Americans beat Americans in Olympics

Yesterday I watched the hapless USA Mens Basketball team lose to Puerto Rico in the Olympics.

My first thought- why in hades does Puerto Rico have an olympic team, anyway? Every single Puerto Rican is an American citizen. Commonwealth status doesn't change the fact that they're all Americans, legally.

If the US can send 2 US teams to the Olympics, why can't we send a team from California, Texas, etc, too?

This isn't, of course, to take anything away from the American team from Puerto Rico, who dominated the sad sack prima donna head cases the US mainland sent. Good riddance to bad teams.

But on a more serious note, why would any Puerto Rican ever vote to change their status? They get all the trappings of sovereignty without having to pay for any of it- free military, no income taxes, free citizenship and entry into the US if they want to come, a massive net tax consumer... all of which would change with either a move to statehood or independence (statehood, never, but independence is fine by me).

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You beat me by a moment,

You beat me by a moment, Nick.

I was going to point out from the same site:
"Its people were granted American citizenship under the Jones Act in 1917"

So they are citizens but can't vote in Puerto Rico (since its not a state), but if they move to an actual state, they can vote like anyone else.

And yeah, I noticed that the PR govt compensates for the lack of federal taxation by taking the state AND federal portion all for itself. Oh yes, what a horribly oppressive colonial government we have there... :roll:

I was born in Puerto Rico

I was born in Puerto Rico and have been living in the states ("mainland") for the past few years. The reason PR has an olympic team is thanks to the IOC rules:

"Although most National Olympic Committees (NOCs) are from nations, the IOC also recognises independent territories, commonwealths, protectorates and geographical areas."

Same goes for Palestine (part of Israel), British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, American Samoa, Guam.

To answer some of the questions posted, here is a quick 411 rundown on PR: 1898 U.S. invades PR institutes military government (sound familiar?), 1917 Jones Act grants PR citizenship, 1952 Commonwealth Constitution is enacted PR is allowed to democratically elect their governors and legislature (previously it was appointed by the U.S. president). All federal laws apply, No voting U.S. representation, No federal taxation (still any imported goods which enters PR ports has to pay Federal taxes as well as any PR taxes), No sales tax, Drinking age is 18, Puerto Ricans can never run for president of the U.S. and cannot vote for U.S. president unless they become resident of any of the 50 states. PR DOES have their own national anthem, olympic team, participates in Mrs. Universe paegents (btw- tied with Venenzuela with the most Mrs. Universe wins), have the most beautiful women in the world, Official languages Spanish and English, but residents speak mostly Spanish, I did recite the Pleadge of Alliance to the U.S. Flag as well as the P.R. Flag at school, Boy Scouts optionaly wear PR flag on their uniform and at age 18 registered for U.S. selective service like any other U.S. citizen. And yep, can be drafted in the U.S. military- all without voting for the president/congress that would send me into harm's way.

I don't know about the UK in

I don't know about the UK in the Olympics, but when they are playing soccer they do it as England, Scotland, Wales..

it that essentially what the

it that essentially what the status of millions on welfare is?

Now wait one cotton-pickin'

Now wait one cotton-pickin' minute: Prior to its dissolution, the Sovier Union sent several teams from various "countries" within her borders -- heck she even commanded a number of votes in the UN!! So turnabout is fair play. What I wanna see is Puerto Rico beat Russia!

And PR is hardle Amurican: heck they don't even speak Ingles!

Yeah, but Puerto Rico is an

Yeah, but Puerto Rico is an actual economy where people work, produce stuff, etc. Not quite the same as welfare, but it *is* a tax dependency ala welfare recipients.

to keep this going, i'll say

to keep this going, i'll say most of the welfare recipients i've ever known worked under the table and/ or sold pot or drugs in thier own little under the radar 'economy' haha, but your correct , they certainly didn't belong to a quasi-soviergn nation. maybe all the black market welfare laborers should declare themselves a nation and get thier own olympic basketball team. :wall:

American Samoa has a team

American Samoa has a team also.

Man, whats up with that?

Man, whats up with that? :???:

They don't pay federal

They don't pay federal income tax? Can I stop paying if I move to Puerto Rico?

you'd be emigrating to your

you'd be emigrating to your own country technically? would you not?

Do They Have a National

Do They Have a National Anthem?
The good folks at Catallarchy beat me to blogging about a curious question: Why does Puerto Rico have an Olympic team?
Last time I checked, Puerto Rico was part of the United States...

qwest, I dunno why that


I dunno why that would be emigration any more than moving to DC or an indian reservation would be, but I confess I don't really have a clue as to what's going on here.

Dunno. It may be a "if you

Dunno. It may be a "if you were born in Puerto Rico" thing rather than a strict residency status. Or I could be misremembering it, as the entire post was off the top of my head and not using the benefit of Google.

"If the US can send 2 US

"If the US can send 2 US teams to the Olympics, why can’t we send a team from California, Texas, etc, too?"

