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OPINION: The cure for Puerto Rico is independence

OPINION: The cure for Puerto Rico is independence | Mr. Soto's Human Geography |
The financially troubled island now says it is unable to pay an estimated $72 billion debt, casting a pall on bond markets and pension funds. On the surface, Puerto Rico’s debt crisis is one of run-away spending on public welfare, with a diminishing small tax and economic base to support it. However, the island’s troubles are also tied to its commonwealth status: Puerto Rico is part of the United States but it lacks the local autonomy afforded to other U.S. states and electoral representation in Congress.

It is finally time for Puerto Rico to break free. Independence would allow Puerto Ricans to directly address their economic woes, but, perhaps more important, it will grant the island’s 3.5 million inhabitants the right to determine their own destiny. On July 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston ruled that Puerto Rico couldn’t restructure its own debt. Puerto Rico’s status as a U.S. territory bars the island from requesting bailout funds from other development banks. Independence, nationalists argue, would allow the commonwealth to make these and other autonomous choices.

Via Seth Dixon
Jose Soto's insight:

Nothing like an op-ed to get people thinking...this touches on economic, political and population geography. 


Tags: Puerto Rico, political, migration, autonomy,  economic.

asli telli's curator insight, August 2, 4:11 AM

Nothing like an op-ed to get people thinking...this touches on economic, political and population geography. 

Tags: Puerto Rico, political, migration, autonomy,  economic.

Dee Dee Deeken's curator insight, August 2, 1:26 PM

Nothing like an op-ed to get people thinking...this touches on economic, political and population geography. 

Tags: Puerto Rico, political, migration, autonomy,  economic.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, September 24, 6:28 AM

There is no question that Puerto Rico is suffering from  its current status as a commonwealth of the United States. However, the answer to their issues is not independence, its statehood. An independent Puerto Rico would continue to face the same economic issues. It would be just one of many depressed small Caribbean nations. It is well past the time, that Puerto Rico be admitted as a state into our union. The most recent vote on the issue, favored the statehood political status. However, the vast amounts of controversy surrounding the election process have made those results rather worthless. Puerto Rico has been floundering in political no mans land since the United States acquired the island from Spain at the end of the Spanish American War.  The current political status is untenable. Hopefully a fair election can be held and the status of Puerto Rico will finally be settled.

Rescooped by Jose Soto from Human Geography!

The New World

The New World | Mr. Soto's Human Geography |

An interactive series of maps show possible new additions to the world’s list of independent nations.


This is great way to show examples of devolution and political instability.  Included are 11 potential scenarios where further fragmentation/disintegration might occur or even greater regional integration that would redraw the map.  These case studies include: Somalia, Korea, Azerbaijan, Belgium and the Arabian Gulf Union.


Tags: political, devolution, supranationalism, war, autonomy, unit 4 political.

Via Seth Dixon, Matthew Wahl
Benjamin DeRita's comment, September 23, 2012 9:36 PM
Very interesting and informative piece, I found slide (10) especially intriguing with its discussion on the possibility of China claiming parts of Siberia.
Anna Sasaki's curator insight, March 24, 8:53 AM

This article is probably one of my favorites I have read so far. It describes perfectly the political instability still present in the world, and that the globe and its boundaries are constantly changing, never staying put for too long. It surprised me at the new borders which most likely are going to happen, such as the unification of parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Also, the fact that South Korea is subtly getting ready for the reunification of North and South Korea. Also, there may be devolution in Mali and splintering devolution in the Congo's.

This shows devolution as the power in these nations in which are breaking up, such as Belgium and the Flemish peoples. It shows the centrifugal forces behind the breakup of nations, such as ethnicities which vary, or the centripetal forces which bring nations together such as the combination of South and North Korea. 

Caroline Ivy's curator insight, May 21, 11:12 AM



This article is about nations that could become potentially independent in the near Future, whether due to chronic ethnic incoherence, redrawn governemnt policies, or a growing stateless nation group. Some examples given are an independent Khurdistan, a larger Azerbaijan, and the split of Belgium. 


Centrifugal forces are the root of conflict in many countries. These forces include ethnic variety, lack of common language, political instability. These are what may be causing a split in both Belgium (developed country) and Somalia (developing country). There may also be a unification of countries—the map gives an example of the Saudia Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, and other melding into one Arabian Gulf Union, of China absorbing Siberia. This does not necessarily herald the presence of centripetal forces, as these countries may be the result of military conquest. 



Rescooped by Jose Soto from Geography Education!

Scotland's Decision

Scotland's Decision | Mr. Soto's Human Geography |
From Catalonia to Kurdistan, nationalist and separatist movements in Europe and beyond are watching the Scottish independence referendum closely.

Via Seth Dixon
Barbara Goebel's curator insight, September 13, 2014 12:00 PM

Compare and contrast Scotland's bid for independence with events leading to American independence. How does a culture decide to change its political geography?

Nancy Watson's curator insight, September 14, 2014 11:36 AM

Scotland, the site of nationalist and separatist movements, is one to watch as they vote. What the ramifications would be are yet to be seen

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 5, 3:01 PM

It is interesting to see how globalization does as much to bring us together as it does to rip us apart. The exchange of ideas, goods, and people has hugely impacted the lives of everyday citizens and the nations that they call home, where divisions among people are felt more keenly as the competition in today's global economy grows stronger. Catalonia, the region that has done much to keep the economy of the Spanish nation afloat, and Catalans are eager to shed the "dead weight" they feel they are carrying; the Basque region has long since demanded its independence, and we have already seen the fracturing of the Balkans. In some instances, perhaps separation is for the best. However, I feel like these movements are the result of knee-jerk reactions to the current economic climate and deep, underlying hatreds that have no place in the current world order. Spain has been one nation for hundreds of years, as has the United Kingdom; to suddenly dissolve these unions in the name of century-long feuds seems not only unnecessary, but almost child-like. There is enough hatred in the world- why let us continue to divide amongst ourselves when history has shown that people in these regions can coexist and can consistently pull through these difficult periods. It is one thing to be proud of being Scottish- it is another to ignore the economic and political realities of what Scottish independence would bring for its people for the sake of this nationalist sentiment. I, for one, was relieved to see Scotland vote to remain a member of the UK. Separatist movements across the continent have been quieted, if only for another few years.

Rescooped by Jose Soto from FCHS AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY!

Disputed Isles

Disputed Isles | Mr. Soto's Human Geography |

Competing territorial claims have led to maritime disputes off the coast of Asia. See a map of the islands at issue.


This is an nice interactive map that allows the reader to explore current geopolitical conflicts that are about controlling islands.  This is an good source to use when introducing Exclusive Economic Zones, which is often the key strategic importance of small, lightly populated islands.   


Tags: EastAsia, SouthEastAsia, political, unit 4 political, territoriality, autonomy, conflict, economic. 

Via Seth Dixon, FCHSAPGEO
Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, April 16, 2014 6:20 PM

This interactive map discusses the current disputes between the islands and why the land is being disputed. 

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, April 24, 2014 2:40 PM

This interactive page gives relevant information about islands that are disputed over in southeast Asia.  I liked it because you could see the information in context with the map.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 9:47 PM

This is like a game of Monopoly when people try and get all the houses or businesses. Except this is real life and real isles. Whose is whose? How does Asia decide where and how the EEZ's should be divided.