Things That Matter

Puerto Ricans Are Low Key Wishing Trump Follows Through With His Plan To Trade The Caribbean Island For Greenland

In case you missed it, Trump recently assumed the United States could purchase Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark. When the prime minister of Denmark publicly denounced that even the idea that Greenland was for sale was “absurd,” Trump took to Twitter to call her “nasty.”

Last year, a former White House official reportedly heard President Trump joke about trading Puerto Rico for Greenland in a meeting. Ever since the former official leaked the story, Boricuas are the ones cracking all the jokes.

Boricuas are daring Trump to make the trade, given Denmark allowed for Greenland to govern themselves in 1979.

@dartinaperez / Twitter

In 2008, Greenland voted for the Self-Government Act which transferred even more power from the Danish government to its own local government. Since then, Greenland has gradually assumed responsibility for its local laws, law enforcement and finances. Plus, for Puerto Ricans on Twitter,”the Danish cookie tin cans will finally have cookies instead of sewing thread and needles.”

Now, Boricuas are seeing Denmark’s influence everywhere.

@juliana_icm / Twitter

We always knew our abuelas were brujas, seeing into the future. It’s like they knew that the only way we could repair (though, not with needle and thread) Puerto Rico’s government would be with the Danes.

Are Puerto Ricans soon-to-become a “Product of Denmark?”

@miss_gines / Twitter

“Toda una vida en training,” tweeted one Boricua. Puerto Ricans are taking to Twitter to discuss how they might already be culturally primed to become part of Denmark.

They have already started calling themselves the “Caribbean Vikings.”

@NielInRealLife / Twitter

“You can hear the Caribbean Vikings coming from the dembow beat over the horizon,” tweets one Puerto Rican. Can you imagine? ???? 

Except, they’ve made some changes to the traditional Viking gear.

@arnaldot76 / Twitter

Don’t underestimate what Boricuas can do with a plantain. You might know us for our mofongo, but you won’t survive an encounter with a plantain-wielding Puerto Rican out for vengeance.

Puerto Ricans have googled their new queen, and they approve.

@regcoral / Twitter

“She looks so much better than Trump,” tweets one Puerto Rican. “Count me in, too!” Another says, “love the idea. Denmark will definitely treat us better. Long live the Queen!” The #DinamarcaPR movement is alive and well, y’all.

That said, Puerto Ricans are divided on having to learn another language.

@vodkatito / Twitter

When Spain colonized Puerto Rico, the indigenous peoples’ (Tainos) were brutally killed, along with their language. With Spaniard rule, Spanish became the most spoken language on the island. Now, as a territory of the United States, English is also an official language. Some folks are tired of colonialism, while others are down to learn a new language in exchange for free healthcare and respect.

Some have joked that they’d be trading up from Captain America to Thor.

@mewlngasgardian / Twitter

“We’re trading in Captain America for Thor #DinamarcaPR,” tweeted on Boricua. The funniest part about all of this, is that the Danes want Puerto Rico. A Danish person replied to this tweet saying, “You’re more than welcome to join Denmark. It’ll be an honor to have Puerto Rico be a part of our country.”

The Nordic people actually really want Boricuas to join their country.

@a_fly_guy / Twitter

Another Dane laid it all out for Boricuas:
“Love you guys, you are more than welcome to join our little kingdom. *Free health care
*Free schools
*Free education and you get government support while doint it.
*Work week 37 hours
*Low unenployment
And the best thing, we do not have Trump and Obama are visiting next month!”

The merch is already in production.

@la_guapa / Twitter

“You guys bring the beaches we bring the beer,” one Dane tweets to the #DinamarcaPR. Another Puerto Rican is just keen on the idea that “Denmark’s PM won’t throw power towels at their brown citizens.”

At the end of the day, #DinamarcaPR is a joke, but government autonomy isn’t.

@lherrero / Twitter

Some folks are serious about this, tweeting “And they think we are joking!” Others acknowledge that #DinamarcaPR is just one way that Puerto Ricans are expressing their desire for a government that takes care of them. “I kind of am [joking] about joining Denmark. That’s absurd. But that we want actual functioning government with real policies that help people. No one is joking about that.”

