Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

'Porto Rico': The View from National Geographic, 1899–1924

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2007), 84, (2), 197–212.

Abstract

Starting with the 1898 invasion, Puerto Rico, along with the other new possessions, became a focus of press attention. The 1898 war has been affirmed as the first modern war in the sense that it was recorded by the most important new visual media including photography. This article will argue that, in the ideological war between the US and Spain, the press and photography served as important instruments of international and national legitimation. During the transitional period between colonizers covered by this article, photography plays its part by distancing the new colonizer from sugar's past in preparation for sugar's future on the island. The emergence of new print media anticipates the projection from the New Deal period onwards and throughout the Cold War of Puerto Rico as a showcase for US foreign policy and free-market capitalism.

A partir de la invasión de 1898, Puerto Rico, junto con las otras colonias nuevas, llamó la atención de la prensa. La guerra de 1898 se ha considerado la primera guerra moderna puesto que la documentaron los nuevos medios de comunicación más importantes; entre ellos la fotografía. Este ensayo sostiene que, como parte del conflicto ideológico entre los Estados Unidos y España, la prensa y la fotografía les sirvieron como armas de legitimación nacional e internacional. Durante el período de transición entre los colonizadores tratado en este ensayo, la fotografía sirve para distanciar al nuevo colonizador del pasado azucarero con vistas al futuro de la industria azucarera en la isla. La evolución de los nuevos medios informativos anticipa la proyección, como parte del modelo económico de la época de Roosevelt hasta el final de la Guerra Fría, de Puerto Rico como escaparate de la política exterior de los Estados Unidos y del liberalismo capitalista.

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Perivolaris, John