Caribbean Connections: Puerto Rico

Caribbean Connections: Puerto Rico introduces students to the history, economy, environment, and culture of Puerto Rico through essays, poetry, and fiction.

The second edition of our book Caribbean Connections: Puerto Rico has been out of print since 2006. In light of the crisis on the island after Hurricane Maria, we have redesigned and placed the book online for free download by classroom teachers. We hope it helps fill the gap in the curriculum and the silence in the media about Puerto Rico. With only a few exceptions, please keep mind that it has not been updated since 2006.

Currently Dr. Marilisa Jiménez García is preparing a third edition of the book that will be available online this fall. It includes many new pieces and updates to the current text to reflect the political, social, and environmental events of the past decade. Pending the release of the new edition, we will be posting selected pieces online, beginning with:

Check back soon, we’ll post more next week.


Learn about organizations and websites with contemporary stories about Puerto Rico, including PR on the Map.

We recommend the readings at #PRsyllabus and programs on Democracy Now for current news. At Social Justice Books there is a list of recommended books about Puerto Rico and a list of films and organizations.

The New York Times released an invaluable photo essay by Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi that serves as an exposé of the dire conditions with regards to education is “The Disappearing Schools of Puerto Rico.” The summary notes, “Over the past three years, hundreds of schools have closed across Puerto Rico. Their ruins are among the most visible evidence of the island’s vicious circle of poor governance, neglect by Washington and environmental catastrophe.”

Please make a donation so that we can produce an updated edition of Caribbean Connections: Puerto Rico that reflects the developments of the last decade. A team of professors and classroom teachers is already working on contemporary lessons and readings for an updated edition. We will post the new resources online as they become available.

In addition to support for the book, we encourage direct support for people in Puerto Rico. Here are recommendations: “Puerto Rico Still Needs Our Help. Here’s What You Can Do.




Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction

Part 1: History and Geography

  • Puerto Rico at a Glance
  • A Brief History of Puerto Rico
  • Important Dates in Puerto Rican History
  • The Death of Salcedo/La muerte de Salcedo
  • Carabali/Carabalí

Part 2: Identity

  • Introduction
  • Child of the Americas
  • Borincan Lament/Lamento Borincano
  • Black and Latino
  • Arturo Alfonso: Our Forgotten Scholar
  • Our Mother’s Struggle Has Shown Us the Way
  • Quinceañera
  • A Warrior Am I
  • In the Shade of the Níspero Tree
  • The Puerto Rican Coquí
  • In My Old San Juan/En la calle San Sebastián

Part 3: Government, Economy and Civic Life

  • Introduction
  • Political Status: Three Perspectives
    • Colonialism Denies Our Rights
    • Commonwealth, A Middle Ground
    • Statehood Would Mean a Better Future
  • The Economy of Puerto Rico
  • A Lead Box That Couldn’t Be Opened

Part 4: Land and Environment

  • Introduction
  • The Bees Are Back!
  • Doña Licha’s Island
  • Purita Gil Pérez Fights for Clean Air
  • Ocean Venture
  • Vieques Chronology
  • Community Fights for Its Land
  • My Experience in Vieques
  • Vieques: Victories and Challenges

Part 5: Culture and Traditions

  • Introduction
  • The Puerto Rican Vejigante
  • Customs and Traditions of the Tabaqueros
  • Coca-Cola and Coco Frío
  • Dulce De Naranja
  • Bomba
  • Danza
  • Bumbún and The Beginnings of La Plena
  • Plena is Work, Plena is Song/Plena, Canto, y Trabajo
  • Salsa: The Past, Present, and Future


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