A more accurate question would be: Shouldn't the Indian "Nations" each get their own team?

if i renounce my citizenship

if i renounce my citizenship can i become a team of one? i'll participate in as many events as my stamina will allow, and better yet, no goverment officials will accompany me. my new country of one would spend our first olympics in a very close study of the womens beach volleyball teams to determine which team member would be most likely to 'defect' to my hotel room. i would immediatly alter my refugee policy for any of those poor Brazilian women atheletes forced to struggle bravely on in those awful bikini uniforms. :shock:

I had been under the

I had been under the impression that Puerto Ricans were nationals, but not citizens, of the United States. They have no representation in Congress, they have no delegates to the Electoral College, and they don't pay taxes.

They don't pay income tax to

They don't pay income tax to the feds, but they do have to pay income tax to the P.R. government. A quick Google gives

"Residents of the Commonwealth pay no federal income tax on locally generated earnings, but Puerto Rico government income-tax rates are set at a level that closely parallels federal-plus-state levies on the mainland."

So much for that idea.

Hong Kong also has its own

Hong Kong also has its own Olympic team.

Skip Oliva,

As I recall, in international lacrosse competitions the Six Nations have their own team.


Regarding Puerto Rico did you know that for purposes of international trade it is treated as if it were like a foreign country?


Thanks for the rundown,

Thanks for the rundown, Jose.

Personally, I don't mind the status quo with Puerto Rico, though I would not be in favor of adding another maritime state as well as one with a completely different language (look how well thats worked for Canada :roll:).

These days, I'm leaning toward emancipating Hawaii and being rid of all overseas states. Of course, with a perpetual lease on Pearl Harbor, ala Guantanamo. ^_^ We could keep the # of stars constant by splitting California, somewhere between LA and SF. North California and South California.

Maybe split texas into its constitutionally approved 4 successor states, too. But then again, they say not to mess with Texas.

The Puerto Rico political

The Puerto Rico political status issue is not that simple. For more than 500 years we have been caught in a sort of political limbo between nations (Spain and USA). Although most Puerto Ricans are evenly split whether to become a state or remain a commonwealth, colony or whatever (5% advocate for independence). I am Ok with any of the options only if a clear, transparent democratic process if followed initiated by the Puerto Rican people. Which is tried nearly every 4 years, but lacking U.S. representation and voting rights kinda makes it difficult since any decision to whether PR should be allowed to choose is decided by the U.S. Congress. If Puerto Rico was a state it would probably have 7 electoral votes (more than many other states, not bad for an island about the size of Rhode Island), considering what happened in Florida in 2000 and how evenly split the U.S. Congress these days the addition of 4 million hispanic voters might not benefit some folks in D.C.. Still, the U.S. is built on democracy and the premise that all citizens have equal rights, in reality it does not seem so. Most Puerto Ricans feel that the U.S. mainland does not care and do not even know that we are a part of the U.S., I guess this is what motivates us to strive to shine in some respects. I am not offended by any questions folks might have and actually welcome them. I really feel that our olympic team accomplished more that a simple game win, it has brought up discussions like these on issues that affect 4 million U.S. citizens living on an island in the Caribbean. I guess this is what the IOC intended the Olympics should be, that the games be games between nations not traditionally defined political states.

Another question I get often since I moved up here: Yes, we do have highways in Puerto Rico but no interstates ;)

Puerto Rico is not allowed

Puerto Rico is not allowed to engage in foreign trade. All foreign relations are handled by the U.S. State Department. Puerto Rico does not have any embassies, consulate nor U.N. delegation. Puerto Ricans posses U.S. passports like any other citizen. Attempts have been made in the past by some Puerto Rican governors to join the Organization of American States, but that has been put down by the U.S. State Department. All goods imported or exported to/from Puerto Rico are subject to U.S. laws, regulations and taxation. The Puerto Rican government, for example, cannot forge trade relations with Cuba.

Jose, thanks so much for

Jose, thanks so much for sharing these facts with the audience here. It's always refreshing to see minds open up to the "unkown" that some consider Puerto Rico to be - developing an understanding of how the PR/US/rest-of-the-world association works can only bring us closer.

It's also very encouraging to see our team ranked #1 within their group!! Wepa!! Ya era hora que los boricuas le ensen~asen a los demas que SI podemos!! It's about time we show everyone else we can do it! In basketball, and then some... :grin:

Ok, I know this has little

Ok, I know this has little or nothin to do with the PR / USA game but ever since that game, I started thinking.. I was born in PR, have lived in Florida most of my life and BOTH my parents were born in NY. My family is PR but most of them live here now in Florida. Yes, they are all fully funcitonal members of society and speak both languages fluently with no accents on either side. ... I am sad to say I no longer speak Spanish since I didn't have to as a child growing up in English schools.

So .. not that I am going to but .. can I run for president since both my parents are natural citizens born in NY even though I was born in PR? My mother was residing in PR at the time I was born, not visiting.

