"The traditional parties had long been preoccupied with the question of status--was the island to be a state, or independent or to have some middle status?--without accomplishing much that concretely improved the lives of the majority of Puerto Ricans."
The quote is from James Dietz's Economic History of Puerto Rico and seems as fresh as any of today's pseudo-political analysis.
Except it was written in 1985. And its direct reference is to the 1930s.
How is it possible that Puerto Rico has dragged this status issue to the point where a cogent conclusion about the early years of the 20th century is exactly as valid in the first years of the 21st century?
It cannot be accidental. Nothing like this could come about from mere happenstance. So it must be deliberate. In simple terms, it is to somebody's best interest that this situation remain as it is, a limbo. And though the evidence points strongly at the U.S. of part of A., a solid case can be made that Puerto Rico's best interests were best served by remaining in a political limbo.
Let's make some facts evident:
--Puerto Rico is a property of the United States. Says so from the Treaty of Paris through the Organic Act to Public Law 600 and in every judicial and legislative review of the status issue by the Federal government since 1898.
--Efforts to change this proprietary relationship have been thwarted time and again by three consistent factors: Protection of business interests, unwillingness to modify Constitutional definitions of "citizenship" and "State" and lack of cohesive majority choice in Puerto Rico for any particular status.
--What was at first a solely U.S.-centered "best interests" policy became a "joint best interests" policy that left Puerto Rico, as property, in a position of constantly increasing dependence.
--That dependence has mutated from commercial to political to economic, with each step exponentially increasing the "value"--thus the "best interest"--of limbo over any--any--attempt to "solve" the status issue.
These facts are undeniable. To argue over whether they are true or not is useless: They are simply the facts. What they lead to is also inevitable: The Puerto Rico status issue will not be resolved until the shared level of "best interests" is shattered.
That could take the severe rupture of the economic boondoggle the U.S. and its companies suck out of Puerto Rico to the tune of almost 70% worth of Our economy.
That could take a wave of nationalism that finally grasps the concept of Puerto Rico as a capable, deserving and valuable resource on the gobal stage.
That could take a geopolitical upheaval where U.S. interests are deemed better-served by eliminating the label of "property" on Puerto Rico and deciding--unilaterally--to let My people go, for there's not a snowball's chance in Hell they'd offer Us statehood.
Unless any of the above three changes occurs, discussing, debating, lobbying or posturing on the status issue is exactly as valuable as doing the same for leprechaun rights. Leprechauns don't exist, but you can entertain and distract folks with tales of their antics. The Puerto Rico status issue is equally fanciful, only the antics are carried out by Fools and the pot of gold keeps coming out of Our pockets.
The Jenius Has Spoken.