Two years after Hurricane María, Puerto Rico is still reeling from the storm’s physical destruction and the ensuing infrastructure collapse. The devastation compounded the harmful effects of over a century of exploitative US economic, political, and social policies, including the trauma inflicted by its $72 billion debt crisis.In Fantasy Island, Ed Morales traces how, over the years, Puerto Rico has served as a colonial satellite, a Cold War Caribbean showcase, a dumping ground for US manufactured goods, and a corporate tax shelter. He also shows how it has become a blank canvas for mercenary experiments in disaster capitalism on the front lines of climate change, hamstrung by internal political corruption and the US federal government’s prioritization of outside financial interests. Taking readers from San Juan to New York City and back to his family’s home in the Luquillo Mountains, Morales shows us the machinations of financial and political interests in both the US and Puerto Rico, and the resistance efforts of Puerto Rican artists and activists. Through it all, he emphasizes that the only way to stop Puerto Rico from being bled dry is to let Puerto Ricans take control of their own destiny, going beyond the statehood-commonwealth-independence debate to complete decolonization.
Ed Morales is an author and journalist who has written for The Nation, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Jacobin, and the Guardian. He was staff writer at the Village Voice and columnist at Newsday. He is the author of Latinx: The New Force in Politics and Culture (Verso Books, 2018), Living in Spanglish (St. Martins, 2002), and The Latin Beat: From Rumba to Rock (Da Capo Press, 2003). He was a contributing editor to NACLA Report on the Americas and is a frequent contributor of op-ed columns for the Progressive Media Project.