Puerto Rico is an island with an island’s history, with its long-running conflict over ownership of the US territory becoming one of the biggest political issues in the island nation’s history.
A month after President Donald Trump announced he would leave Puerto Rico, Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz has announced that the island is ready to resume the US’ diplomatic relationship with the US.
Her announcement came amid renewed tensions over the US-Puertoria border, which had been frozen after a dispute over ownership between the island and the US mainland.
Cruz’s comments were made during an interview with the New York Times in Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan, where she was promoting her plan to restore the island to the United States.
The mayor said the Puerto Rican people are not going to allow the island territory to fall back into the US political system, saying: “We’re not going anywhere.”
The islands territory is home to about 1.2 million Puerto Ricans, who were forcibly stripped from their native island of Hispaniola in the mid-1700s.
Since then, the island has been a U.S. territory and is administered by a small, US-appointed government.
The island is one of seven US territories with no government and no government-controlled territory.
Trump had been expected to withdraw the US from Puerto Rico in September, but he later backed away from that plan, saying he would only “accommodate” Puerto Ricos requests to leave.
The island was the last U.C.P. state to declare bankruptcy in the late 1990s after Hurricane Hugo swept through the island.
Cruz said the islanders are not opposed to independence, but they want to see a change in the political system and the process of moving forward.
“They want to have the people of Puerto Rico decide on their own what happens in Puerto Rican governance,” she said.
Cruz is seen as a rising star among Puerto Ricas ruling elite, but she faces a tough task in trying to turn around the island, which is still reeling from the devastating hurricane Maria.