Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Puerto Rico - March 2, 1917 (Jones Act)

Life is what happens while you are making other plans. Death happens, too. My post today is "Reflections on a Puerto Rican Street Dog". I have not been to Puerto Rico, but 9 1/2 years ago I adopted a plain brown dog through the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, Massachusetts. She was a rescue dog from the streets of San Juan - a "sato" as they are called there. Save-A-Sato is a group in Puerto Rico that rescues street dogs and ships them to the states for adoption. Our loyal dog, Clover, died last week.

Clover was a feisty little dog. For the most part she did not like men, except James, and my cousin Chris, whom she met only two weeks ago. She must have bitten at least a dozen of our friends (all men). She also was pretty aggressive toward other dogs, even those who were bigger and stronger than she was. We called her "one-woman dog" because she followed me around the house - couldn't stand to be on a different floor than I was. She was afraid of our basement for some reason, so when I went down there she would just stand at the top of the steps and whine until I came up. I thought of her more of a familiar than a pet. (If you are not sure what I mean by "familiar", well, muggles have pets.)

I have not yet seen the movie I selected for Puerto Rico (Manuela Y Manuel) or read the book I checked out from the library (When I was Puerto Rican). Part of this is due to the fact that too many celebrations came up at the same time, but it was also because we can't plan death. Tending to Clover and mourning her passing took much of my time the last week. I will write supplemental posts within the next few weeks as I catch up with my reading and viewing.

For dinner last night we ate on old favorite from The Well Filled Tortilla Cookbook by Victoria Wise and Susanna Hoffman. Made with chicken, walnuts, bananas, and with an orange-onion salsa these have a nice sweetness, and so many textures. Quite delicious. We hadn't had them for a while. Thanks, James for preparing them.

Some readers will correctly point out that Puerto Rico is not a state. And, by the way if I'm going to do Puerto Rico, why not Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the other U.S. territories. I guess I only have this to say - I never had a dog from those places.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory in the Caribbean Sea. The Jones Act signed by President Woodrow Wilson on March 2, 1917 gave Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship. This effectively created another population of men to draft as the U.S. prepared to enter World War I.

Barack Obama is their president, although the citizens of Puerto Rico were not given the opportunity to vote for him in the 2008 election, nor do they do not have a voting representative in Congress, nor do they not pay federal taxes. It would be unconsititutional to require them to do such:  it would be taxation without representation. This status is in fact, not what the majority of Puerto Rican citizens want. Some would like to become a state, others would like to become an independent country. This question comes for a vote before the Puerto Rican citizens occasionally, but since there are three choices (status quo, statehood, independence) there is never majority for any one of the three choices, effectively leaving the status quo. Citizens of Puerto Rico are free to move to any of the 50 States and set up residency, where they can register to vote, (and would then would be required to pay taxes).

Clover 1999-2010

Other Puerto Rico Posts
Puerto Rico Movie March 17, 2010
Puerto Rico Book April 20. 2010

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a very nice post, Pam. One of these days, we will get to PR, and when we do, we can stay at the Palmetto Guest House on Culebra, which is run by a couple who graduated from BSC before we had a chance to meet them in person:

    I have actually written a hazardous-waste permit application for a shampoo factory in Humacao, PR, even though I have never been to the island. It was nearly 20 years ago. Scratch that: more than 20 years ago. I was working in an environment-consulting firm, and was selected for the job because it required a bit of Spanish (which is exactly how much I know). I did all of the research, phone calls, writing, and mapping. The project also required a site visit, which my boss did. Sadly, she was such a workaholic that she was not doing the visit as a boondoggle -- she stayed in her hotel the whole time, wasting a perfectly good chance to explore (even though she was a fellow geographer).