CENTRO Journal 34, no 2 (Summer 2022)

CENTRO Journal | Summer 2022 | Volume 34 | Number 2

SPECIAL ISSUE. Beyond Corruption: From Colonial Practices to Emancipatory Futures

Editores invitados / Guest Editors: José Atiles, Gustavo A. García López, and Joaquín Villanueva 

This special issue of the CENTRO Journal seeks to open a critical space for understanding and debating corruption in Puerto Rico, away from neoliberal, colonial, and legalistic representations, offering new questions, narratives, and political imaginaries. Building on critical scholarship, anticolonial and postcolonial traditions, and on conversations that emerged during and after the summer of 2019 anti-corruption protests, this issue frames corruption and anti-corruption as a narrative mobilized across time and space with varying effects, shaped by colonial and racist structures. Rather than providing a narrow definition of corruption, this critical approach aims to center the analysis of sociopolitical implications of corruption narratives in a colonized, impoverished, and racialized country enduring the consequences of colonial capitalism for the past two centuries.


Beyond Corruption and Anti-corruption Narratives: Introducing A Critical Research Agenda for Puerto Rican Studies
José Atiles, Gustavo A. García López, and Joaquín Villanueva

The Criollo Bloc: Corruption Narratives and the Reproduction of Colonial Elites in Puerto Rico, 1860–1917
Joaquín Villanueva

Instruments of Colonialism: Historicizing Corruption and Abuse in the Puerto Rico Police
Mónica A. Jiménez and Marisol LeBrón

Exploring How Colonialism Blames Puerto Rico for its Corruption
Cristalís Capielo Rosario, Hector Y. Adames, and Nancy J. Muro-Rodríguez

Framing Corruption: The Ley de Reforma Educativa and Puerto Rico’s Education Scandal
Patricia M. Virella

The Imperious Rule of Julia Keleher: Gender, Race, and Colonialism in the Corruption of Public Education in Puerto Rico
Karrieann Soto Vega

In the Name of (Private) Progress: Intimidation and Harassment in Guaynabo’s Corrupt Practices to Displace Vietnam’s Residents
Jean Paul López-Cepero Virella and Mayra Vélez-Serrano

Environmental Corruption and the Colonial Growth Machine in Puerto Rico
Gustavo A. García López

La captura del estado: apuntes para estudiar grupos de poder y el uso de recursos públicos para beneficio privado
Iyari Ríos González

Political Discrimination as a Facilitator of Corruption: The Case of Puerto Rico
Elizabeth Pérez-Chiqués

Development and Decay: Political Organization and Municipal Corruption in Puerto Rico, 1952–2015
Gustavo J. Bobonis, Luis Raúl Cámara Fuertes, Harold J. Toro, and Julie Wilson

Clientelism and Corruption in the Wake of Disasters
Fernando Tormos-Aponte, Wendy Prudencio, Mary Angelica Painter, and Brevin Franklin

Disaster Fraud Prevention by Exclusion: Property, Homeownership, and Individual Housing Repair Aid in Puerto Rico
Sarah Molinari

From Anti-corruption to Decolonial Justice: A Sociolegal Analysis of the Puerto Rican Summer of 2019
José Atiles

“What do the doves say?” The Revolt Against Colonial Corruption in the Verano Boricua
Christopher Powers Guimond


Boom and Bust in Puerto Rico: How Politics Destroyed an Economic Miracle, by A.W. Maldonado
Reviewed by Angel I. Rivera Ortiz

Side by Side: US Empire, Puerto Rico, and the Roots of American Youth Literature and Culture, by Marilisa Jiménez García
Reviewed by William Orchard

The Queer Nuyorican: Racialized Sexualities and Aesthetics in Loisaida, by Karen Jaime
Reviewed by Efraín Barradas

The Kingdom Began in Puerto Rico: Neil Connolly’s Priesthood in the South Bronx, by Angel Garcia
Reviewed by Adán E. Stevens-Díaz


The author deeply thanks all the critical feedback and support offered by different people throughout the work for this paper: special issue co-editors Joaquin Villanueva and José Atiles Osorio; CENTRO Journal former editor Xavier Totti; the three anonymous reviewers of the CENTRO Journal; and the participants in the ECOSOC Reading Group seminar on June 22, 2021, Carla Gomes, Irina Velicu, Francisco Venes, and Roberto Sciarelli. The labor of this paper has been carried out thanks to the financial support of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), under the Pluriannual R&D Unit Funding (UIDP/50012/2021), and under the Stimulus Program for Scientific Endeavors (CEEC), contract CEECIND / 04850/2017 / CP1402 / CT0010. More importantly, it is sustained by the labors of care of our daughter Maia and her mother Irina.