Exploring How Colonialism Blames Puerto Rico for its Corruption

Cristalís Capielo Rosario, Hector Y. Adames, Nancy J. Muro-Rodríguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A feature of colonialism lies in blaming the colonized for its oppression. Our study explored the role of corruption in the Puerto Rican experience. We analyzed interview data from 19 island-born Puerto Ricans living in the United States (US) to accomplish this goal. Four themes emerged that describe corruption and (anti)corruption narratives across two levels, including (a) public and (b) individual, coupled with sub-themes within each level. Public corruption was characterized as political dominance, nepotism/palas, financial negligence, and misconduct. Corruption at the individual level was classified as deviancy, deception or defrauding/meter cuentos, and overlooking corruption. At both levels, (anti)corruption narratives connoted Puerto Ricans’ inability to eliminate corruption. Increased control of the US government over Puerto Rico was seen as the (anti)corruption solution to public and individual corruption. We conclude by discussing how narratives of Puerto Rican corruption is a psychological manifestation of US colonialism in Puerto Rico that fuels colonial portrayals of internalized corruption narratives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-94
Number of pages20
JournalCentro Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • (anti)corruption
  • colonialism
  • corruption
  • internalized oppression
  • Puerto Ricans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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