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xi Acknowledgments This book is the result of a dream, a dream that often looked as elusive as the mere writing of these few words of acknowledgment. This dream was never clear and set, but went through different versions as I traveled the winding roads of scholarly training. Most important, it was a dream fostered and nurtured by the support I have received directly or indirectly from family, friends, and colleagues throughout the years. A few sincere words of appreciation are in order for so many people, most of whom, for lack of space, will have to stay in a collective heartfelt ¡gracias! From my cherished and never forgotten twelve years of schooling at Colegio Espíritu Santo in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, to my life-changing and character-building years at Universidad de Puerto Rico–Recinto de Mayagüez (¡Colegio!), this book owes a little bit to all of you. Contrary to the stereotype for a Latin American, I play basketball, not soccer, and not baseball (although I did play little league baseball). Hence my early passion for sports derives from this sport and the friends I played with back in the Joyuda beachfront Liga de Punta Arenas in Cabo Rojo and during four years of high school varsity and street games. I was never any good, but I did love the game. I still remember watching, celebrating , and mourning the 1990 World Championship of Basketball, where the Puerto Rican team, after beating the great and eventual champion Yugoslavian team, finished in fourth place after losing the bronze medal game in overtime by two points against the United States. Although Puerto Rico had beaten the United States earlier in the tournament, it was Puerto Rico’s highest finish in fiba’s championship . I believe this 1990 team, which included Federico “Fico” xii / Acknowledgments López, Georgie Torres, Mario “Quijote” Morales, José “Piculín” Ortiz, Ramón Rivas, and Jerome Mincy, among others, was Puerto Rico’s best national squad. Thank you, guys, for so many thrills! There is a select group of people, in Puerto Rico and the States, who throughout the first few years of graduate school were a central source of support; they know who they are, and to them I give my deep gratitude. I found much inspiration, encouragement, and support from faculty and friends during my graduate work at Indiana University–Bloomington and at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign . My introduction into the scholarly study of history was with Arlene Díaz. During my stay at iu she published her book on the history of Venezuelan law and women (coincidentally also with University of Nebraska Press) and gave me a dedicated copy, which motivated me throughout graduate school. As promised, and eleven years later, here’s my book! As a master’s student at Illinois, I was equally lucky in having a great history mentor and friend, Nils Jacobsen. My initial sustained training as a historian occurred under his guidance, and for that I remain eternally thankful. Also at Illinois I found much encouragement and advice from Arlene Torres, a great scholar of Puerto Rico and mentor to many. Thank you. Other scholars and friends were influential in my initial training at Illinois, for which I am equally grateful; they include Maria Todorova, Carol Symes, Alejandro Lugo, Ellen Moodie, Dara Goldman , and my clacs cohort, Amy Firestone, Courtney Fuoss, and Cuauhtemoc Mexica. The details of this project began to take clear shape during my PhD work at the University of Chicago. There I found many supportive colleagues that made my stay an enriching experience, both academically and personally. For this I thank José Ángel Hernández, Pablo Ben, Patrick Iber, Jaime Pensado, Nicole Mottier, Sarah Osten, Heather Allen, Mikael Wolfe, Sara Hirschhorn, Darryl Heller, George Ironstrack, Samuel Lebovic, Toussaint Losier, Alejandro Maya, Theodore Francis II, Richard del Rio, Johnhenry “Hank” Gonzalez, Emily Acknowledgments / xiii Remus, Zachary Chase, Jeevan Devassy, María Balandrán-Castillo, Jackie Summer, Casey Lurtz, Diana Schwartz, Janette Gayle, Tessa Murphy, and Laurencio Sanguino. Particular thanks to my cohort in Latin American and Caribbean history; without them the program would have been a very lonely road: Sabine Cadeau, Matthew Barton, Stuart Easterling, Amanda Hartzmark, Ananya Chakravarti, and Romina Robles Ruvalcaba. Concrete ideas for this book began to take shape at Chicago with the encouragement, guidance, and supervision of a great team of scholars and mentors, including Dain Borges, Emilio Kourí, and Agnes Lugo-Ortiz. I am deeply grateful for their excellent...


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