Tell Congress that Puerto Ricans want nationhood, not statehood

For Puerto Ricans who support self-determination, it is truly mind-blowing that some Democrats have the audacity to offer statehood as a solution on the question of Puerto Rico’s political status. At a time when Congress cannot come to grips with its responsibility to decolonize Puerto Rico – let alone guarantee a process of negotiation – support for statehood becomes suspicious at best, seeming way too much like political opportunism. The disconnect between the Puerto Rican reality and pro-statehood declarations is dismaying. 

Ill-informed support for statehood is based on several myths: 

Puerto Ricans are Americans: False. The Puerto Rican national identity remains an ethnic identification of peoples without a national citizenship of their own who live in a territory they call “their country.” This does not obscure the reality that Puerto Rico constitutes a nation, which has had a colonial relation with the United States since 1898. Ambiguities were created by Public Law 600and by the portrayal in 1953 at the United Nations of the Commonwealth as “a compact” between both nations. As the Harvard Law Review clearly stated in 2017: “Puerto Rico’s heart is not American. It is Puerto Rican.” 

Puerto Ricans in the U.S. have struggled for civil rights, but the political, societal and constitutional reality of Puerto Rico is altogether another issue. You cannot erase a nationhood by overlooking its existence and assume that “Puerto Ricans are Americans.” Such statements constitute a classic strategy of assimilation that negates Puerto Rico’s right to exist.

Most Puerto Ricans support statehood: False. Puerto Ricans have rejected statehood in five plebiscites held since 1968. The 2017 plebiscite was boycotted by all anti-statehood Puerto Rican parties, resulting in statehood receiving 97 percent support, with only 23 percent of registered voters’ participation. The 2012 plebiscite, so far the only one held the same day as local elections, was boycotted by one of the major political parties, resulting in an avalanche of blank votes, pro-independence and pro-Free Association, which outnumbered pro-statehood votes. Statehood persistently has lost support since the 1993 plebiscite (788,296 votes in 1993728,157 votes in 1998834,191 in 2012, and 502,801 in 2017). 

While in power, pro-statehood administrations have corrupted the Puerto Rican government to the point of its collapse, making this faction incapable of leading any future political project. In summer 2019, the pro-statehood governor Ricardo Rossello was ousted

Civil rights in the U.S. are not being addressed by making Puerto Rico a state. As an unincorporated territory, Puerto Rico has a different constitutional reality, and its urgency is not related to civil rights but rather to our human right to decolonization. Since 1998, the only political option gaining support is Free Association, a negotiated compact in which both countries become freely associated. 

Puerto Rico is not a country: False. The Foraker Act, the first law passed in Congress concerning Puerto Rico, stated that Puerto Ricans “shall be deemed and held to be citizens of Porto (sic) Rico.” Fifty years later, Public Law 600 recognized Puerto Ricans as “peoples.” In 1953, in a push to get international recognition for the Commonwealth as a pact between the U.S. and Puerto Rico “forming a political association, which respects the individuality and the cultural characteristics of Puerto Rico [and] maintains the spiritual bonds between Puerto Rico and Latin America,” the United States pursued Resolution 748 at the U.N. General Assembly, allowing the U.S. to cease delivering annual reports on Puerto Rico’s colonial status. Our nationhood has withstood all attempts to be assimilated. Puerto Ricans refer to Puerto Rico as “el País” (the country). Puerto Ricans are a nation, and its people are in Puerto Rico and in its global diaspora. We are not American expats living in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a domestic issue: Partially true. Puerto Rico is a domestic issue as much as it is an international issue. The U.S. took over Puerto Rico through invasion, bilateral negotiation, and a peace protocol, normalizing the relationship through Supreme Court decisions known as the Insular Cases. The U.S. scored a diplomatic victory with U.N. approval of Resolution 748. Even though Puerto Ricans at the time already were U.S. citizens, and even if the country’s political fate was thought to have been sealed, Puerto Rico today again faces the important issue of sovereignty.

