosa).

Retired Professor of Philosophy and Education and a Veteran of the Korean War, March 1951 to December 1953 as a member of the US Army 40th Division, 538th Eng. C Bn.  After finishing my tour of active duty I became a member of the P.R. National Guard and then of the US Army Reserves for over 20 years as an Army Engineer officer ( Lt. – Maj.).

As a member of a small grassroots organization, Puerto Rico Pro Statehood Movement, MOPPRE using its Spanish acronym, I wrote to the Co-chairs on December 20, 2009 asking for an opportunity to present our case for Statehood.  Since you have a few sessions in Puerto Rico I expect to have the opportunity I asked for a few months ago.  I did not receive any reply or even acknowledgement but I insist on expressing my views.

My presentation may focus on a different aspect of the Status problem, the benefits that the United States of America derives from the integration of a Spanish speaking State, i.e. Puerto Rico.    President Barack Hussein Obama has tried in his first year as president to mend fences with the whole World because of past administrations insensitivity toward all the other nations except the European powers of France, Great Britain and defeated powers Germany and Japan.  In the mean time, the Disunited States of America otherwise known as Latin America are slowly but surely creating blocs that are anti-USA in spite of moderate leaders such as Chilean President elect, Piñera, and the Brazilian President, Luis I. Lula da Silva, whose leftist leanings have been tempered by his practical politics.  The previous administrations have ignored and underestimated all the nations south of the Rio Grande with the possible exception of Mexico.  Only lip service and manipulation have been recorded during the 20th Century toward Latin America.   The USA needs a cultural bridge and Puerto Rico should be such a bridge.  Therefore, I affirm that Puerto Rico is ideally suited to serve as the cultural bridge for the following reasons:

  1. Incorporation of a Spanish Speaking State together with the millions of “Hispanics” would provide the uniting factors for the whole Hemisphere as a bloc in a globalized world where isolation is not only dangerous but impractical.
  2. There are more Puerto Ricans living in the 50 States of the Union than in the Archipelago of Puerto Rico   Those living in the 50 States are “enfranchised” Americans while those residing in P.R. are “disenfranchised” Americans.  That fact points to geographical discrimination which was initiated officially by the same Supreme Court Justices that rendered the Plessey v Ferguson decision in 1896.  The invention of the “Unincorporated Territory” by the Downs v Bidwell of 1901 has kept Puerto Rican residents only partially protected by the Constitution, in spite of being American Citizens.
  3. The incorporation of Puerto Rico as the 51st state of the Union would immediately eliminate a lot of tax shelters created to keep money away from the National Treasury and would diminish the “money laundering” suspected by many experts.
  4. On becoming the 51st State, it would erase the mistake made by the USA in 1952-3 stating that Puerto Rico was a self-governed country that could be taken out of the countries classified as colonies.
  5. Evidently Puerto Rico would be again an important column in the National Defense of the USA in addition to our traditional contribution to the Armed Forces of the USA.
  6. It would eliminate the injustice of the “statutory citizenship” that is not as good as naturalized citizenship.
  7. It would eliminate the mistaken idea that Puerto Rico does not pay Federal Taxes at all by bringing al Puerto Rican citizens under the Federal income tax codes.
  8. Puerto Rico’s integration into the Union would put the whole Puerto Rican nation under the same flag with the same rights and responsibilities because there is no living Puerto Rican resident that does not have a close relative living in one of the States of the Union.  Understanding the term nation as it is defined scientifically in anthropology and NOT to be confused with “nation-state” in the international political sense.
  9. The integration would recognize the immigration of professionals to the States, not as a “Brain Drain” but as a traditional movement toward opportunities within the whole USA.
  10. Last but not least, the United States of America must pay attention to its backyard and convince the other 400 million Latin Americans to join in a bloc that can compete in an economic globalized 21st Century because as the President has stated several times, we Americans can not settle for second or third place we want to be at the head of the globalized world.

The bottom line is that Puerto Rico is an asset to the Union contrary to widely misinformed detractors.

(Published by the Puerto Rico Daily Sun 4/1/2010)

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