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keskiviikko 18. helmikuuta 2015

Puerto Rico, Cool Facts #13

12. Chile <=                                                                                                                        => 14. Cuba 


1. Cuba and Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico copied its flag from Cuba but it reversed the colors. Cuba had in fact got inspiration from the American flag with the star and the stripes. It's ironical how different destinies these two countries had in the future. In 1898 in the Treaty of Paris Cuba and Puerto Rico were both attached to USA:s possession after the Spanish-American War. Just 4 years later Cuba got independence in 1902. After Fidel Castro's communist revolution in 1959 Cuba turned into one of USA:s worst enemies besides the Soviet Union. Puerto Rico instead is still part of the USA.



2.  The First and the Only President of Puerto Rico

In 1868 Lares, Puerto Rico declared independence for a short time after a rebellion. The first and only president of Puerto Rico was Francisco Ramirez Medina. He abolished slavery and freed people of carrying mandatory work permits. The Spanish army suppressed the rebellion very fast and executed the leaders. In the end of the decade Spain lost Puerto Rico to USA despite the attempts of giving more autonomy and freedom to Puerto Rico to keep them satisfied.



3. Rejection of Independence

Why isn't Puerto Rico independent ? The citizens of Puerto Rico are automatically citizens of the United States. Puerto Ricans can move freely to USA, they don't need to pay taxes for the federal government or go to the army. But citizens living in Puerto Rico can't vote in the presidential elections. Still the advantage of being part of USA is bigger than being independent. 2,5 million Puerto Ricans live in USA.



4. To be Independent, Autonomous or USA:s 51th State ?

The three big parties are PPD, PNP and PIP. Politics is determined by the attitude towards USA and not by the usual left-right division.

PPD supports the current autonomous situation
PNP wants Puerto Rico to become the 51th state of USA
PIP wants independence

There has been a referendum about Puerto Rico's situation four times. In 1967, 1993, 1998 the majority wanted to continue the autonomy. In 2012 the majority wanted Puerto Rico to gain a US state status. With independence Puerto Ricans would lose the valuable US citizenship.



5. Early days of Puerto Rico 

First the island was called San Juan Bautista according to the biblical figure John the Baptist. The harbor which was risen there got the name Puerto Rico. Then in 1521 the island was named Puerto Rico and the city around the harbor San Juan. It was named after the conquistador Juan Ponce de León who destroyed the native Carib-indians. From the 1500s until the 1800s Puerto Rico was a reason of dispute between England and Spain, because England tried to conquer Puerto Rico without any success. Puerto Rico's location was very good with its natural harbors. It's still an important passage way towards the Panama Canal.



Timeline 

1500s The Spanish migrants settle to Puerto Rico
1600s Spain maintains power despite the conquest attempts of France, England and Holland
1800 Other Latin American countries become independent
1868 Puerto Rico declares independence but the revolt is suppressed quickly by Spanish troops
1873 Slavery is abolished
1895 Puerto Rico gets its own flag which is a copy of the Cuban flag with reversed colors
1898 USA wins the war against Spain and takes Puerto Rico to its own possession
1952 Puerto Rico gets autonomy as a part of USA

Famous Puerto Ricans

Benicio del Toro - actor
Jennifer Lopez - artist
Jimmy Smits - actor (Bail Organa in Star Wars)
Marc Anthony - artist
Ricky Martin - artist

Sources: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Rico
Maailman maat liput ja historia - Kimmo Kiljunen

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