Puerto Rican Migration to the United States
Unlike Mexicans, Puerto Ricans did not have a vast amount of land. However, the whites in America effected both people. Mexicans would lose their land in the southwest to the Anglos. The Treaty of Guadeloupe would create a harsh environment for the Mexicans where they were not equal citizens. Whites would come into the southwest and take the land that previously belonged to the Mexicans. For Puerto Rico, as in the Mexican struggle, a treaty began a new relationship with the United States. The Treaty of Paris gave the United States the territory of Puerto Rico from Spain. After the Treaty questions would arise about the rights of Puerto Ricans. The Treaty had said that Puerto Rico
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before Operation Bootstrap. Operation Bootstrap sent million of Puerto Ricans to the mainland. Vega also allows the reader an inside look at the working class during industrialization in the U.S. Vega, like many other Puerto Ricans, came from Puerto Rico as a cigar worker or tabaquero. What is interesting is the political awareness of the workers. Because of the economic changes and because there was no Cold War, idea on communism and socialism were spread throughout many of the immigrant communities. According to Vega Puerto Ricans and Cubans brought factory readings to New York. The institution of factory readings made the tabaqueros into the most enlightened sector of the working class"(Vega 22). In Vega’s memoirs one can see the origins of the Puerto Rican struggle in America. One incident in particular illustrates the lack of opportunity provided in America before the rise of the minorities’ voice. Vega was moved to a school far away from where he was living because he made a comment about how Puerto Ricans were not entitled to the same rights as other Americans in terms of citizenship. Vega learned that "keeping your mouth shut is the key to ‘success’ in the United States"(Vega 27). Another strength of Vega’s work was his perspective on the Puerto Rican culture. Vega’s book illustrated that Puerto Rican culture was something distinct.