Sunday, July 11, 2021

More on Puerto Rico and statehood vs. independence for National Mojito Day

I told my readers "I might have more tomorrow for Mojito Day, as I ran into several more videos on the subject I want to share," in the middle of An update on Puerto Rican statehood for Piña Colada Day 2021. I begin with France 24 English asking Will Puerto Rico soon become the 51st US state?*

Pedro Pierluisi, who has been governor of #PuertoRico since January 2021, is pushing for the Caribbean archipelago to become the 51st US state. This would put an end to its current status of unincorporated territory and give more rights to its inhabitants. But while the election of Joe #Biden seems to give hope to those who want US statehood, others would prefer Puerto Rico to become completely independent. Our regional correspondents Laurence Cuvillier and Matthieu Comin report.
My longtime readers won't be surprised that the parts about energy and food caught my attention. Hurricane Maria really put energy in the forefront for the island and Samantha Bee looked at the issue in Power to the People | The Great American* Puerto Rico Part 3, one of the videos in the playlist I linked to in Samantha Bee helps update 'Vox on Puerto Rico statehood and John Oliver on territories,' the fourth most read entry of the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News. I think going solar is the energy path Puerto Rico should take regardless of its choice of status.

As for Puerto Rico producing only 15% of its own food, that's definitely a colonial relationship with the mainland. However, statehood by itself may not improve the situation, as Hawaii also produced only 15% of its own food in 2016 despite being a major agricultural state. That's because most of its farms produced food for export to the mainland and elsewhere. Hawaii's Governor pledged to double local food production by 2020. As correspondent Laurence Cuvillier pointed out, a similar initiative for Puerto Rico shows potential for economic growth. Still, it could be worse; Alaska only produces 4% of its own food, a stat I should tell my students.

CBS News covered much of the same territory, pun intended, in Fighting for Paradise: Puerto Rico's Future, a CBSN Original, late last month.

In the midst of economic, political and climate crises, Puerto Rico has lost nearly 12% of its population over the last decade, mostly to join the 6 million Puerto Rican diaspora now living in the 50 states. Tax incentives meant to lure investments have led some Puerto Ricans to fear that the island is turning into a fiscal paradise for wealthy outsiders, driving even more locals out. Many administrations have pushed for a more prosperous Puerto Rico, but they often blame the territorial status for falling short. Is statehood, independence, or something else the solution? And who gets to decide?

In addition to food, CBS News examined the Puerto Rican government-debt crisis and its effect on the economy. This looks a lot like Michigan's Emergency Financial Manager law and has the same effect on local government. I didn't like it here so I don't like it there.

CBS News has several videos expanding and promoting the documentary, but I'm wrapping up this section instead by repeating what I wrote yesterday: "I have a bad feeling that if the Republicans in Washington D.C. continue to block statehood, sentiment might switch over to free association or outright independence. That would be no be my preferred outcome, but if it's what Puerto Ricans want, then I'll support it, while still being upset at Republicans for making it happen."

Follow over the jump for today's celebration of National Mojito Day.

Mojitos are actually a Cuban drink and I have used the day before to examine U.S.-Cuban relations, but I can do that on Daiquiri Day. Instead, I'm celebrating today's fake food holiday with How to Make a Mojito Cocktail | House of Bacardi | Puerto Rico from Onboard.

House of #Bacardi (it’s always five o’clock here), where we learn to make an authentic #mojito.

We start with a scoop of mint leaves then muddle five limes — making sure to squeeze every last drop of essential oils — and add two ounces of Bacardi rum and sugar to taste. Ice cubes to chill and a vigorous shake to blend the flavors follow. We finish off our cocktail with a splash of club soda and listo. ¡Salud!
Here's to adding a Puerto Rican spin to National Mojito Day!

*I chose this video not only because it had the best preview image and description of the ones I was considering, but also because France has provided the most page views from any country to my blog the past three months, edging out the United States by 400. That's enough for France to jump from seventh all-time on March 20, 2021 to third now, leapfrogging over the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, and Canada. Thank you, welcome to the blog, and please keep reading. May you not be like the readers of Zombie Apocalypse Index for Day of the (Walking) Dead. Shortly after I commented about the number of page views that entry attracted last year, its page views collapsed.

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