Puerto Rico and the United States: how the political relationship led to a humanitarian crisis in the island




Méndez, Katie

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Former governor Alejandro García Padilla’s announcement that Puerto Rico could not pay its 72-billion-dollar debt prompted debates regarding the role the United States should play in Puerto Rico’s ability to restructure and pay the debt. Throughout the presidential election, when debate surrounding the issue increased, the predominant argument was that the United States did not play a role in creating the financial crisis. This thesis directly examines this argument through an interdisciplinary study of the role of the United States in Puerto Rico’s political and socioeconomic status. More specifically, this thesis analyzes policies surrounding women’s reproduction, race issues, the establishment of democracy and citizenship in Puerto Rico, acts of violence in the island, and economic policies to explain their effect in the creation of the debt crisis. Lastly, this thesis ends by analyzing the modern implications of the political and financial relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States and how the two sides can move forward.