#441 - Puerto Rico, Woke(r) history, and the King of Reggaeton

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Corey's Weekly Review

May 25 · Issue #441 · View online

The best of the tech industry, life optimization, and just plain fun.


I’m back from Puerto Rico, and so glad I went. Comparing its relationship to the US vs that of my 2021 home Hawaii was immensely insightful for me.
The main differences are perhaps obvious - the Caribbean is far more humid and hotter, and far more plugged into the many islands around it, compared to tradewind-cooled Hawaii 2000 miles from everything.
History wise, this was one of the first places Columbus landed and was Spanish for 400 years before being American for 125, so the nationalist movement here is more complicated. It feels very, very Spanish.
Travel tip wise, Gillian Morris has a great Wanderlog here that I don’t have much to add to, honestly. La Placita was a fun local area to go out outside of old San Juan, and 15 Knots kitesurfing had a jet ski on hand which accelerated my learning greatly.
Some other facts:
  • Their Spanish endonym is ‘boricua’ which come from Borikén, the native Taino name for the island. There are over 6 million boricuas on the mainland and around 3 million on the island.
  • Some Taino derived words in English today: hurricane, hammock, maize, guava, mangrove, mahogany, potato!
  • The island voted to remain a territory of the US recently (as opposed to becoming a state or free association), but the voter turnout was 45% so actual voter majority opinion is in dispute.
  • The guy the airport is named after, Luis Munoz Marin, was one of the key figures who opposed the nationalist movement in the mid century, during a time when sentiment was more tilted in its favor.
  • The tax incentives cut ones tax rate down to between 0-4%, which is why we see so many crypto rich folks moving there to escape up to 37% federal income tax. Those incentives require you to donate to local nonprofits and to be there a certain number of days of the year, which I hear have plenty of loopholes being exploited.
  • Depending on who you ask, these tax laws do nothing but drive up housing prices as absent rich mainlanders hoard real estate.
  • The #gringogohome movement one sees in graffiti is more visible on Instagram, though a fringe position, from the locals I spoke to. Perhaps comparable to seeing the anarchist A on the mainland?

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