In the years after the release of Jurakán, with the help of the Puerto Rican people and social media, there has been growing awareness around the colonial structures that continue to coerce Puerto Ricans in the 21st century. The historical struggle of this oppression runs deep, as Jurakán reveals. The film looks back to the Hispanic-American War and the ramifications of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Insular Cases, which states, that “Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory that belongs to, but is not part of the United States”. Jurakán argues that Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States is based on coercion and domination, and brings into question if the current political and economic crisis is a sympton of this colonial relationship.
Featuring a wide range of interviewees including civil rights activist Rafael Cancel Miranda, film producer Blanca Eró, exgovernor of Puerto Rico Pedro Rosselló, Casa Pueblo’s Alexis Massol, and many more, Jurakán moves from the education system to the gag law to the struggle of Vieques against the US Navy with beautiful photography and a cavalcade of facts to back up its thesis on the dehumanization of Puerto Ricans.
While sobering in its recontextualization of Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States, Jurakán remains hopeful in acknowledging Puerto Ricans’ pride and strength in their fight for equality under intolerable conditions. No one knows what the future holds for Puerto Rico, but as Danny Rivera eloquently states, “The people of Puerto Rico need to transcend history”.