Puerto Rico: A Colony in Crisis!

By Rev. Dr. Samuel Cruz
After 119 years so much has changed, yet so much remains the same. Were it not so painful, it would be fascinating to observe the underlying rationalization/legitimation of the oppressive, brutal and racist treatment of colonial subjects by empires—and how little that process has evolved.
During the 16th century, Juan Gines Sepulveda, the apologist for the Spanish Crown, argued for the continued colonization and brutalization of the indigenous peoples of the Americas on the basis that they needed protection from themselves. In the eyes of the Spanish, the colonized were childlike and incapable of taking care of themselves. This bigoted and dehumanizing justification of colonial oppression manifested recently in President Trump’s statements and behaviors toward Puerto Rico. He said: “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. Ten thousand Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.” Of course, he conveniently neglected to mention that Florida and Texas received over 40,000 federal workers to provide relief after Hurricane Irma. This rhetoric is commonly used to blame the victims of immoral deeds, instead of blaming the malevolent colonial aggressors. Mr. Trump’s racist and demoralizing worldview was laid bare when he threw paper towels to hurting human beings as if he was throwing fish to walruses.
The Puerto Rican nation has had to endure this type of brutal behavior from the U.S. for 119 years. Most U. S. presidents have expressed their racist views with subtlety, although with the same adverse effects.

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