Puerto Rico Gonzalez, Jose Luis.

The first immigrants came with the intention of making it rich and then going back to their home country, but many stayed, which did create a more prosperous island, as more wealth was being circulated in the islands borders, rather than exported back to Spain. This second chapter of coffee prosperity was then followed by a third story told by the children of these agrarian people, who became professionals or bureaucrats. Most of them settled upon the coastline, where the cities necessary for Puerto Ricos trade were concentrated. The working classes continued to prefer the less securely controlled areas of the island, where vagrancy laws that mandated employment or landowning for all residents were less likely to be enforced.

The wealth of the developing wealthy, bureaucratic and agrarian populations enabled these immigrants to become a new kind of elite, educated capitalists. However, although many members of this did become nationalists later on, after the United States annexation, these people were not proud democrats, intent upon enfranchising the entire population, and celebrating all of Puerto Rican culture. They had a particular point-of-view of what their nations history should be read as, as white and Hispanic. History began with their incursion and settlement of the territory, not with the beginnings of the culture they had entered, or the beginnings of the land they now claimed as their own.

Thus Gonzalez is as interested in exposing the myths of a unified Puerto Rican culture created by these white elites who downplayed the African elements of Puerto Rican culture as he is in narrating the nations history.

He also attempts to expose what he sees as the hypocrisies of pro-independent activists like Jose de Diego, who only opposed the United States because it threatened his social position, not because he had any sympathy for the common populace or desire to create an inclusive national identity.

The fourth “story” according to Gonzalez, occurred during the economic downturn of Puerto Rico in the 1940s. This was a mix of American capitalism and an opportunistic Puerto Rican populism that now fuels the current independence and pride movements. But these movements still are fueled by a false narrative, rather than embrace the truly pluralistic, multinational tale of national identity formation. Gonzalezs analysis suggests that any nationalistic movement will often result in the exclusion of other populations, as well as the inclusion of its own narrative into the world conversation of nations. Puerto Rican nationalists want Puerto Rico to stand tall in the world, and not be lost in the shadow of the United States. But by stressing its white, Hispanic heritage, and creating the myth of the white jibaros, decedents of African heritage are erased from the historical memory, despite their substantial contribution to Puerto Ricos unique.

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