Just weeks after forcing their Governor out of power, Puerto Ricans aren’t quitting until they get health care, free education and some respect.

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Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

Things That Matter

Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

Photo via George W. Davis, Public Domain

Today, March 22nd marks Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud in Puerto Rico–the date that marks the emancipation of slaves in Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, enslaved peoples were emancipated in 1873–a full decade after the U.S. officially abolished slavery. But unlike the U.S. mainland, Puerto Rico celebrates today as an official holiday, where many businesses are closed.

The emancipation of Puerto Rican slaves was a very different process than the United States’. For one, the emancipation was gradual and over three years.

When the Spanish government abolished slavery in Puerto Rico 1873, enslaved men and women had to buy their freedom. The price was set by their “owners”. The way the emancipated slaves bought their freedom was through a process that was very similar to sharecropping in the post-war American south. Emancipated slaves farmed, sold goods, and worked in different trades to “buy” their freedom.

In the same Spanish edict that abolished slavery, slaves over the age of 60 were automatically freed. Enslaved children who were 5-years-old and under were also automatically freed.

Today, Black and mixed-race Puerto Ricans of Black descent make up a large part of Puerto Rico’s population.

The legacy of enslaved Black Puerto Ricans is a strong one. Unlike the United States, Puerto Rico doesn’t classify race in such black-and-white terms. Puerto Ricans are taught that everyone is a mixture of three groups of people: white Spanish colonizers, Black African slaves, and the indigenous Taíno population.

African influences on Puerto Rican culture is ubiquitous and is present in Puerto Rican music, cuisine, and even in the way that the island’s language evolved. And although experts estimate that up to 60% of Puerto Ricans have significant African ancestry, almost 76% of Puerto Ricans identified as white only in the latest census poll–a phenomenon that many sociologists have blamed on anti-blackness.

On Puerto Rico’s Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud, many people can’t help but notice that the island celebrates a day of freedom and independence when they are not really free themselves.

As the fight for Puerto Rican decolonization rages on, there is a bit of irony in the fact that Puerto Rico is one of the only American territories that officially celebrates the emancipation of slaves, when Puerto Rico is not emancipated from the United States. Yes, many Black Americans recognize Juneteenth (June 19th) as the official day to celebrate emancipation from slavery, but it is not an official government holiday.

Perhaps, Puerto Rico celebrates this historical day of freedom because they understand how important the freedom and independence is on a different level than mainland Americans do.

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Puerto Rico Lost Its Giant Telescope But Now It Hopes To Build A Giant Space Port

Things That Matter

Puerto Rico Lost Its Giant Telescope But Now It Hopes To Build A Giant Space Port

Puerto Rico’s famed Arecibo telescope collapsed in December after years of neglect and damage from earthquakes and hurricanes. But the island is looking to the future with the hope that the U.S. territory could become a major hub for space exploration as a potential space port.

Puerto Rico seeks to be a hub for international space travel.

Puerto Rico may best be known for its tourist packed beaches and its bankrupt finances, but as the island continues to recover from the economic disasters in the wake of hurricanes and earthquakes, it’s looking to the future.

And to many officials on the island, the future is in space exploration. The Caribbean island has put out a request for information, or RFI, seeking companies interested in turning a sleepy airport at the base of the El Yunque National Rainforest into a space port.

The island’s location between North and South America and close to the Equator gives it “viable trajectories to a large range of desirable low earth orbit launch inclinations,” Puerto Rico’s Port Authority said in a notice posted Friday.

The potential base could be a major boost to the Puerto Rican economy.

The site is currently a small airport that already houses an 11,000 feet runway and offers flights to various points in the territory. But with the existing infrastructure, officials state it could easily be converted into a space port.

If the site does generate interest, it would be a major boost to Puerto Rico’s small but vibrant aerospace sector. Honeywell Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace all have manufacturing plants on the island.

Puerto Rico would also join a growing number of U.S. states and jurisdictions that are vying for pieces of the commercial launch business, which is expected to become a trillion-dollar market over the next decade.

The executive director of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (APPR), Joel A. Pizá Batiz, believes that “The aerospace industry is one of the economic sectors that is experiencing the most rapid growth. In fact, in the midst of the pandemic it was one of the few sectors that did not receive much impact,” he explained.

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