*Operation Sport*: Puerto Rico*s Recreational and Political

“Operation Sport”: Puerto Rico’s
Recreational and Political
Consolidation in an Age of
Modernization and
Antonio Sotomayor, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Librarian for Latin American and
Caribbean Studies
International and Area Studies Library
The Questions
Why Puerto Rico?
Why sports to understand politics?
Only territorial/colonial country in Latin America
Popularity, government agency.
Why the 1950s?
Modernization, industrialization, Commonwealth
“Operation Sport”
Mass recreation programs in order to alleviate
workers’ stress in a rapidly industrializing society.
Comprehensive island-wide recreational and
athletic programs, not only building parks.
Legitimize the PPD, the Commonwealth, and its
The problems
• Shortcomings: Not enough funds, too many
requests. (Similar to overall modernization)
• Critics of populism: expropriation, centralization,
fear of Communism. (“red scare”)
• Aid in the colonial reorganization
• Hegemony building (local and U.S.).