I am torn about the game. US is and will always be my home but I have national pride from PR since most Americans don't have a tie to a culture that rich. :mrgreen:


Well Jason, sorry to ruin

Well Jason, sorry to ruin your political aspirations, but it would take a constitutional amendment to allow you to run for president. For a person to run for president he/she needs to have been born in any of the 50 states or District of Columbia. A similar case for example was former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, she was not eligible to become president due to the fact she was born in a U.S. Military base, even though she was in the line of succession. Same goes for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria and later became a U.S. Citizen. Your parent's place of birth has nothing to do with it. In theory, a pregnant Cuban citizen could come ashore with contractions and give birth on a Florida beach- then that child would be a full fledge U.S. citizen. On the other hand, if a U.S. born pregnant woman is vacationing in Puerto Rico and happens to give birth on the island, that child would still be a U.S. citizen but will not allowed to run for President of the U.S., even though that child parents are full fledge U.S. citizens and the child was born in U.S. soil. Still, any U.S. citizen can be elected Governor of Puerto Rico given that he/she meets the criteria set by the P.R. Constitution. Also, there is no mention in the U.S. Constitution that the person needs to speak English to be president.

On the subject of language.

On the subject of language. I grew up and attended a school in San Juan where I learned English in English class, some books where in English others in Spanish, it really did not matter to me. Still I rarely spoke English and as strange as it might seem I never considered English a second nor foreign language (should I blame CableTV for this?). Still, I do recognize that the prevailing language in Puerto Rico is Spanish and personally believe that it should be preserved that way. Spanish echoes the Puerto Rican culture, our association with Spain "la madre patria", still I recognize that English also plays an ever growing part in that same culture as well. I do regret not mastering a third language. I moved about three years ago to the U.S. mainland, and quite often seen people suprised when I tell them I know Spanish- due to "my lack of an accent" so they say. I have also been suprised to meet various Puerto Ricans with children who where born and have grown up in the U.S. mainland which speak as well Spanish as I do and share the same culture and customs in which I grew up. (So it might not have been CableTV after all) Now, the U.S. in my opinion is somewhat of an odd case in which the prevailing language is English. Really this is quite odd, considering that many contries are composed of many diffrent nations. Canada for example has a French speaking providence, while the rest speak English. Many other countries in Europe and around the world are a single "state" but where more that two languages spoken (heck, even Spain). Should this really matter in the U.S.? Hispanics have become the largest minority in the U.S. and the Spanish speaking population has grown dramatically, especially in certain states. For example, I was suprised the last time I was in Florida that I never seem to have sustained a conversation in English during my visit. Is the assimilation-metling-pot tradition of the U.S. turning more into a cultural mosaic? So, should it matter that the prevailing language in a state not be English? At least in Florida it does not seem so these days.

Funny, last I checked all

Funny, last I checked all Puerto Ricans were American citizens (as I mentioned above). When PR declares independence & Puerto Ricans have to sit through DHS/INS/whatever the successor agency is to become citizens and have to get green cards and visas, etc etc etc, then we can talk about who is or isn't an American.

Though for what its worth, I favor PR independence anyway.

The reason why Puerto Rico

The reason why Puerto Rico competes seperately from the U.S. is simple. Puerto Rico is a NATION (although not sovereign). One must not confuse the word nation with sovereignity. Techinicaly Puerto Rico is not "part of" the U.S. as many here state because under U.S. law it is an "unincorporated territory". That means it belongs to but is not a part of the U.S. We Puerto Ricans accept a close relationship to the U.S. but will never give up our representation in international events as our own nation, with our on national flag and our one national anthem (yes, we do have these, the anthem is called La Borinqueña, and is played while our flag is raised when any of our atheletes win an event). While we have nothing against americans we do NOT consider oursleves americans (even though we have U.S. passports). Our nationality is Puerto Rican and most of us would not feel represented in the Olympics or any event by the U.S. flag or anthem. Therefore, no one in Puerto Rico sees the event as "americans beating americans" because we do not consider ourselves Americans, and the rest of the world does not consider us Americans either. It was Puerto Ricans beating Americans...

Brian, As I mentioned above,

As I mentioned above, do not confuse citizenship with nationality. The fact the Puerto Ricans have U.S. passports does not mean they are "Americans". People in the U.S. have a lose concept of the word nationality and they only tie it to one's citizenship. While in most cases nationality and citizenship coincide due to the nature of the modern sovereign state, it is not always the case. Russia for example is a soverign state composed of many nations (the main national group is Russian, but there are many others inside the "Russian Federation" such as Chechens)Other examples: Kurds in Turkey are Turkish citizens but they most certainly are not Turks. Tibetans have Chinese citizenship but they are Tibetans and not Chinese. Kurdistan and Tibet, like Puerto Rico, are nations that are not sovereign and whose people hold the citizenship of the country in whose hands their soverignity lies at the moment. Puerto Rico was a nation before the U.S. invaded and we did not lose that status merely because we were given U.S. citizenship. We remain Puerto Ricans (now with U.S. passports). And if China invaded us tomorrow and gave us Chinese citizenship Puerto Ricans would certainly not become Chinese, but Puerto Ricans with Chinese passports. The fact that Puerto Ricans carry a U.S. passport does not make us "American" just like the fact that residents of the Caribbean Island of Martinique using the Euro or having Euro passports does not make them European.