Furthermore, the persistent federal mismanagement of the humanitarian crisis following the 2017 hurricanes will continue to be an international issue, as economic, political and social conditions deteriorate. Puerto Rico is a pending international issue with multilateral repercussions.

Puerto Rico has no option but statehood: False. Puerto Rico’s status question can be resolved with strong bipartisan commitment. Inspired by its anti-colonial foundational spirit, guided by its experience with the freely associated republics in the Pacific, and in compliance with international law, the United States has available political options that Puerto Ricans would be ready to discuss. In fact, many Puerto Rican professionals agree that negotiating a compact of Free Association with the United States is the correct mechanism for finding a reasonable political solution to this issue.

Congress will serve the cause of Puerto Rico and the United States by understanding and accepting that Puerto Rico needs decolonization, through a process of dialogue and negotiation. Statehood goes against U.S. political and economic interests, and actually never has been on the negotiating table. Sovereignty serves the interests of both countries, and currently is Puerto Rico’s only feasible solution for decolonization and economic development.

Libre Asociación : la opción política que puede salvar a Puerto Rico ?

  El estado político de Puerto Rico es un problema de larga data que requiere una acción urgente. La isla, un territorio no incorporado de los Estados Unidos, no es una nación soberana ni un estado de los Estados Unidos. Esta ambigüedad debe ser abordada tanto por los estadounidenses como por los puertorriqueños. El bienestar futuro y la prosperidad de todos los puertorriqueños dependen de ello.

La economía puertorriqueña ha estado en declive durante décadas, principalmente porque el futuro politico de la isla permanece indeterminado, con desastrosas consecuencias sociales, políticas y económicas. Este tema ha sido un debate dominante en la isla, dividiendo y paralizando a los puertorriqueños durante más de un siglo.

La ausencia de liderazgo de los Estados Unidos en este asunto ha alentado e intensificado el debate interminable de Puerto Rico, declarando en varias ocasiones que el futuro de la isla dependerá únicamente de la voluntad de su gente. Esta actitud de no intervención ha llevado a un punto muerto políticamente hablando, que ha provocado una catástrofe económica.

Históricamente, el debate sobre el futuro de Puerto Rico se ha centrado en tres opciones: estadidad, independencia y estado libre asociado (el statu quo).

El futuro de Puerto Rico

De las tres opciones, la estadidad ha recibido la mayor atención de los medios. No obstante, dadas las condiciones políticas, económicas y culturales, hacer de Puerto Rico un estado de los Estados Unidos no tiene absolutamente ningún futuro.

Este es un hecho bien conocido para la mayoría, excepto para los políticos estadounidenses y puertorriqueños, que han hecho una carrera prometiendo que su concesión está a la vuelta de la esquina. ¿Qué tipo de estadidad se puede otorgar a un territorio que la mitad de la población no quiere ni se siente estadounidense, mientras que la otra mitad lo favorece solo como garantía de asistencia perpetua del bienestar? (Nanny State)

En cuanto a la independencia, la segunda opción, el apoyo popular ha sido bajo entre la población de Puerto Rico durante las últimas décadas. La independencia ha sido convertida en chivo expiatorio y demonizada como la peor de las opciones disponibles.

La opción del Estado Libre Asociado, ante su dramático fracaso y su rechazo electoral por más de la mitad de la población de Puerto Rico, tampoco puede ser una opción viable.

Recuerdo como decia mi papa. “Si las elecciones fueran un Viernes en la noche, La Independencia ganaria”

 Libre Asociación

Esta realidad nos lleva a otra opción de estatus que no se entiende bien en Puerto Rico, pero que está reconocido por las leyes internacionales y de los EE. UU.

Tal acuerdo implicaría el fin del estado territorial de Puerto Rico y el nacimiento de un nuevo país soberano del Caribe, totalmente integrado en la comunidad internacional y el sistema de la ONU. Bajo un pacto de asociación libre, Estados Unidos continuaría su asistencia financiera a Puerto Rico y ayudaría a la isla a desarrollar una economía productiva. Como estado soberano, Puerto Rico delegaría responsabilidades específicas a los Estados Unidos, tales como asuntos relacionados con la defensa y la moneda, al tiempo que conservaría la soberanía sobre todos los demás asuntos no incluidos o delegados en el pacto.

