The forgotten colony: the fall of the Independence Movement in Puerto Rico
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The Grito the Lares in 1868 marked the highpoint of Puerto Rico’s fledgling independence movement. Today, this independent movement is very small. In the early half of the 19th century, as wars of independence spread throughout Latin America, Puerto Rico remained practically moved towards such aspirations. Other than the Grito de Lares and the efforts of some political parties, the Puerto Rican people were not interested in being an independent nation. Today, the Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño (the Puerto Rican Independent Party, or PIP) garners a little above two percent of the votes in general elections. Once an idea that at least provoked strong nationalist sentiments has now fallen in the periphery of the political arena. Why is there so little support for Puerto Rican independence? I hypothesize that if the history affects how people vote in referendums on Puerto Rico’s status, it has to do so through information available to voters, which is generally provided through education. In other words, I am interested in seeing how specific information about the independence movement in Puerto Rico affects voting behavior.I have used historical analysis, personal interviews to party leaders, and an experimental survey. I demonstrate that presenting voters with historical information about the leader of the Partido Nacionalista de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, or PNPR), Pedro Albizu Campos, boosts support for independence by about one third.
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