Puerto Rico

unincorporated territory of the United States

Puerto Rico (officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Spanish: Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, literally the "Free Associated State of Puerto Rico"), is a self-governing commonwealth of the United States, an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean. Puerto Rico is an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands. The capital and largest city is San Juan. The island's official languages are Spanish, which is predominant, and English.

Puerto Rico's flag
Coat of arms of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico

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  • Now is when I understand that no matter what happens I will be Puerto Rican...the nation is in my blood...and this song is dedicated to that noble, little peasant (jibarito) Raphael and to my "Island of Enchantment". (translated from Spanish lyrics)
    • Marc Anthony's 1999 version of the song Preciosa, Puerto Rico's unofficial anthem. With jibarito (little peasant) he refers to Rafael Hernández, the song's original author, saying he is a true Puerto Rican. Island Songs: A Global Repertoire


  • Puerto Rico will be the first half-and-half banana republic state incorporated that will secede from the union. Then will come Liberty Island, then Mississippi Burning, Texas BBQ, Kentucky Fried Chicken—all of them—New York Yankees, Jersey Devils-you name it—will want to break apart—and demand a separation—a divorce.
  • Giannina Braschi, United States of Banana (2011). p. 53.

  • When I was a girl, my parents would say, "Puerto Rico can't be free because we would be poor like Haiti or Cuba." It turns out that out of the fear of being poor, we didn't dare to become free. Then Hurricane Maria comes, devastates everything, and maybe we are now as poor as Haiti and Cuba, and not free.
  • If I were Joan of Arc de Bonaparte I would become governor of Puerto Rico and make my island a state—and then become president of the United States of Banana—and head south to conquer all of Latin America and the Caribbean—and swoop back north to take over Canada. I could do all that—if only I could decide between three options: Wishy, Wishy-Washy, and Washy.
  • Giannina Braschi, United States of Banana (2011). p. 53.

  • Soy boricua. In spite of my family and in spite of my country, I’m writing the process of the Puerto Rican mind—taking it out of context as a native and a foreigner-expressing it through Spanish, Spanglish, and English—Independencia,Estado Libre Asociado, and Estadidad—from the position of a nation, a colony, and a state—Wishy, Wishy-Washy, and Washy—not as one political party that is parted into piddley parts and partied out.
  • Giannina Braschi, United States of Banana (2011). p.29.

  • I want the secession of Puerto Rico from the U. S. of Banana.
  • Giannina Braschi, United States of Banana (2011). p.55.


  • Everything is so new in Puerto Rico. I wanted to build something the way Puerto Rico started, something from the old land.
    • Roberto Clemente, discussing his recently opened restaurant, El Carretero (roughly translated as "one who leads the ox-drawn cart"), as quoted in "Roberto Clemente Baseball's Brightest Superstar" by Arnold Hano, in Boy's Life (March 1968), pp. 25 and 54


  • The United States for many years has tried to convert Puerto Rico into a model of hybrid culture: the Spanish language with English inflections, the Spanish language with hinges on its backbone--the better to bow down before the Yankee soldier. Puerto Rican soldiers have been used as cannon fodder in imperialist wars, as in Korea, and have even been made to fire at their own brothers, as in the massacre perpetrated by the U.S. army a few months ago against the unarmed people of Panama--one of the most recent crimes carried out by Yankee imperialism. And yet, despite this assault on their will and their historical destiny, the people of Puerto Rico have preserved their culture, their Latin character, their national feelings, which in themselves give proof of the implacable desire for independence lying within the masses on that Latin American island.


  • Our Nation is proud of the progress made by the people of Porto Rico. Endowed with liberty, freedom, with self-government and individual opportunity through incorporation under the American flag, the island by the efforts of its citizens and the cooperation of the whole United States has in a single generation emerged from stagnation to a high place in the march of progress. Porto Rico is, indeed, a magnificent example of what a capable and intelligent people may accomplish under free institutions. You have, indeed, shown courage and initiative under these impulses of freedom and liberty. In proof of this progress I need but recall a few evidences. You have in this single generation since joining in our citizenship increased more than 60 percent in population, increased over 500 percent in material wealth and over 800 percent in attendance upon public schools. You have decreased illiteracy by almost 50 percent and the death rate has been diminished by more than 60 percent.


  • Give us statehood and your glorious citizenship will be welcome to us and to our children. If you deny us statehood, we decline your citizenship, frankly, proudly, as befits a people who . . . will preserve their conception of honor, which none can take from them . . .
    • Luis Muñoz Rivera, resident commissioner of Puerto Rico in a congressional meeting in 1916, about the U.S. conferring U.S. citizenship to citizens of Puerto Rico.[4]

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