As Puerto Rico struggles to deal with its crippling debt crisis, some of its residents have come up with a novel solution: rejoin Spain. The Guardian reports:
“By returning to Spain, we’ll have autonomy,” said José Nieves Seise, who in 2013 founded the group Reunification of Puerto Rico with Spain. “With autonomy Puerto Rico could have sufficient powers to boost the economy and attract foreign investment.”
On Sunday, as the commonwealth’s financial crisis continues to cast a shadow over its relationship with the US, some of the group’s more than 3,000 members will gather in Puerto Rico for their annual assembly to explore the idea of becoming the 18th autonomous region of Spain.
The movement is based on a mix of nostalgia and alternative history, with Nieves Seise pointing to what he calls a flawed depiction of Puerto Rico as a colony of Spain. “In reality it was an integral part of Spain. The US invaded us in 1898, and they separated us against our will.”
The movement (and to a lesser extent, the Guardian‘s reporting of it) depends on some, ah, novel interpretations of history. And then there’s the small matter of the economic predicament Spain itself is in:
As Spain struggles to shake off the lingering effects of a double-dip recession, Pons Rodríguez dismissed concerns that taking in Puerto Rico and its $72bn worth of public debt could dampen Spain’s tepid economic recovery. “This shouldn’t be an impediment to working together,” he said. “The more united we are, the better chance we have of overcoming issues like debt.”
The story really is a treasure trove of quotations, and if you have a few minutes and want a laugh, read the whole thing. Meanwhile, back in the real world, Puerto Rico reached a tentative agreement with some of its creditors to resolve debt related to its power company this week. It’s a good first step, but there’s a long, hard slog to go.
For a sense of just how long and how hard, consider this: someone proposed rejoining Spain as a solution to a debt crisis.