Despite the U. This act had the formal effect of eradicating any trace of a Spanish colonial legacy and initiated the dominance of Anglo-Saxon culture. Yet, a century later, the main lingua franca on the island was still incontestably Spanish, and the vibrancy of its usage is for many Puerto Ricans proof of the unquenchable nature of their unique identity. We declare our mother tongue to be our most precious sign of identity. We project our potential, discovering ourselves inside ourselves, wanting to be ourselves, fighting against being someone else.
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In , Spain offered an Autonomic Charter to both Cuba and Puerto Rico in a desperate attempt to retain its last two colonies in the Western Hemisphere. Puerto Rican liberal Criollos accepted.
The Cuban Rebels and revolutionary Puerto Ricans in the exile rejected the offer. Sixteen Puerto Rican delegates were to be elected by popular vote to represent the island in the cortes of the kingdom while three senators were to be chosen by an assembly of elected officials to serve in the Peninsular Congress.
The charter also provided for the creation of a cabinet by the wining coalition or party. The seven ministries of the new cabinet were of extreme importance and included: Treasury; Agriculture, Industry and Commerce; Public Works, Communication and Transportation; Public Education; and Justice and Government, plus a presiding cabinet member.
However, as established by Article 41, the governor retained command of all the armed forces in the island, and all authorities and offices remained subordinated to his office. Thus, while seeking liberal reforms, Sagasta and the liberals circumvented the most republican of Spanish institutions. The new regime was inaugurated On February 8, and general elections were held in March 27 of the same. Of roughly , votes the autonomistas obtained over 97, versus the conservatives 3, votes.
On April 10 of the same year the first cabinet was formed and the three senators chosen. On July 17, , constitutional guarantees were reinstated and the Insular Parliament was inaugurated. Eight days later the United States invaded Puerto Rico. However, the circumstances of such success must be examined.
By , the Cuban war of independence was in full swing and diplomatic relations between the United States and Spain had reached a historical low. In , when the Cuban rebellion reignited with the Grito de Baire , the U. The Spaniards had to facilitate Cuban trade with the U. When it became evident that the Spaniards could not bring an end to the war by military means, the Cleveland administration took a firmer stand seeking to gain concessions for the Cubans hoping that such measures would stop the conflict and prevent the independence of the island.
The Cuban rebels themselves had become an unwanted third party. By it was clear that sooner or later the Cuban rebels would win the war. For three years, the Cubans had been destroying the infrastructure of the island rendering the Spanish army incapable of launching major military actions.
Unlike their counterparts in Puerto Rico, the Cuban leaders had the military means to obtain independence. It is within this context that the autonomic charter of came into existence. Soon after the second class battleship Maine exploded in Havana harbor on February 15, , the U.
As a result of its victory over Spain, and by virtue of the Treaty of Paris of December 10, , the United States gained full control over Puerto Rico, Guam, Wake island, and the Philippines, and limited control — by the Teller Amendment — over Cuba.
That they did not have a voice in the Paris protocols evidenced the ephemeral and capricious nature of liberal overtures within the Spanish political establishment. There seem to be over 20, votes invalidated or not counted. This posture was the result of a century-old policy which favored, and was ready to support Spanish sovereignty over the island. This rationale was based on the assumption that a Cuba controlled by a weak Spain would be nearly as valuable to the U.
The Cuban rebels immediately rejected the overture and eventually so did the autonomistas in Puerto Rico, who also decided not to participate in the elections. Spanish criminal behavior was widely publicized, and perhaps exaggerated, by the yellow press, but reporters did nothing but to say what the public wanted to hear. Furthermore, religious papers supported intervention on moral grounds, using the same axioms behind Manifest Destiny.
By , opinion polls coincide that something had to be done about Cuba. The Platt Amendement defined American-Cuban relations for four decades. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.
You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. October 22, October 22, Dr. Harry Franqui-Rivera. Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public. Name required. Post was not sent - check your email addresses!
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