Time to let Puerto Rico stand on its own two feet

Puerto Rico should be granted its independence from the United States as soon as possible. 

How may this be done? In 1934, the United States Congress passed the Tydings-McDuffie Act that freed the Philippine Islands from American control.  This act provides the legal framework to grant Puerto Rico independence.

P.R. should not be simply released and told to go its own way.  Though it is a complicated goal, the U.S. government can detach the island and yet give its people a fair chance for independent success.  Independence for P.R. begins in Congress.

Puerto Rico owes approximately $70B to its various creditors.  Before it is granted full independence, P.R. should take specific steps to resolve its debt.  How can this be done?  Oil.  This Caribbean island is surrounded by oil and natural gas.  Though the industry is not well developed, with wisdom and good planning, it can be in a few years.  The U.S. government can place taxes and fees on these resources.  The monies collected would go directly to P.R.'s creditors.  Once these debts are resolved, Puerto Rico would be free to develop its oil and gas industry as it wishes without U.S. government interference.  A reasonably developed oil and gas industry gives P.R. a good chance to stand as a nation on its own.

The Puerto Rican people must redevelop its national agriculture in order to feed itself.  In the time between legislation and release from American government control, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's immense resources can help P.R.'s agricultural industry get on its feet.  During the transition period, the USDA can give dedicated aid and training to Puerto Rican farmers and food-processors.  Similarly, American ag schools could set aside quotas dedicated to Puerto Rican student farmers and agribusinesses.  How would this education be financed?  Oil and gas.

Lastly, the U.S. government should retain ownership of existing naval port facilities and an active airfield to support these facilities.  Though the Roosevelt Roads Naval Base is closed, it could be reopened on a limited basis.  The docks and shipyard should remain in the control of the U.S. Navy.  The various weapons systems and military equipment presently on the island would be removed.  After independence, the Puerto Rican people would choose what sort of security forces they wish to employ. 

Puerto Rican independence is more complicated than a simple four-step plan.  Still, the major steps for freedom may not be much more complex than those contained in this plan.