As I’m sure you already know Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory.
But you may be wondering: what exactly does that mean?
Simply put, this means that Puerto Rico is an organized division of U.S.A. that has not yet been admitted to the full rights of a state. This also means that, although Puerto Rico falls under the U.S jurisdiction, it is self-governed and is considered an unincorporated commonwealth.
Even though the powers of Puerto Rico government are delegated by the U.S. Congress, it lacks the full protection under the U.S. constitution.
The head of state of Puerto Rico is the U.S.A. president, currently Barack Obama, but the head of the government is actually the Governor of Puerto Rico (who is the head of the executive branch). Puerto Rico’s constitution and republican government are based on that of U.S.A.
The Governor and other Puerto Rico’s legislators are elected by popular vote very four years.
The best way to think of a government in Puerto Rico is that U.S. controls anything that is external to the island: interstate trade, foreign relations, customs, land and sea controls, military, etc., while Puerto Rico’s government controls anything interior to the island, except when U.S. law is involved – like public health.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to this setup: an example of a disadvantage is that U.S. maintains tight controls on import\export and imposing heavy taxation on such things. An example of an advantage is that Puerto Rico is exempt from some aspects of the IRS code, and therefore Puerto Rico’s citizens do not have to pay federal income tax.
Although, these corporations operate independently from the government, many of them have serious financial problems and have continually relied on bail-out money from the commonwealth’s government to offset their financial deficits.[/ezcol_1half_end]
As with many governments, the Puerto Rican government has been accused of fostering the culture of corruption. It is heavily criticized for its huge public debt through the politically controlled Government Development Bank and its government-owned corporations. There are also reports of corrupt police force and government officials that take bribes to line their pockets, while passing the cost burdens to the citizens.
So, how would I rate the government of Puerto Rico?
I’d rate it about the same as Panama’s, not as good as United States but far better than Mexico’s.
It is true that Puerto Rico is facing some serious problems but at the same time, so is the rest of the world. I am not a particularly politically savvy person, but I do care that the government of any place we end up in be stable and I believe Puerto Rico’s government meets that requirement, especially because of its association with U.S.A.