We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Puerto Rico in Cold War

The whole doc is available only for registered users
  • Pages: 12
  • Word count: 2948
  • Category: War

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

Puerto Rico is presented as a part of the United States which is incorporated and still is a part of Latin America, as well as the Caribbean (Arnesen, 63). The academic studies that focus on politics, nationalism, colonial studies, post-colonial studies, democracy and imperialism of Puerto Rico are full of difficulties. The act of being owned by the United States, as well as Latin America, is the source of frequently conflictive political affairs of the region. The discussion below demonstrates the central role occupied by Puerto Ricans during a critical phase in the history of the Cold War.

During the pick of the Cold War era, Latin America was a strategically positioned pillar of doctrinal defense which was at the central of power Struggle that involved the East and the West (Holden, 143). After the emergence of the revolution of Cuba and the defeat of the administration of Fulgencio Batista, United States was alarmed by the extent of the impact of Soviet Union in Latin America. The United States government thus invested heavily in retaining its influence at a higher level than the Soviet Union. As time progressed, the United States intensified its influence in Latin America through a process dubbed “The Dirty War” (Sotomayor). This process entailed the use of dubious actions that included either assisting or overthrowing regimes depending on their political orientation. In regimes with different political orientation from theirs, the United States supported insurrectionary groups and provided insurgents with weaponry and funds. They also participated in provocative operations such as the one dubbed “Operation Charly and the other dubbed “Operation Condor”. These engagements by the United States disturb the relationship between Latin America and the United States up to today.

Since the annexation of unincorporated Puerto Rico from the Spain in the year 1898, the country characterized a contradiction during the Cold War period where it belonged to Latin America culturally but to United States politically. Its Caribbean location made it an American response to Cuba a move that interrupted its political growth (Arnesen, 65). United States allowed Puerto Rico to endorse a grossly revised native constitution, but the trials to assert its sovereignty and to use it to nullify the use of the Territorial Clause was greatly frustrated by the United States. United States utilized its military to ensure the maintenance of the state of affairs for the fear that any change would affect their stay in the Caribbean (Holden, 145). This situation was further reinforced when Marxist guerrillas emerged at the height of the Puerto Rican independence movement (Holden, 145). The state of affairs remained the same for the rest of the Cold War period.

The Expansion of Marxism in Latin America

          In many Latin American countries, unreceptive oligarchies reigned through associations with the military creams and the United States (Sotomayor). The role of United States in the area had been established long before the Cold War, but this war gave United States a new dimension of the intervention. The middle of the 20th Century saw the region experience high state of economic expansion thus augmenting the influence and statuses of the lower classes (Holden, 146). This situation necessitated for social adjustment and the political insertion, conditions that challenged the robust United States’ effect on the economies of the region.In 1960s, Marxism ideology mounted it influence in Latin America resulting to fear on the part of the United States. This was because the instability of the region was a threat to national security of United States (Arnesen, 67). The revolutionaries of the region adopted guerrilla tactics that were highly encouraged by the revolution of Cuba. After the fall of Arbenz, some revolutionaries of the region, for example, Fidel Castro, converted armies and governments into a single unit and established single parties for their states. This situation made it hard to overthrow such colonies and to do so would require a military operation as opposed to a modest CIA operations.

The Involvement of America

          All through the years of the Cold War, the United States played the role of barricading the socialist revolutions and besieged the nationalist regimes that were supported by the Marxists. The CIA was used to overthrow other regimes suspected of converting to pro-communist. A good example of such a regime is Guatemala under the leadership of Jacobo Arbenz in 1954. Arbenz was overthrown soon after he had reallocated about 178,000 acres of UFC (United Fruit Company) acreage in Guatemala (Holden, 148).

The quest for sovereignty can be traced back to the time of foundation of PPD (Popular Democratic Party). Originally, the party was established to aid in the liberation of Puerto Rico, shortly after the split of the Liberal Party. The concept of a Free State was coined by Fernos and was incorporated in the PPD as an independent body affiliated to the United States through joint consent (Holden, 149). His initial idea of an independent association that kept a common coin, market entrance, and citizenship was first published in an article in 1939. He suggested an idea that permitted a suitable nationality that was linked, but not subservient to the other. This suggestion envisioned to discuss which rights and duties each side would preserve through a two-sided pact. Fernos argument was that the Commonwealth kingdom affiliation between Canada and the UK exceeded a meek form of sovereignty (Selvin, 146). He suggested that this association should be of the kind that is superior to any standing that would preserve the autonomy of Puerto Rico under the rule of Congress. Fernos continued to outline the ridicule that was present in the state of affairs of the time that the Congress continued to embrace the autonomy of Puerto Rico and yet it was not a sovereign of U.S. or even its people (Holden, 150).

Fernos continued to play a crucial role within the PPD more so in its lawmaking and finances.