Debido al término español utilizado para describir el Estado Libre Asociado actual (Estado Libre Asociado o “estado asociado libre”), la fórmula de libre asociación  se ha confundido y a veces, se ha tergiversado como idéntica al estado actual.

Sin embargo, una asociación libre genuina tiene el potencial de convertirse en un estado de consenso en el que los partidarios de todas las alternativas puedan obtener lo que es más importante para ellos, al tiempo que consideran los intereses nacionales de los EE.UU.

La asociación libre es el único camino disponible para Puerto Rico y la única forma de fomentar su prosperidad mientras se mantiene una relación no territorial con los Estados Unidos que puede acercar a los países.

Punto Medio

La resolución de la ONU de 1960 que estableció la libre Asociacion como una alternativa descolonizante no combinaba la asociación libre con la independencia. Ambos deben entenderse como dos tipos distintos de autogobierno.

La resolución no estableció ningún requisito de tamaño o población para que un territorio logre la asociación libre. Solo requiere que “sea el resultado de una elección libre y voluntaria de los pueblos del territorio en cuestión, expresada a través de procesos informados y democráticos”. La forma exacta de la asociación se deja a las partes para negociar. La asociación libre es un estado de “punto medio” por el cual los intereses de todas las partes pueden conciliarse, y cada uno puede convertirse en un ganador.

Los ejemplos más importantes y relevantes del estatus político de la asociación libre se detallan en el Pacto de la Asociación Libre, que ha estado vigente entre los Estados Unidos y la República de las Islas Marshall, los Estados Federados de Micronesia y la República de Palau. Los pactos se implementaron hace más de 30 años y se renovaron desde entonces.

Los acuerdos transfirieron el autogobierno interno completo a los nuevos estados nacionales, así como la autoridad en asuntos exteriores que condujo a su membresía en las Naciones Unidas. El Pacto conserva plena autoridad en asuntos de defensa y seguridad en los Estados Unidos y obliga a Washington a proporcionar asistencia económica.

Camino a la Libre Asociación

Las negociaciones para establecer un acuerdo de asociación libre entre Puerto Rico y los Estados Unidos deben ser realizadas por el Poder Ejecutivo del gobierno de los Estados Unidos, con la participación activa del Congreso. Los negociadores puertorriqueños deben ser elegidos entre los defensores más capaces y no partidarios de los intereses de la isla.

Antes de que comiencen las negociaciones, los principios para la libre asociación se acordarán como un esquema general de los términos bajo negociación. El documento final negociado debe ser aprobado por el Congreso y por el pueblo de Puerto Rico a través de un referéndum democrático.

free association status for Puerto Rico  concluye un debate aparentemente interminable, divisivo y a veces vicioso. Ofrecia al pueblo de Puerto Rico una nueva oportunidad para construir un pais verdaderamente democratico, crear la economia productiva que tanto necesitan y finalmente convertirse en una sociedad autosuficiente.

The Supreme Court Has a Chance to Bring Constitutional Equality to Puerto Rico

The Supreme Court can bring constitutional equality to Puerto Rico.

A century ago, the court denied rights to territorial residents because they are an “alien race.” It’s time to end this vestige of “separate but equal.”

The Roberts Court, November 30, 2018. Seated, from left to right: Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel A. Alito. Standing, from left to right: Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Brett M. Kavanaugh. Photograph by Fred Schilling, Supreme Court Curator’s Office.

The Supreme Court can bring constitutional equality to Puerto Rico.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear argument in Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico v. Aurelius Investment LLC. On the surface, the case concerns a constitutional challenge to the board overseeing Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring. But deep questions going to the heart of the long relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico lurk just beneath. And the Supreme Court’s past reliance on offensive racial assumptions to answer those questions will again be on display.

