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Photographer's Note

Puerto Rico exists in a strange purgatory: a US territory, its citizens are American citizens, and yet it is not a state. Its residents cannot vote for President, and do not have a voting representative in Congress. As a Caribbean island, it is among the most well off, and yet if it were a US state, it would be the poorest. There are movements on the island in favor of independence; there are others, stronger, in favor of statehood. And yet, it remains a territory - part of the United States in law but not in spirit.

Puerto Rico was obtained by the United States in 1898 after the brief but nation-changing Spanish American War, in which the United States overnight joined the ranks of the imperial powers. It collected Puerto Rico, along with Guam, the Philippines, and other assorted territories, from the crumbling Spanish Empire, and it gained effective if not legal control of Cuba at the same moment. Puerto Rico remains the most important of those territories still under US rule.

Poverty exists in Puerto Rico, though often out of view in downtown San Juan. Still, there are pockets: the La Perla slum I mentioned in a previous post is the most notable example. This playground, abandoned and marked with graffiti, lay on a major road leading from the high-scale Condado district to Old San Juan, and its colors, contrasted with the cloudy sky and framed by palms, jumped out at me.

Larger version on Flickr, here.

holmertz, annjackman, Noel_Byrne, macjake, Kamilutka, jcpix, Waylim has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Andrew Lipsett (ACL1978) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 883 W: 75 N: 1688] (7467)
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