From Hong Kong to Puerto Rico is People’s Power
Beatrice E. Rangel
An attempted amendment into Hong Kong’s laws to allow deportation to mainland China sparked a wave of protests that does not recede. On the contrary, the people of Hong Kong have decided that their land is to be free and that it is worthwhile to give their lives to protect freedom. Protest thus continue even after the successful stoppage of the bill and the worldwide mobilization in favor of the protesters that led China retrench although it for sure will continue to gradually undermine freedom in the city that is the siege of the most important stock market in Asia.
To be sure, this year Hong Kong surpassed Japan to take the position of third most important exchange market in the world. And while Hong Kong has benefited from a series of economic stimuli originating in Beijing and better access to retail investors in China, as indicated by the Financial Times, the market capitalization of the HK exchange is higher than that of Japan. By June 2019, the Hong Kong exchange had a market capitalization of US $ 5.78B while Japan’s exchange market capitalization stud at US $ 5.76B.
And there lies the secret behind China’s tolerance of the freedom movement in Hong Kong. The exchange is vital for China to fully develop its global potential when it is ready to unify its currency and turn it into the world as financial power . At that point in time, China would have to support its financial outreach with the Hong Kong exchange. This will never happen should it become and appendix of a country that is totalitarian in nature, without rule of law and any protection to individual freedoms. China thus needs to co-exist with a relatively free Hong Kong if it is to become a world financial power. There however is a caveat.
Should the influx of mainland Chinese into Hong Kong intensify, it could be hard for Hong Kong to keep its independence given that the population mix would change in favor of acceptance of totalitarianism. Therefore, maintaining mobilization and speeding acculturation for incoming Chinese should be seen as vaccines against attempts to inoculate Hong Kong with totalitarianism.
In Puerto Rico, the people decided that they had had it with corrupt and inept governments and through massive and extensive protests got rid of the worst governor they had ever had. But once Rossello departs the structural rift prostrating Puerto Rico will remain. The prostration of the island nation can be traced to the historical undefinition of its status. Puerto Rico was taken over by the US after the US Spanish War without ever defining its status.
In 1901 triggered by the need to incorporate territories part of the westward expansion the case of Puerto Rico was discussed as a territory to be given a path to statehood. But the legal opinions that constituted the Insular Cases argued that Puerto Ricans and other inhabitants from other Spanish possessions were “alien races” incapable of understanding Anglo Saxon principles and thus the US constitution did not apply to them.
Puerto Rico was thus sent to the political limbo where it remains to this day. Not been a nation its population does not have a reason to deploy energies in the nurturing of nationhood. Not being a state, it lacks weight and attention from either Washington or other states. The result is that nobody really cares for Puerto Rico.
This seems to have come to an end with the Rossello shake out. Puerto Ricans have decided to take their destiny in their hands to get rid of bad rulers and clarify the nation’s political status. The road towards achieving such goal will be long and full of obstacles but booming political maturity of the Puerto Rican people is a the greatest asset to achieve the goal of either becoming and independent nation or part of the US.
As the US confronts the final collapse of the Cuban regime , Puerto Rico will become a geopolitical asset. And then the interest of the people to have a decent government and a democratic regime will coincide with those of the US to fully develop a counter power to Cuba in the Caribbean where trade is bringing together East and West.
Published by LAHT.com on Monday, July 29th, 2019
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