Politics

Delegating Denver #43 of 56: Puerto Rico

View larger image

Puerto Rico

Total Number of Delegates: 63 Pledged: 55 Unpledged: 8

How to Recognize a Puerto Rico Delegate: Puerto Rico probably should have dumped America a long time ago, but like all sexy long-distance relationships, there have been "benefits" for both parties. Not that it has been easy. Puerto Rico has suffered greatly ever since Christopher Columbus arrived in 1493 and immediately turned the natives into slaves for Spain. Until then, the island of Boriken, as it was called, was a bountiful paradise where the Tainos enjoyed a life of playing soccer, smoking cigars, practicing some polygamy and getting high on cojiba. When they started to die off from forced work and smallpox, they were replaced with imported slaves from Africa. Of course, life was not all work and whippings. Presumably there was some spare time for co-mingling and forced marriages, because recent DNA studies reveal that the average Puerto Rican is 52% Taino, 24% African, 16% Spanish, 4% French, 3% Lebanese and 1% Chinese. And they are everywhere! Today there are more Puerto Ricans in the United States than on the island. Fully 10% of all New York City residents identify as Nuyoricans. In Denver, Puerto Rican delegates will stand out like sunshine on a rainy day. Females will have dark tans and blond hair; each is a current or former beauty-queen contestant and will wear her crown and sash over a bra-cup-halter v-neck knit dress from the Rainbow Shop. Male delegates are equally gorgeous, and each will wear his sash over a pastel-colored Guayabera shirt and linen trousers.

Famous Puerto Ricans: Academy Award-winning actors José Ferrer, Rita Moreno, Benicio del Toro; Academy Award-worthy actors Joaquin Phoenix and Raul Julia; creator of the The Flying Nun Marie Teresa Rios; musicians José Feliciano, Ricky Martin, Tito Gomez and Ivy Queen; Mars Volta producer and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez; Mars Exploration Rover parachute inventor Juan R. Cruz; global-warming expert Rafeal L. Bras; Wonkette political blogger Ana Marie Cox; ’60s transvestite superstar Holly Woodlawn; Wonky transvestite astrology superstar Walter Mercado.

Famous Honorary Puerto Ricans (Americans who have attended protests demanding that the United States military stop using the island of Vieques for bombing target practice): Edward James Olmos, Robert Kennedy Jr., Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois), Al Sharpton, Mrs. Jesse Jackson, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Martin Sheen, the Dalai Lama, Charles Rangel, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton.

Famous Puerto Ricans With Denver Connections: Nuyorican MTV celebrity LaLa Vazquez; 2004 Top Latina Elizabeth Suarez; art-museum consultant Tariana Navas-Nieves.

Territory Nickname: The Island of Enchantment (official); The Constitutionally Unrecognized Commonwealth, Better Than Cuba (unofficial) Population: 3,944,259 Racial Distribution: 80% white, 12% black, 100% Puerto Rican Per Capita Personal Income: $11,123 Unemployment: 18%

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sean Cronin