Puerto Rican Role Models and the Failure of the U.S. Occupation of Chiriquí, 1918–20

Sunday, January 5, 2014: 11:20 AM
Forum Room (Omni Shoreham)
Micah Wayne Wright, Texas A&M University
This paper details the use of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. Army as observers and cultural intermediaries during the U.S. occupation of Chiriquí Province, Panamá. Using archival sources from the State Department and Panama City, I first judge these soldiers’ success in furthering U.S. objectives in the province. Moreover, I argue that Puerto Ricans’ identification with some of the abuses of the occupation led Panamanians to view them as both fellow Latin Americans and yanquís – with significant implications for the development of anti-American nationalism and transnational latinidad.