You may not realize this — a surprising number of Americans don’t — but Puerto Rico is a part of the United States. During the 1898 war with Spain, it was one of several territories conquered in an overt land-grab designed to promote American sea power throughout the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean. It currently has a population of well over 3 million, all American citizens. They have no right to elect the President; they have no representation in Congress.
At present, the territory is experiencing a public debt crisis that is out of control. The opinion of the present territorial administration is that it cannot be solved without the assistance of the central government of the United States. The Senate proposed an economic aid bill with $3 billion in aid; the House version, which has just been approved by committee, has expanded the bureaucracy but removed the aid. (Update: This version is the one that finally passed.) (more…)