Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2021


This article compares two conjunctures in Puerto Rico's modern history: 1928 through 1940; and 2006 through 2020. The first created conditions that led to Puerto Rico's post-World War II economic growth. The second is marked by a watershed moment in which a massive peaceful popular uprising forced a governor out of office. In both conjunctures, the federal government and the insular administration failed to anticipate and manage the crisis, and also failed to lift a traumatized Puerto Rico from the ravishes of economic depressions and hurricanes. The 1928-40 conjuncture resulted in a realignment of the insular political and economic order that endured for decades. A colony in crisis moved the United States to intervene to restore stability in the 1930s. Although the 2006-20 conjuncture resembles the first, its transformative impact on Puerto Rico's political future is uncertain. However, unprecedented protests in summer 2019 revealed the depth of popular antipathy to the prevailing political order and rejection of the traditional political parties. The colonial situation is so vexing that Congress may be compelled to rework the antiquated colonial formula. [Keywords: colonialism, summer uprising, New Deal, PROMESA, Vieques, Section 936]



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