Dozens of university students are arrested for demonstrating against a tuition hike. But Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno remains steadfast in charging students more to help close a $3.2 billion budget gap.

The students' fight is representative of a larger debate in Puerto Rico, and in the US, about how to solve a severe budget crisis - and at what cost.

Fortuno, a hawkish fiscal conservative, laid off 20,000 government workers in 2009, and suspended all labour negotiations, just like governors on the US mainland are doing today. But two years later Puerto Rico's labour unions are still scrambling to reorganise a largely unemployed population - nearly 17 per cent.

Puerto Rico is in its fifth year of recession, and expected to be the world's slowest growing economy if its situation does not improve. At question is the degree of economic and social responsibility the US has to its commonwealth state.

Fault Lines travels to Puerto Rico to investigate America's legacy as the island's ruler, and the harsh economic policies that are being imposed on the people who live there.

Source: Al Jazeera