          In the year 1946, Fernos suggested that the Congress should willingly express its readiness to forsake the sovereignty of Puerto Rico attained through the Paris Treaty (Selbin, 146). This move he said would allow the archipelago to establish a suitable self-government. He further suggested that the handover of sovereignty that occurred in 1898 should be nullified. The PPD further pushed for the election of a Puerto Rican Governor a request that President Truman consented through a veto (Holden, 151). In 1946, Governor Tugwell abandoned the office, and Pinero was appointed the first Puerto Rican governor under the rule of the American colony.Fernos afterward concentrated on the globalization of Puerto Rico as opposed to its growth in the confines dictated by the United States Constitution (Selbin, 146). He held that the economy required changing from the two-sided relations of the regional clause to a multifaceted model that permitted healthier trade alternatives. The preservation of the economic facets of the famous Foraker Legislation that would profit Puerto Rico over other countries with no formal association was advocated by Fernos (Selbin, 146). Among the gains to be realized was free trade and the partial decentralization to the Treasury of Puerto Rico of the remunerations collected from sales of native products. Afterward, fernos pursued an interest in pushing for the elimination of the famous Cabotage legislations (Selbin, 147). This move coincided with the implementation of Article 73 of the U.S. Charter by the Truman’s administration, an ingenuity that necessitated the self-determination of the regions that required self-government (Holden, 153). At the end of 1949, Fernos deliberated the final form of his project, and the manuscript was revised by a PPD established committee. There was further review on the project after which it was surrender to the House for debate. Then, Fernos approached a number of members of numerous Congressional committees as well as sub-committees and presented H.R. 7674 in 195 (Holden, 153).

However, Marcantonio strongly opposed the idea of Fernos’ project asserting that the Congress could not grant complete sovereignty to Puerto Rico (Sotomayor). The argument behind this was that doing so meant that the U.S. would subjugate its colonial prestige in Puerto Rico (Selbin, 147). Fernos was for the idea that if Congress could give back full control to the Philippines, maybe they could award the limited sovereignty that the first proposal of his pursued (Sotomayor). As a result of this, the reminder of the sovereignty would be willingly delegated. He acknowledged the fact that under the amended version of his proposal, much of the sovereignty of Puerto Rico would be retained by the Congress as dictated in the Paris Treaty (Sotomayor). Despite this fact, he still held that the control gained by the U.S. through the Paris Treaty was still restricted. He asserted so because the U.S. could not exceed the sovereignty reserved by Spain following the creation of the Constitution in 1876 and the Autonomy Charter of 1897 (David, 304).

With the knowledge that the model permitted by the Congress sidetracked from his original proposal by denying its sovereignty, Fernos pushed for several amendments that added to sovereignty of his proposal. In the period that led to this development, Munoz consistently veered away from the mutual philosophy that tied him to Fernos. Eventually, this situation led to a misunderstanding within the PPD triggering the exit of Vicente Polanco and the formation of PIP (Puerto Rican Independence Party). In June of the year 1946, Munoz distributed an article that redefined his perceptions of freedom and sovereignty (David, 306). Later, he defined the publication as a conglomeration of forces that yields actual power obligatory in effecting the will of the people.

This stand established a clear-cut contrast between Munoz and Fernos, who stood for sovereignty as a fundamental facet of his project. However despite of their parallel ideologies survived for some time. Eventually, Munoz public stances intensified and were geared towards conservatism after the Uprising of Jayuya (Sotomayor). On the other hand, Fernos maintained his loyalty to his liberal thoughts and began an ideology of distancing himself and kept this ideology from the public. The endeavored that followed were dictated by this breach, and their focus was to advance the extent of control that Puerto Rico had (Sotomayor). Although the endeavor was well-thought-out as an uplifting accomplishment, Fernos wasn’t contented with this kind and had formerly warned Munoz that it would be put to scrutiny immediately after its approval.

In 1962, Arturo Morales printed an analysis that claimed that the open association alleged by the 600 Public Law had to be scrutinized. This was attributed to its origin from archaic laws of 1900 that reinforced the incorporation of Puerto Rico. During this period, Munoz constantly used the terms Sovereignty as well as association to explain the purpose of the project and also in distinguishing between the project and full independence (David, 308). Efforts were made to notify U.S. of the phases that were deliberate but when both sides met, the deficiency of awareness on the part of Americans regarding Puerto Rico’s status was apparent. Afterward, Ferno and Jose Trias pressed for a two-stage process geared towards attaining the sovereignty from the Congress first and later apply it to a referendum that would embrace liberation and statehood. After several modifications had been carried out in the phonology of the rough draft, the Puerto Rican designation seemed equipped to defend its inventiveness. Consequent reunions resulted in a deep discussion that led to the highlighting of the vagueness of the regional Commonwealth by Harold Reis an American the head of supervising the security and economic affairs.

