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With the Tydings bill for Porto Rican independence, the Administration once again gives startling evidence of its "good neighbor" attitude towards Latin America. This latest move is particularly astute since it gains sentimental prestige as the generous act of a great nation towards an aspiring little one; and at the same time it may rid us of the last and most harrassing of the Caribbean hornets.
The new bill puts the question of their future squarely up to the local politicians. If their bravado proves to be nothing more than that, then the wiser leaders will regain control, provided with an effective radical-silencer. But if these Porto Rican lago's persuade the populace to vote "yes" on the independence referendum, they will have only themselves to blame for the disastrous results that are bound to follow. Porto Rico now enjoys the best possible trade relations with America: in four years, when complete independence would be obtained, she would be allowed no more privileges than any other country, and economic suicide would be inevitable.
America has been pouring relief funds into Porto Rico to the tune of a million a month. The cessation of this might not mean social disruption, but the most cautious Porto Ricans predict just that. Losing the island will not mean exposing the Canal Zone, for the naval base on the island of Culebra will be retained, as will various fuclling stations. In fact, it seems in every way advantageous to the United States to play the part of a kindly big brother. Porto Rico will be distinctly the loser if that country fails to see through this quasi-benevolent move.
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