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Book details
  • Genre:POLITICAL SCIENCE
  • SubGenre:Political Ideologies / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:174
  • Format:Paperback
  • eBook ISBN:9781667837963
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667837956

The Struggle for the Independence of Puerto Rico

by Juan Antonio Corretjer

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Overview
"The Struggle for the Independence of Puerto Rico" (La lucha por la independencia de Puerto Rico) is an essay on the history of Puerto Rico's attempts at liberation from colonial rule from Spain, in the 19th century, and from United States colonialism from 1898 to the present. Written in 1949, not only is it an outline for historians, but it is also an eyewitness account of Puerto Rican history that has been purposely excluded from the country's official history books. Author Juan Antonio Corretjer was a participant in the ascendancy and heyday of the Partido Nacionalista (Nationalist Party), and in 1936, with the rest of the party's leadership, was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment and exile in federal penitentiaries in Atlanta, Georgia, and in Manhattan, New York City.
Description
"The Struggle for the Independence of Puerto Rico" (La lucha por la independencia de Puerto Rico) is an essay on the history of Puerto Rico's attempts at liberation from colonial rule from Spain, in the 19th century, and from United States colonialism from 1898 to the present. Written in 1949, not only is it an outline for historians, but it is also an eyewitness account of Puerto Rican history that has been purposely excluded from the country's official history books. Author Juan Antonio Corretjer was a participant in the ascendancy and heyday of the Partido Nacionalista (Nationalist Party), and in 1936, with the rest of the party's leadership, was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment and exile in federal penitentiaries in Atlanta, Georgia, and in Manhattan, New York City. "Why?" The reader might ask, is this work being translated almost fifty years after its publication? The reason is simpler than one might expect: It is because Puerto Rico remains a colony of the United States. Although modern technology is familiar to many islanders, and there is a façade of economic prosperity, Puerto Ricans have no political power to decide upon economic, trade, or political policies. Over the past few decades, more and more reasons have surfaced to suggest an English edition of the book is critical to have published. Reasons include the current push from certain politicians in Washington towards annexation of Puerto Rico to the United States is strong and undeniable. In addition to this, there's been a shift in favor of statehood from progressive organizations and individuals in that country who once supported independence for the Island. With imminent threats painting a destructive future on Puerto Rico's behalf, it is important as many people learn about the "why" of this subject as possible. Statehood will mean the demise of a Latin American country that has its own cultural expressions, unique characteristics, and needs that are not consonant with the needs of the United States. The treatment of Puerto Ricans—as of native Hawaiians since the granting of statehood to that archipelago, and the Mexicans who were living in the western territories taken in the nineteenth century—will continue to be that of second-class citizens dispossessed of their national identity and sovereignty. For the United States, Puerto Rico is primarily a military bastion from which to threaten the integrity of the rest of Latin America, and a source of cannon fodder in times of war. The footnotes—not in the original text—are brief clarifications for readers who know nothing about the history of Puerto Rico. Some wordings have been changed to actualize, and to call attention to the fact that the passage of time has seen no fundamental difference in the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. The names of the political parties were left in Spanish, to avoid confusion with similar names of parties in the United States. In addition, the reader must bear in mind that America is all of the Americas, and not exclusively the portion in North America occupied by the United States. Consuelo Corretjer Lee December 7, 1999 New York
About the author
Juan Antonio Corretjer, born in Ciales, Puerto Rico on March 3, 1908, was a poet of extraordinary sensibility, essayist, journalist, and gifted speaker. One of the most important Puerto Rican political and literary figures of all time, his many poetic works were inspired by his love for his homeland. Life in the country is presented in all of its dimensions and perspectives, gathering the innermost feelings of the nation, and shaping the poetic lifeblood of its history. A recurrent theme in his poetry is the love of family, which to him is not only parents, wife, and children, but also the people from his country. Corretjer the writer of prose has a collection of short stories, El cumplido, and an important collection of essays, that probe into the very heart of Puerto Rico's historical problems, and the contradictions between the reformist and revolutionary tendencies that have characterized the struggle for national liberty. His works about literary and patriotic figures, the function and meaning of art, the imperial colonial impositions on the Puerto Ricans, and the myths, realities¬ and future of the Island combine a deep knowledge of his country¬ and of the writer's craft. In 1924 the magazine Puerto Rico Ilustrado published some of his early poems, and in 1927 he was initiated into journalism at the newspaper La Democracia, where he worked as a reporter, writer, editorialist and columnist, totally immersed in a literary career. But his course changed in 1930, when he joined the Partido Nacionalista (Nationalist Party) and was elected secretary, as Pedro Albizu Campos became president. He participated in the assault to the colonial senate in 1932, and in the sugar industry workers' strike of 1934. That year he was appointed the party's delegate abroad to obtain support for the cause of independence. He traveled to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba, participated in the Cuban general strike of March 1935, was arrested, imprisoned, tried, declared persona non grata, and expelled from that country. A year after returning from Cuba, he was jailed at La Princesa for refusing to surrender the minutes and logbooks of the Partido Nacionalista to the Federal Court. On July 30, 1936, he received a ten-year sentence of imprisonment and exile with Albizu Campos, Luis F. Velázquez, Clemente Soto Vélez, Erasmo Velázquez, Pablo Rosado Ortiz, Juan Gallardo Santiago, and Julio Héctor Velázquez. All were transported to a federal prison in Atlanta, Georgia on June 7, 1937. In addition to his journalistic career in Puerto Rico, Corretjer worked in that profession in Cuba and the United States. He founded several newspapers of pro-independence editorial line in Puerto Rico, directed the Partido Nacionalista's newspaper, El Nacionalista, and founded and directed Pueblos Hispanos, while in exile in New York from 1943 until 1945. Returned from exile, Corretjer continued his political activism through organizing, public speaking and writing against United States Imperialism in Puerto Rico until the end of his life. The Puerto Rican communities in the United States knew him as the voice for surviving puertorriqueñidad (Puertoricanness) despite the up rootedness and exile. Corretjer was always present where there was a struggle for the rights of his people, and unwavering faith in justice for all peoples was his trademark.
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