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Understanding Puerto Rico's Struggles With Washington Through Satire

Categories: Caribbean, Latin America, North America, Puerto Rico (U.S.), U.S.A., Arts & Culture, Citizen Media, History, Humor, International Relations, Media & Journalism, Politics
Screenshot taken from video. [1]

Screenshot taken from video [1].

At a time when almost all the news about Puerto Rico in mainstream media is firmly focussed on the island's fiscal and economic woes [2], the deluge of negative headlines making the rounds on social media can feel overwhelming.

It is precisely in times like these [3] then, that satire can step in and play a vital role in helping to make sense of the news, or rather, the ways in which the news are often framed.

The Juice Media [4], a Facebook page which specializes in satire, created a video [5] about what it believes to be the root cause of many of Puerto Rico's troubles and disadvantages: US colonialism [6].

Widely shared on Facebook, its creators were encouraged to produce the clip after the success of a similar video about Hawai'i [7] in their “Honest Government Advert” series.

The video summarizes some of the ways the US government has historically exploited Puerto Rico, from using it as a bombing practice site for decades [8], to sterilizing [9] over a third of Puerto Rican women without their knowledge or consent [10] in the mid-twentieth century.

The cheery presenter in the clip begins:

Fortunately, however, few know about the real Puerto Rico, a Territory of the United States since 1898 when we seized it from the Spanish […] who in turn stole it from the Taino […] Which makes Puerto Ricans US citizens—well second-class citizens… [because] despite fighting in every one of our wars they still can’t vote for President and have no representation in Congress. In other words, US citizens who have f*-all say in the laws the US Government makes for them…

The video can be watched in full below: