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Puerto Rico

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 29 July 2010

Puerto Rico is a strange place. An island and a commonwealth, it exists in an uneasy relationship with its massive neighbour, the US.

All of its political powers, and much of its government cash, come from Washington, but Puerto Ricans can't vote in US federal elections. And now an economic crisis generated in the US has come home to roost on the island.

Puerto Rico's Republican governor has announced a wave of layoffs of public sector workers, along with deep cuts in services. Students responded by staging the longest ever university strike in north American history.

This dispute plays into the bitter arguments over the island's status. Should it seek independence, and the right to make its own decisions? Or should it push for more integration into the US, so at least it has some say in its future?

Maria Hinojosa, the distinguished journalist and presenter of Latino USA, travels to the island to examine its future through the voices of young people.

She meets the students who so furiously defied the governor and hears from young activists who are pushing for independence. And she seeks out one of the many young Puerto Ricans who are signing up to serve in the US military - and who see their primary loyalty on the mainland.

  • Maria Hinojosa presents Latino USA

    Maria Hinojosa presents Latino USA

    Maria Hinojosa is an award-winning American journalist and presenter. She is the host and managing editor of NPR's weekly Latino USA programme. Latino USA is produced by the Futuro Media Group.

    Latino USA website
  • Why some young Puerto Ricans face jail or death

    Why some young Puerto Ricans face jail or death

    In Puerto Rico's current tough economic climate, some young people find themselves pushed into making dangerous choices. Read producer Bill Law's article for BBC News online.

    Read the article
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