THIS IS THE STORY of a small island with few resources other than the ingenuity and determination of its people. It tells how a backward, underdeveloped society has emerged from its past and today stands as a symbol of progress.
Puerto Rico is a significant bridge between the two cultures of the Western Hemisphere. Before it emerged, it was pointed out as a sorry example of the evils of either the Latin American mañana spirit or of North American imperialism, or of both. Today it is the best proof of the results of friendly intercourse of these two cultures. In an era when extreme nationalism poisons many underdeveloped lands, Puerto Rico kept its head and devised its own political status. Fully self-governing at home, it has freely chosen to continue its association with the United States, with common citizenship, ideals, and interests.
This is a story with numerous heroes and few villains. Uppermost in its cast is Governor Luis Muñoz Marín, revered by his fellow citizens as the founder of the Commonwealth and the leader who inspired and guided us in our uphill path, promising not much more than Churchill's "blood, sweat, and tears."
The author of this book is another important character in the story of Puerto Rico's emergence. In 1935 I had the satisfaction of working with him in the Planning Division of the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration. The seeds of economic reform were planted by a small nucleus of men through research, planning, and creativeness. Earl Hanson, as Executive Secretary of the Planning Division, inspired us all to greater accomplishments. When the forces of reaction tried to reverse the inevitable trend and most of the Puerto Rican leaders and scientists left the PRRA