The delegation of Puerto Rico articulated that its intention was to achieve Puerto Rican sovereignty and functionalize it to move into friendship with the United States (David, 309). It also conveyed its aims to establish its self-tailored exterior associations to facilitate the joining of international organizations. After a while, Munoz facilitated a rapid conservative decision to disquiet the entitlements for independence and also incorporated the considerations for a permanent union (Ngai, 93). He also pushed for the proposal backing up presidential vote and added all these to the project despite the eminent paradox between these and the sovereign association. Munoz further complicated the proposal when attempting to calm the opponents. Fernos termed this move as a grievous mistake. Thus, Munoz proposed two correlated referendums, the first one seeking for an authorization of the amendment of the Commonwealth and the second one after Congress appraised the alternatives (Ngai, 94). However, the Congress was reluctant in offering a compromise in contemplation of statehood. The subsequent visit of Reis coincided with the missile crisis in Cuba. To this end, the Cold War suddenly got complicated, and Puerto Rico’s function in the defense strategy of the U.S. military was stressed (Ngai, 95). This situation negatively impacted on the ongoing negotiations and Reis noted his concern about the repercussions that would be impacted on defense as well as on the public policy. He thus suggested the documentation of all the ideas in a draft. This documented was completed by Trias Monge and commenced by stating the intentions of the United States government to relinquish its control over Puerto Rico and other neighboring landmasses and waters. These landmasses and waters were as stipulated in the Paris Peace Treaty signed in December of 1898 (Ngai, 96). After this, the controversial word “permanent union” and the likelihood of a presidential vote were no longer in existence. This although, Munoz had an alternative strategy and thus requested for the establishment of additional drafts. The drafts were partly authorized by Fernos and suggested that the ingenuities were to be taken to the Congress prior to the voting by the Puerto Ricans. Before the completion of the drafts, the governor consented to the stresses of the Republic Party of Puerto Rico and thus discarded the drafts and offered his personal draft that was additionally revised by the state faction. To the integrationist party, this was a minor achievement because they demanded re-inclusion of the presidential vote as well as the permanent union clause (David, 312). The expectations of the integrationist party were that because of lack of re-inclusion of the two, the presence of a contradiction and the unwillingness of the Congress to compromise, the project would miscarry.The results obtained after the reunion were used in the end version of the Joint Resolution of December, 1962. Fernos expressed the inconsistency of the intended changes after understanding that the amendments on pro-statehood group would lead to miscarriage in Congress (Ngai, 98). Munoz reunified with all Puerto Rican affiliates of the unceremonious Commission and established a strategy geared towards attending to all types of apprehensions that were eminent among Congressmen based on their arguments. The implantation of this strategy was inclusive of a reassuring presidential message, numerous calls to Congressmen and journalists, moves that were geared towards gaining an optimistic outlook. During the second reunion, Muñoz presented a situation paper that Fernos did not receive well. Fernos thus asserted that the aim was to achieve permanent association as opposed to permanent union since the latter inferred assimilation to the United States. This process was amplified further by a suggestion in an informal Commission that said the recommendations ought to be offered to the head of state before Congress. Muñoz agreed to this suggestion, but Trias protested to him arguing that the Mutual Resolution specified otherwise (Ngai, 99). Another Presidential Commission with little involvement from the Congress was to be established as a result of Trias’ protest. In February of 1963, Operation ELA members held another reunion and came up with a document that incorporated the proposed adjustments but reserved Fernos stances concerning sovereignty, as well as association. The drafts reached Reis, who proposed some alterations, and it was presented by Aspinall subsequent to a broad debate and was coded H.R. 5945 (David, 315). Aspinall assured that the final draft would be flawless to include all the proposed aspects, a promise that never came to pass. As a result of this Muñoz detached himself from the claim of sovereignty. With a feeling that the state of affairs was not changing, the reformist faction group trailing unrestricted association as designated in the 1514 Resolution of the General Assembly of UN (David, 318). This situation led to the inclusion of the provisions of the assembly in the party manifesto ready for the General Elections of 1964. In January of the year 1974, Fernos passed on disillusioned that he never achieved his push for the autonomous association that he worked very hard to achieve.


          In conclusion, the Puerto Rican position in the Cold War was vital in perpetuating economic warfare involving USA and the Soviet Union. The Unites States of America asserted its power in Puerto Rico Republic as a way of showcasing its might to the Soviet Union, who had grounded their influence in Latin American Fidel Castro’s Cuba. All these accounts of Cold War are discussed in the above essay in line with the struggle for sovereignty and association by the Puerto Ricans through their bold and charismatic leaders.


Arnesen, Eric. ‘The Final Conflict? On The Scholarship Of Civil Rights, The Left And The Cold War’. American Communist History 11.1 (2012): 63-80. Web.David, C. ‘Colonial Subjects: Puerto Ricans In A Global Perspective’. Lat Stud 3.2 (2005): 308-310. Web.Holden, Robert H. ‘The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America In The Cold War (Review)’. The Americas 63.1 (2006): 143-145. Web.Ngai, Mae M. ‘The Civil Rights Origins Of Illegal Immigration’. International Labor and Working-Class History 78.01 (2010): 93-99. Web.Selbin, Eric. ‘Latin America’s Cold War – By Brands, Hal’. Bulletin of Latin American Research 32.1 (2012): 123-124. Web.Sotomayor, Antonio. ‘The Cold War Games Of A Colonial Latin American Nation: San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1966’. N.p., 2012. Web. 5 Feb. 2015.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59