Puerto Rico: LalaLand Island??

By Valerie


PUERTO RICO: As my first Post at Latina Lista, I want to set the record straight about my island’s status. Not only half of the World doesn’t understand this, but some puertoricans don’t either.

This is the question that many friends have asked me: “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico”, what does it mean?

Well to put it in very simple words, we are owned by the U.S.A., but we are not a State. I don’t wanna bore you with too many details but if I want you to understand all of this then it’s my duty to do a brief history lesson.

In 1493, Christopher Columbus found this island the Taínos called “Borikén.” Columbus named it “the Island of San Juan Bautista”. The spaniards got rid of all the taínos by killing them or making them slaves, and started building what is now called “el viejo San Juan” or Old San Juan.


Many things happened, (trying not to get into too many details, it’s a long story) but one day United States decided to attack until Spain ceded Puerto Rico (Also Cuba, the Phillipines and Guam) under the Treaty of Paris.

With that we became U.S. citizens, have our own Senate to complete a bicameral Legislature and now puertoricans are drafted anytime U.S. declares war.

We can almost pass like a State, but we can’t vote for president. Now why are we not the 51st State?

Three plebiscites (referendums) have been held in recent decades to resolve the political status but it looks like people like the title of “Commonwealth” or they are too scared to choose the fate of this island.

Now this status brings a lot of confusion, for people and to Companies. For example, sometimes when we try to register or buy something online, we appear as a country or a State, or even both! If I choose being a country then I expect a higher shipping and handling (charge).

Or what’s even weirder? When I bought Pokemon Diamond (yes, i’m a gamer) and looked for PR on the map, guess what? Puerto Rico is nowhere to be found!

Not like a State, not even a country! Maybe the programmers were so confused they forgot to add us?

I know it must be hard to understand what we really are at the moment. It’s almost like being in limbo where everyone is so puzzled they don’t know were to go.

I hope someday we choose our status for the greater good and stop this confusion. Hope this helps answer some questions, but if you have more, then just ask.


Learn more about Valerie:

Valerie is a Communications student who likes to write about anything that comes to her head. A movie, music and video games lover, Valerie dreams of one day becoming a well-known scriptwriter and producer.

In the meantime, Valerie shares her daily musings with readers at her blog site where we learn such interesting facts about Valerie like she is a soprano singer, her first pet was a duck and for quiet time she likes to spend hours in the bathroom playing video games.

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  • Ed
    February 5, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Great first post! 😛 Reminds me of a post I wrote a while ago. I was surprised that some people here in Louisiana knew something about Puerto Rico, including that it’s a commonwealth…but those were few and far in between :'(

  • Carmen
    February 6, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I love Valerie! Her personality is evident in her writing style. As a fellow Latina, she is someone I can relate to. Can’t wait for her next post.

  • Leann
    April 17, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I’m glad to see someone bringing this issue to light. I think we have to remember that its not just confusing it is a delicate matter for those on the island because becoming a state isn’t just a matter of choosing it would mean lots of changes. Some believe right now they get the best of both worlds and others do not see it that way. I only just found this site but I look forward to reading more.

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