Puerto Rico points the way ahead for the entire United States?

Puerto Rico has not always received positive media coverage, especially in recent times. The debt crisis, resulting largely from financial arrangements imposed externally, has made life difficult for many on the island in the past decade. Hurricane Maria and the Trump Administration’s response did not improve matters, to say the least. Most recently, the Puerto Rican Governor became embroiled in a scandal about the reportedly corrupt and discriminatory conduct of senior officials – including the Governor himself. The Governor, Ricardo Roselló, initially insisted that he and his administration would nonetheless continue intact while pursuing an agenda favoring the interests of large companies over those of the general public. That all changed, however, when union leadership, rank-and-file teachers and students, environmental advocates, civil rights activists, investigative journalists, and other progressives came together to sustain the largest general strike since Puerto Rico became part of the United States.

Although participants in the general strike came from diverse backgrounds and may have had different priorities, at least initially, they were united in recognizing the fundamental unfairness of an administration benefitting political and economic elites while many people still struggle to provide for their families and communities. Despite apparently long odds, hundreds of thousands of people continued to participate in the general strike every day until the regime stepped down under a cloud of corruption and discrimination allegations. Increasing numbers of legal experts, media analysts, political commentators, and ordinary people have concluded that the Trump Administration has problems similar to those of the Roselló Administration. What will be the response of people living on the mainland United States? Time will tell.

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