Latin American Solidarity with Puerto Rican Nationalism: A Transnational Expression of Anti-Imperialism, 1920s–1950s

Friday, January 8, 2016: 11:10 AM
International Ballroom B (Atlanta Marriott Marquis)
Margaret Power, Illinois Institute of Technology
From the 1920s to the 1950s leading Latin American intellectuals (Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda, Josť Vasconcelos, and Alfredo Palacios, among many others, along with an impressive number of organizations, politicians, and government officials proclaimed their support for the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party and the island’s independence. In this paper I will explore why such a broad range of Latin Americans were in solidarity with the Nationalist, how they manifested their backing for independence, and what impact their actions had on the U.S. government. Three factors primarily explain the extent of Latin American solidarity with Puerto Rico. First, the Nationalist Party had worked assiduously since the late 1920s to educate Latin Americas about Puerto Rico’s colonial status and to generate anti-colonial sentiment throughout the region. Second, Latin Americans viewed Puerto Rico as a sister republic, a part of Latin America that the United States illegally occupied. Third, Latin American opposition to U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico reflected the region’s rejection of U.S. imperialist designs and control in the region.
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