Fantasy Island: Colonialism, Exploitation, and the Betrayal of Puerto Rico [La isla de la fantasía: El colonialismo, la explotación y la traición a Puerto Rico] by Ed Morales is described as “a crucial, clear-eyed accounting of Puerto Rico’s 122 years as a colony of the US.” The book will be out in English and Spanish editions in September 2019.
Jorge Duany (author of Puerto Rico: What Everyone Needs to Know) writes, “Ed Morales has put together a compelling indictment of U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico, based on journalistic and academic sources as well as his personal experiences as a New York-born Puerto Rican who cares deeply about his ancestral homeland. His work is an engaging, compassionate, well-documented, and crisply written analysis of the political, economic, and demographic downturn of the Island, after more than a decade of economic recession and almost two years since hurricane Maria.”
Description: Since its acquisition by the US in 1898, Puerto Rico has served as a testing ground for the most aggressive and exploitative US economic, political, and social policies. The devastation that ensued finally grew impossible to ignore in 2017, in the wake of Hurricane María, as the physical destruction compounded the infrastructure collapse and trauma inflicted by the debt crisis. In Fantasy Island, Ed Morales traces how, over the years, Puerto Rico has served as a colonial satellite, a Cold War Caribbean showcase, a dumping ground for US manufactured goods, and a corporate tax shelter. He also shows how it has become a blank canvas for mercenary experiments in disaster capitalism on the frontlines of climate change, hamstrung by internal political corruption and the US federal government’s prioritization of outside financial interests.
Taking readers from San Juan to New York City and back to his family’s home in the Luquillo Mountains, Morales shows us the machinations of financial and political interests in both the US and Puerto Rico, and the resistance efforts of Puerto Rican artists and activists. Through it all, he emphasizes that the only way to stop Puerto Rico from being bled is to let Puerto Ricans take control of their own destiny, going beyond the statehood-commonwealth-independence debate to complete decolonization.
Ed Morales is an author and journalist who has written for The Nation, The New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Jacobin, and The Guardian. He was staff writer at the Village Voice and columnist at Newsday. He is the author of Latinx: The New Force in Politics and Culture (Verso Books, 2018), Living in Spanglish (St. Martins, 2002), and The Latin Beat: From Rumba to Rock (Da Capo Press, 2003). He was a contributing editor to NACLA Report on the Americas and is a frequent contributor of op-ed columns for the Progressive Media Project.
Morales is also a poet whose work has appeared in Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café (Henry Holt, 1993) and various small magazines, and his fiction has appeared in Iguana Dreams (HarperCollins, 1992), and Boricuas (Ballantine, 1994). He has participated in residencies as a member of Nuyorican Poets Café Live, touring as a spoken-word performer in several cities throughout the east coast, in California, Florida, Texas, and Denmark. [. . .]
Morales was the recipient of a Jerome Fellowship in 1992 to research Latino Theater and from 2006–2007 he was selected for the prestigious Revson Fellowship at Columbia University. While a Revson fellow, he codirected a fifty-five-minute documentary called Whose Barrio? The film was inspired by “Spanish Harlem on His Mind,” an essay published in 2003 in the New York Times and in the anthology New York Stories: The Best of the City Section of the New York Times (NYU Press, 2005). Whose Barrio? premiered in the 2009 New York Latino International Film Festival and won Best Documentary Short at the 2009 Long Island Latino Film Festival.
Morales is a lecturer at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.