There is a highly developed literature regarding the psychological effects of colonialism.
The term “Stockholm Syndrome” describes much of this colonial psychology…where the captive colony begins to identify with, and then embrace, the will of their masters.
A great deal of this is happening in Puerto Rico right now. For nearly a century, one politician after another has “embraced” the US and served their interests. We now have an incapacitated island: devoid of any real leadership, with no sense of direction, and a government on the edge of bankruptcy.
Puerto Rico is not functioning. But what is the psychology that brought us to this point?
Dr. Ángel Collado Schwarz discussed this with Nelson Denis, the author of War Against All Puerto Ricans. In a wide-ranging discussion, they analyzed the psychological effects of Public Law 53 (aka the Gag Law, La Ley de la Mordaza), six decades of surveillance by the FBI, secret police files kept on 100,000 Puerto Ricans (the “carpetas” program), the Ponce Massacre, the torture of Pedro Albizu Campos, the bombing of Utuado and Jayuya, the warrantless arrest of 3,000 Puerto Ricans…and going to jail for ten years, just for owning a Puerto Rican flag.
The cumulative psychological impact of all these things, had an overwhelming effect on the Puerto Rican people…and on Puerto Rico’s present, and its future.
Dr. Ángel Collado Schwarz is a historian, author, and President of Carlos Albizu University: the first academic institution for post-graduate study of psychology, in the entire Caribbean. He is also the author of La Economía y la Salud Mental (The Economy and Mental Health, Aug. 5, 2014) and other studies in this area.
We thank Dr. Schwarz, Ms. Lourdes Correa, and everyone at La Voz del Centro for this thoughtful interview. You can hear the entire interview, right here: