Alfredo Ortiz


Gainesville, Florida


B.A. in Philosophy and International Studies, Cum Laude, University of Florida


Dependency Theory, Political Philosophy, Political Economy, 20th Century Brazil, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.


I moved to the United States from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, considered to be the worst natural disaster in recorded history to affect the island. My experiences in Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States, have caused me to be interested in the process of decolonization and the role that "core" economies play in the challenges that postcolonial countries in the "periphery" experience in their development. I believe that despite their similar starting points, Cuba and Puerto Rico's radically different circumstances and approaches offer insight into deep philosophical questions such as the ethics of political integration and the role of government in the economy. Looking to South America for additional guidance, the success of the Brazilian economy at the regional and international levels has caused me to consider their tactics as viable alternative forms of economic development for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Throughout my undergraduate experience at the University of Florida, I had the honor of working with numerous social justice organizations and the Student Government. This has given me valuable perspectives on the role of citizen participation and empowerment in addressing the different needs of communities. Therefore, I have become sensitive to the different obstacles that may have limited our progress at the local level and will be mindful of similar obstacles that may act as barriers to political and economic development in Latin America. My goal is not to just identify the nature and cause of these problems, but also to analyze the successes and failures of the different approaches taken to resolve them so that they may be refined in the future.