Country of the World Puerto Rico

About Puerto Rico, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: A roughly rectangular island in the Caribbean Sea. Puerto Rico is, like the other islands in the Greater Antilles, a remnant of an old mountain chain. Both the wide coastal plains and steeper slopes in the center of the island are lush and green.

Size: 3,435 sq. mi. (8,891 sq. km.).

Population: 3.5 million.

Who Rules: A U.S. colony from 1898 to 1952, Puerto Rico is now an associated free state, with the right to elect its governor, Senate, and House of Representatives.

Who REALLY Rules: Despite a few token gestures to Puerto Rican autonomy, the U.S. remains firmly in charge. Though Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917, and therefore subject to the draft, they may not vote in national elections. While the three options for Puerto Rico's future--statehood, total independence, or status quo--are debated, the U.S. continues to exploit the island's human and material resources. U.S. federal money supplies about one third of the commonwealth's budget, including over $600 million in food stamps alone. Companies located in Puerto Rico pay no taxes to either the U.S. or Puerto Rico--a real investment inducement. Manufacturing is far and away the island's number-one industry, with tourism growing fast. Unfortunately, Mafia-directed gambling interests, kicked out of Castro's Cuba, have moved to the island.

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