July 23, 2016
By Ana Portnoy Brimmer
In 1898, Spain’s 400 year-old colonial grip on Puerto Rico was severed. After three months of warfare with the United States, the archipelago was handed over by the waning Iberian super-power to the US, alongside Guam, the Philippines, and, for a while, Cuba. Nonetheless, 400 years are not easily erased or forgotten.
The streets of Gracia, Barcelona, tiled, charmingly narrow, intricately painted, and draped with independence flags, were bustling with life. It was a cool and crisp Monday afternoon in May as I drank my cortado1 in La Plaza de la Revolución2, everyday life unfolding around me. This square was named after the Glorious Revolution in 1868, in which Queen Isabella II was deposed. Interestingly, that same year, the Grito de Lares, a revolt for independence and against Spanish rule, took place in Puerto Rico. I took another sip of my coffee, intrigued by the revolutionary coincidence.