Response

Seeds of Rebellion
In late July of 2019, millions of people took to the streets of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. The weeks prior to this convergence played witness to incredible ineptitude, corruption, and blatant disregard for human life from the highest levels of office in Puerto Rico. Seemingly channeling decades if not centuries of frustrations, the Puerto rican people ousted the then governor Ricardo Rosselló following just two weeks of protest on August 2nd.

In many ways, the history of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in the US is the history of American Empire. In many ways remaining a colony to this day, the small island has been at the whim of American empire, serving as the site for military testing in Vieques; been the testing ground for various economic programs including displacement of rural workers through an unequal accelerated industrialization period through Operation bootstrap; and the implementation of neoliberal policies over the last few years including the de facto junta known as the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA).
Oscar Lopez Rivera’s testimonial is a powerful account of revolutionary love, one guided by an unyielding commitment to freedom and justice. HIs narrative personalizes the histories covered in Juan Gonzalez’s chapters. Reading these two pieces alongside one another, identify the particular experiences of Puerto Ricans in the US following WWII that informed the second and third generations’ radicalization. How did this parallel the imperialist policies on the island? In what ways did the social-economic realities in the US compel Puerto Ricans to fight for dignity and justice? How did this compare to the colonial relationship to the island?

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