As a Puerto Rican who was born and raised in Hartford, I did not think much about how or why my parents are here in the United States. It was after reading the articles in Hist 247 Reader: Latinos in the USA that I began to question the reasons and conditions of my grandparent's migration. Many think that Puerto Ricans began to migrate to the United States after 1898 when the United States took over Puerto Rico but Puerto Ricans have been migrating to the US since 1840's. The Puerto Rican migration is best described in two different experiences. The first experience from later 19th Century to early 20th Century is the migration due to the economic and social situations in Puerto Rico while the second experience from 1940's to the present is mostly due to the chain migration and the thought that the United States will offer them a better life. Both waves of migration brought new experiences to the United States like the struggle of identity, politics, and power.
The fundamental motive for leaving Puerto Rico was economic. The article "The Genesis of the Puerto Rican Migration" mentions that during 1878-1879 there was a major shift in capitalist mode from haciendas to sugar plantations. Around 1870 braceros and peasants began to leave the island to go to Santo Domingo, Cuba, etc... Under North American domination 1898-1901, Puerto Rico became an expansion in which allowed " for control of the means of production in the colony and the transformation of the "sugar islands" into exporters of products needed in the metropolis" (Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueño 348). To the United States, Puerto Rico became a means to gain more capital and power in the Caribbean. I agree with C...
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...which our early ancestors had to deal with we still have to deal with like discrimination, stereotypes, and unemployment but not as badly as they did. We need to become one instead of trying to compete with each other in order to achieve what our ancestors wanted. Our politics have gone from class politics, ethnic politic to identity politics. We need to keep fighting in order to be represented in government and for our voices to be heard.
Barradas, Efrain. "How to Read Bernardo Vega" Hist. 247 Reader
Cruz, Jose E. Identity and Power: Puerto Rican Politics and the Challenge of Ethnicity. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998.
Dietz, James. "Migration and International Corporations: The Puerto Rican Model of Development" Hist. 247 Reader
Figueroa, Luis, ed. His. 247 Reader. Department of History. Trinity College. Spring 1999 edition.
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