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103 3/ Legitimizing Colonial Olympism in a Colonial Nation, 1940s In Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France, Laurent Dubois skillfully traces the ways soccer has been the glue that binds the notion of French people in its transcontinental ethnic, racial, cultural , and ideological diversities. Regarding the French départements d’outre-mer in the Caribbean, Dubois argues that soccer, while introduced and developed under the tenets of French sport and under French parameters, became a source for Martiniqueans and Guadeloupeans to claim a separate identity. Nonetheless this identity was immersed within an imperial hegemonic relation that allowed for dual identities, as Caribbean and French nationals. French Caribbeans “sought to conform to French metropolitan models of sport and find recognition within the French sports world, and at the same time they used sports as a way of seeing full emancipation and a recognition of their difference.”1 When the French Caribbean reached departmental status in 1948, with political rights equal to other departments of metropolitan France, they still faced unequal and subordinated treatment, as evidenced in the development of the French soccer league. This process of dual identities in sport and culture in the French Caribbean can be used to comprehend the process of Olympic participation in Puerto Rico. In the 1930s Puerto Ricans embodied the dualisms of U.S. and Puerto Rican sport identities in the regional Central American and Caribbean Games. This process extended to the world stage in the 1940s, when Puerto Ricans participated for the first time at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. Although Puerto Rico participated under the U.S. flag at the 1946 cacg, in 1948 the 104 / Legitimizing Colonial Olympism Puerto Rican team experimented with the creation of a sport and national identity by using a flag depicting their centuries-old Spanishgranted coat of arms. While this flag might indicate yet another symbol of colonialism, it can also be seen as a symbol of the autonomist tradition. Autonomy had been growing since the nineteenth century and continued into the twentieth. By Puerto Rico’s first Olympic Games, this ideal was very much present. But the symbol that represented autonomists was still to be negotiated, and delegates struggled over which flag to use. Legally they were all U.S. citizens, yet to the world they were Puerto Ricans. This complex process of identity and colonialism is similar to the experience of other Caribbean peoples, yet it is unique for the larger Latin American region. Moreover Puerto Rico did not cease to be, at least locally, the bastion of the Good Neighbor policy, the distinctive link that united the Anglo-Saxon American to the Latin American world. During this decade Puerto Ricans also experienced a dramatic sport boom, led by the new sport commissioner Julio Enrique Monagas. Numerous athletic fields and courts were built all over the island as part of a government program known as Un parque para cada pueblo. Under Monagas’s leadership (1942–66), the Public Amusement and Sport Commission became a key institution of the emerging Partido Popular Democrático (established in 1938) and its populist project, a process common in other parts of Latin America.2 The values of social justice and progress combined with sport and athletics were viewed as the basis for a healthy and modernized society, all under the auspices of the United States. Monagas was given a special place among public leaders loyal to the ppd, which included its president, Luis Muñoz Marín (who became the first popularly elected governor); Teodoro Moscoso, director of the Puerto Rican Industrial Development Company; University of Puerto Rico chancellor Jaime Benítez; Ricardo Alegría, director of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture; Rafael Picó, director of the Puerto Rico Planning Board; and Secretary of State Roberto Sánchez Vilella. Legitimizing Colonial Olympism / 105 The plan to build an athletic infrastructure was achieved as a result of World War II. Puerto Rico experienced an economic boost due to its strategic position in Caribbean waters. The United States invested heavily in strengthening its military bases and built their largest base outside the Continental United States in Ceiba and Vieques, both part of Puerto Rico.3 Spinning off New Deal policies of the 1930s while fully anchored in a war, the United States spent $1.2 billion between 1939 and 1950 on programs that included provisions for a healthy citizenry and potential soldiers;4 however, this was also an investment in developing Puerto Rico as an...


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