I was born in Puerto Rico. That makes me a U.S. citizen and a Puerto Rican. I now live in the mainland United States, where I enjoy full constitutional rights just like all other U.S. mainland residents. But some of those rights apply differently when I return. The constitutional right to a trial by jury, for example, applies not at all. That’s because 120 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that Puerto Ricans (and residents of other island territories not on the path to statehood) were not entitled to the Constitution’s full protections. The reason? Puerto Ricans were an “uncivilized” and “alien race.”

The Supreme Court can bring constitutional equality to Puerto Rico.

More than geography or distance, Supreme Court case law has framed Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States—and the second-class constitutional status of Puerto Ricans—for more than a century. As long as U.S. territories were populated principally by white citizens, the court commonly treated the Constitution as “following the flag.” It governed in the territories just as it did in the states.

At the turn of the 20th century, however—around the same time that it upheld “separate but equal” in Plessy v. Ferguson—the court created an unprecedented rule in decisions known as the Insular Cases. Going forward, the Constitution would not fully follow the flag to newly acquired overseas territories. Some of its protections—including the fundamental right to jury trial—did not apply.

The Supreme Court can bring constitutional equality to Puerto Rico.

Today, Puerto Rico still owes much of its bizarre intermediate status to the Insular Cases. The island’s native-born inhabitants have been U.S. citizens since 1917, and federal law (other than the Constitution itself) applies there with full force. Yet Puerto Rico remains a so-called unincorporated territory. In the words of the Insular Cases, it “belongs to, but is not a part of, the United States.” Now, parties in Aurelius have relied on the Insular Casesto argue that the “territorial incorporation doctrine” allows Congress, when it regulates Puerto Rico, to ignore the appointments clause, which requires that some federal officers be appointed by presidential nomination with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Puerto Rico’s second-class constitutional status was then and now a kindred spirit to Plessy and Jim Crow segregation. It was only once the United States annexed island nations inhabited by nonwhite peoples that the Supreme Court held that the Constitution would not fully protect certain residents of territory under U.S. control. And in doing so, the Supreme Court relied explicitly on the belief that the new territories’ inhabitants were racially inferior.

The Supreme Court can bring constitutional equality to Puerto Rico.

In Downes v. Bidwell, the leading Insular Cases decision, Justice Henry Billings Brown cautioned against extending the Constitution to “possessions … inhabited by alien races.” “Grave questions,” he reasoned, would otherwise force Congress to act in ways it would not in “territory inhabited only by people of the same race.” Justice Edward Douglass White warned against admitting “unknown island[s], peopled with an uncivilized race” whose inhabitants were “absolutely unfit” for U.S. citizenship. And in Balzac v. Porto Rico, Puerto Ricans were deemed not entitled to jury trials because they lived in “ancient communities” with “customs and political conceptions” alien to “institution[s] of Anglo-Saxon origin.”

The racist assumptions that undergird the Insular Caseswere widely shared at the time. Just five years before Downes, in Plessy, Brown alsoruled that the Constitution permitted laws keeping white and black Americans “separate but equal.” There, too, the court reasoned that if “one race be inferior to the other,” the Constitution could not “put them upon the same plane.”

But less than 60 years later, in Brown v. Board of Education,the court rejected Plessy and“segregation with the sanction of the law.” More recently, in Trump v. Hawaii, the court overturned Korematsu v. United States, a World War II decision that allowed the “morally repugnant” internment of more than 100,000 U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry. Acknowledging that internment was imposed “explicitly on the basis of race,” Chief Justice John Roberts announced in 2017 that it had “been overruled in the court of history” and had “no place in law under the Constitution.”

The Supreme Court can bring constitutional equality to Puerto Rico.

Unlike Plessy and Korematsu, the Insular Casesremain “good law,” even though they rest on similarly repugnant views about the inferiority of certain races. The ACLU and other “friends of the court” have urged the Supreme Court to reject the troubling double standard it created long ago and affirm that Puerto Ricans have full constitutional membership. I co-authored the ACLU’s amicus brief.

The Supreme Court can easily do this: The Constitution says nothing of “incorporated” or “unincorporated” territories; only the court’s own cases that stand in the way. And stare decisis—respect for precedent—is at its weakest when the court erroneously interprets the Constitution, since only the court “can alter” its own holdings.

