The Zeros of One of the Oldest Colonies in the World

Hi, I’m Daniel Rivera and I’ll be blogging mostly on issues regarding Puerto Rico, its relationship with the United States and the rest of the world, plus on any other issues. I also have a technology blog somewhere but that’s nowhere ready for prime-time.

Since being discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, Puerto Rico has been a colony of two empires, starting with Spain in 1493, and continuing with the United States of America coming into power on July 25th, 1898 with the promise of bringing prosperity to the island and giving us the lead when we’re ready to govern ourselves (sounds familiar?). Our people are United States citizens and we’ve fought on every major war since World War I. So far, around 53 Puerto Ricans have died in the Iraq War.

This colonial status dominates Puerto Rican politics to this very day, with all three major parties having their own status agenda, which includes keeping the current status quo, annexation to the United States and complete independence from the colonial power. In a future post I’ll delve a little bit on these parties and their agenda.

I saw posting on this blog as a great fit to the reality of Puerto Rican politics. The name, Politics on the Zeros, pretty much sums up our political system. From a tribe-like political culture that values party affiliation more than the actual value that a person might add to the well-being of society, to having a spineless governor with a circus-like state legislature composed of more leeches than what you will find at a lobbyist convention, our well-paid, do-nothing politicians can make some of the worst in the United States look like Winston Churchill.

Here’s a small example: during a recent fiscal crisis, in which thousands upon thousands of government employees were laid off, the governor and the legislature blaming each other for the debacle. You’d think that with so many people left without their paychecks the legislature would get to work. And they did! From January 2006 to June 2006 a total of 4,364 measures were approved with a whopping 62% of these going towards either congratulating or recognizing a few “outstanding” or launching investigations on issues with little relevance to the incoming crisis. That’s right! While entire families wondered when their next paycheck would come, while our children were denied their education, most of the BMW-driving, designer-clothing-wearing whores of our government were more concerned with congratulating businessmen than helping these people. That’s a zero anywhere.

By no means I want to disrespect our island. We’re a warm, (usually) happy culture with a (usually) very strong national identity. But sometimes awareness has to be raised on certain issues concerning one of the oldest colonies in the world, for we’ve been waiting over 500 years for an end to our colonial status, whatever that solution may be.