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Essay Example on Puerto Rico Facts

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Vanderbilt University
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1. Organization of the judiciary

Puerto Rico operates under the US constitution but has authority over its internal affairs, just like all other states in the US. The US federal government has jurisdiction over matters such as treaties, interstate trade, customs administration, commerce and foreign relations, among others. The judicial structure of Puerto Rico consists of its Supreme Court, Circuit Court of Appeals and a First Instance Court. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico is the apex court in the state and is the last resort since its decisions can only be reviewed by the US Supreme Court. Apart from the parallel state courts, Puerto Rico also has the US District Court for Puerto Rico located in San Juan.

2. Law code

Puerto Rico has a mixed legal system consisting of both common and civil law codes. The civil law system was adopted from the Spanish legal system since Spain was its colony for more than 400 years. When it became the territory of the US, it adopted the common law but retained some aspects of the civil law system. The civil law applies to divorce, family law, child custody, among other cases, while the common law applies to constitutional law, federal criminal procedures and bankruptcy law, among other cases.

3. Participation in patents, trademarks, and other conventions

The US intellectual property laws apply to Puerto Rico. The United States Code Title 35 which protects patents for 20 years, applies to Puerto Rico ("Puerto Rican legal environment -," 2018). Besides, Puerto Rico is a party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). It is also guided by the United States Code Title 15 Chapter 22, which allows for registration of a trademark for a renewable period of 10 years. It a party to several conventions relating to trademark protection such as Trademark Law Treaty and Madrid Agreement (International Registration of Marks). The United States Code Title 17 is the law that applies to copyright protection in Puerto Rico. Under the law copyright protection last a lifetime plus 70 years after the death of the author ("Puerto Rican legal environment -", 2018). Puerto Rico is party to copyright conventions such as Berne convention, WIPO Copyright Treaty, Paris and TRIPS Conventions.

E. Social Organizations

Puerto Ricans consider themselves as citizens of a distinctive country despite their US citizenship. While they freely interact with other groups in the United States, they maintain their culture and migrant experience. They coexist with other groups in the United States.

The estimated population of Puerto Rico is 3,351,827. About 98.9% of the population are Hispanics while the whites and blacks constitute 0.76% and 0.09% respectively (Rivera, 2017). The Spanish language is the most used language in Puerto Rico. The median household income in Puerto Rico is $18,626 with a poverty rate of 46.1% ("Puerto Rico," 2017).

Social classes have existed in Puerto Rico since the colonization period. The island has the upper, middle lower classes. A significant percentage of the population is in the middle and lower classes. As of 2015, the unemployment rate was 13%, twice the national average. This prompted most poor Puerto Ricans moved to the mainland US to look for jobs. The state passed laws to remove capital gains tax and lower the tax rate to 4% for business profits. His has seen the wealthy investing in Puerto Rico especially San Juan (Strasser, 2015).

F. Business Practices

Puerto Rico is a hierarchical society and most people like doing business with family. They treat their business colleagues as family members. This implies that informal meetings after work are important to know colleagues better. Puerto Rican managers take a paternalistic attitude to their employees and are usually concerned and get involved in family issues of their employees such as health and housing. Puerto Ricans are formal in first meetings and like being addressed in their professional titles and surnames. Most businesses open from 9 am to 5 pm but this varies from one sector to another.

V. Religion and Aesthetics

A. Religion and other belief systems

Most of Puerto Ricans are Roman Catholics. However, the constitution guarantees religious freedom hence there are several religious groups. They include the Jewish and Protestants such as Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Episcopalians. The Roman Catholics in Puerto Rica do not observe all the doctrines as those in Italy or Spain. They modified the doctrines when the US took over the island. The Puerto Rican Catholicism blends Taino and African traditions and Christianity leading to spiritualism. It is a quasi-magical belief in occult powers. The different religious groups interact freely and there limited cases of religious discrimination.

B. Aesthetics

Music is one of the most notable exports from Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans love music ranging from classical, folk, Bomba y Plena, pop, among other music. They also value arts and craft, including performing arts. They also value folklore where they pass down traditional beliefs, stories, and customs to new generations.

VI. Living Conditions

A. Diet and Nutrition

The main dishes in Puerto Rico are Asopao, Mofongo, Arroz con Gandules, Lechon, Chillo Frito, among others. Fish, chicken, and rice are the most loved delicacies. The main drinks are rum, coffee, coquito, among others. Puerto Rico has a wide variety of vegetables. Malnutrition rates in Puerto Rico are low.

B. Housing

A majority of Puerto Ricans live in rental houses with about 425,000 owing homes. Most of the homeowners financed their purchases using mortgages. There all types of housing including gated homes, apartments, among other housing. The type of housing varies from place to place depending on the residents income levels. The rich Puerto Ricans live in one-family dwellings. However, a majority of Puerto Ricans live with other families. The housing market in Puerto Rico was plagued by the financial crisis and Hurricane Maria. It faced housing meltdown that led to several foreclosures before the federal government imposed a temporary moratorium on foreclosures (Long, 2016).

C. Clothing

Clothing in Puerto Rico is similar to those in the Western culture although it has been influenced by historical styles. Guayaberas is the most popular clothing. They prefer official dress code for business and working hours with men wearing suits and ties and ladies although this is not strictly followed due to the hot weather.

VII. Language

The official languages in Puerto Rico are English and Spanish. Spanish is the most popular since a majority of Puerto Ricans are Spanish. English is most widely used language in business since Puerto Ricans have no problem speaking it.

VIII. Negotiation Style

Puerto Ricans value building relationships hence they do not like hard selling and pressure tactics. They like taking time to know one better and build a relationship before committing to a contract or business engagement. They avoid and dislike any confrontations in negotiations. This is unlike US negotiators who are usually urgent, results-oriented, explicit and legalistic.


Long, H. (2016). Puerto Rico's other crisis: Plunging home values. CNNMoney. Retrieved 5

February 2018, from Rican legal environment - (2018).

Retrieved 5 February 2018, from

Puerto Rico. (2017). Data USA. Retrieved 5 February 2018, from

Strasser, F. (2015). Puerto Rico's population swap. BBC News. Retrieved 5 February 2018, from

Rivera, M. (2017). Puerto Rico Fast Facts. Retrieved 5 February

2018, from


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