Overruling the Insular Casesand their doctrine would not solve Aurelius one way or another. It wouldn’t even compel the court to apply its appointments clause doctrine, because the court can still hold that members of the board are territorial officers, not “of the United States.” Importantly, it wouldn’t force the issue on the complex question of statehood. Puerto Rico would remain a territory within the original meaning of the Constitution—any change on that score, when it comes, must respect the views of Puerto Rico residents. And it would not, as some have suggested, open the door for greater federal control over U.S. territories and the District of Columbia—or threaten self-governance in either. Under settled law, Congress already has its most sweeping, or “plenary,” power over both. And it is well within that power to afford them meaningful home rule.

But it would still matter—deeply. The Insular Cases cast a 120-year-old shadow on the rights of the residents of Puerto Rico. That they do so for racist and troubling reasons adds insult to (constitutional) injury. The Supreme Court may not be able to solve Puerto Rico’s debt problems, but it can affirm that residents of Puerto Rico—including more than 3 million U.S. citizens living under U.S. sovereignty—have the same constitutional protections as the rest of us.

Why the British Should Apologise to India (Genocide, Depopulation)

The centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre is the right occasion for Britain to apologise for the evils of colonialism.

Two years ago, on the UK publication of my book Inglorious Empire: What The British Did to India, I took the unusual step of demanding an apology from Britain to India. It was suggested – the centenary, on April 13, 2019, of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Amritsar. This single event was in many ways emblematic of the worst of the “Raj”, the British Empire in India.

The background to the massacre lay in the British betrayal of promises to reward India for its services in the First World War. After making enormous sacrifices, and an immense contribution in men and materiel, blood and treasure, to the British war effort, Indian leaders expected to be rewarded with some measure of self-government. Those hopes were belied.

Screenshot from film Gandhi (1982)
When protests broke out, the British responded with force. They arrested nationalist leaders in the city of Amritsar and opened fire on protestors, killing ten. In the riot that ensued, five Englishmen were killed and an Englishwoman assaulted (though she was rescued, and carried to safety, by Indians).

Brigadier General Reginald Dyer was sent to Amritsar to restore order; he forbade demonstrations or processions, or even gathering in groups of more than three.

The thousands of people who had gathered in the walled garden of Jallianwala Bagh to celebrate the major religious festival of Baisakhi were unaware of this order. Dyer did not seek to find out what they were doing. 

He took a detachment of soldiers in armoured cars, equipped with machine-guns, and without ordering the crowd to disperse or issuing so much as a warning, ordered his troops to open fire from close quarters. 

They used 1,650 rounds, killed at least 379 people (the number the British were prepared to admit to; the Indian figures are considerably higher) and wounded 1,137. Barely a bullet, Dyer noted with satisfaction, was wasted.

Dyer did not order his men to fire in the air, or at the feet of their targets. They fired, on his orders, into the chests, the faces, and the wombs of the unarmed, screaming, defenceless crowd.

After it was over, he refused permission for families to tend to the dead and the dying, leaving them to rot for hours in the hot sun, and inflicted numerous other humiliations on Indians, from forcing them to crawl on their bellies on a street, where an Englishwoman had been assaulted (and beating them with rifle butts if they lifted their heads), to pettier indignities like confiscating electric fans from their homes.

Dyer never showed the slightest remorse or self-doubt.

This was a “rebel meeting,” he claimed, an act of defiance of his authority that had to be punished. “It was no longer a question of merely dispersing the crowd” but one of producing a ‘moral effect’ that would ensure the Indians’ submission. He noted that he had personally directed the firing towards the five narrow exits because that was where the crowd was most dense:“the targets,” he declared, “were good.”

News of Dyer’s barbarism was suppressed by the British for six months, and when outrage at reports of his excesses mounted, an attempt was made to whitewash his sins by an official commission of enquiry, which only found him guilty of ‘grave error’. 

Finally, as details emerged of the horror, Dyer was relieved of his command and censured by the House of Commons, but promptly exonerated by the House of Lords and allowed to retire. Rudyard Kipling, the flatulent poetic voice of British imperialism, hailed him as ‘The Man Who Saved India’.

Even this did not strike his fellow Britons as adequate recompense for his glorious act of mass murder. They ran a public campaign for funds to honour his cruelty and collected the quite stupendous sum of £26,317, 1s 10d, worth over a quarter of a million pounds today. It was presented to him together with a jewelled sword of honour.

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre was no act of insane frenzy but a conscious, deliberate imposition of colonial will. Dyer was an efficient killer rather than a crazed maniac; his was merely the evil of the unimaginative, the brutality of the military bureaucrat. But his action that Baisakhi day came to symbolize the evil of the system on whose behalf, and in whose defence, he was acting.

Everything about the incident – the betrayal of promises made to India, the cruelty of the killings, the brutality and racism that followed, the self-justification, exoneration and reward – collectively symbolized everything that was wrong about the Raj.

It represented the worst that colonialism could become, and by letting it occur, the British crossed that point of no return that exists only in the minds of men – that point which, in any unequal relationship, both ruler and subject must instinctively respect if their relationship is to survive.

The massacre made Indians out of millions of people who had not thought consciously of their political identity before that grim Sunday. It turned loyalists into nationalists and constitutionalists into agitators, led the Nobel Prize-winning poet Rabindranath Tagore to return his knighthood and a host of Indian appointees to British offices to turn in their commissions.

And above all it entrenched in Mahatma Gandhi a firm and unshakable faith in the moral righteousness of the cause of Indian independence from an empire he saw as irremediably evil, even satanic.

It is getting late for atonement, but not too late. Neither the Queen nor Theresa May were alive when the atrocity was committed, and certainly no British government of 2019 bears a shred of responsibility for that tragedy, but the nation that once allowed it to happen should atone for its past sins.

That is what German Chancellor Willy Brandt did by going onto his knees in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1970, even though as a Social Democrat he was himself a victim of Nazi persecution and innocent of any complicity in it. 

It is why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologised in 2016 on behalf of Canada for the actions of his country’s authorities a century earlier in denying permission for the Indian immigrants on the Komagata Maru to land in Vancouver, thereby sending many of them to their deaths.

Brandt’s and Trudeau’s gracious apologies need to find their British echo. Former Prime Minister David Cameron’s rather mealy-mouthed description of the massacre in 2013 as a “deeply shameful event” is hardly an apology. Nor is the ceremonial visit to the site in 1997 by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, who merely left their signatures in the visitors’ book, without even a redeeming comment.

My call is for a British minister or a member of the Royal Family to find the heart, and the spirit, to get on his or her knees at Jallianwala Bagh in 2019 and apologise to the Indian people for the unforgivable massacre that was perpetrated at that site a century earlier. 

Along with such an apology, the British could start teaching unromanticized colonial history in their schools and decolonise their museums, which are full of looted artefacts from other countries.

The British public is woefully ignorant of the realities of the British empire, and what it meant to its subject peoples. These Brexit days have rekindled in the UK a yearning for the Raj, in gauzy romanticised television soap operas and overblown fantasies about reviving the Empire as an alternative to Europe. 

If British schoolchildren can learn how those dreams of the English turned out to be nightmares for their subject peoples, true atonement – of the purely moral kind, involving a serious consideration of historical responsibility rather than mere admission of guilt – might be achieved. An apology for, and at, Jallianwala Bagh would be the best place to start, and its centenary the best time to do so.


Gigantic images are projected in favor of the independence of Puerto Rico on the walls of the UN

“For almost half an hour, gigantic images alluding to the illegality of the colony were being projected, asking for freedom for our prisoners, freedom for Puerto Rico and highlighting the exalted figure of Lolita Lebrón, a Puerto Rican patriot from whom we celebrate its centenary ”
The INDEPENDENTISTA FRONT BORICUA, an entity that brings together independence organizations and individuals in the United States held their customary monthly protest in front of the United Nations headquarters tonight. It had been announced that something very special would happen, but by its nature it was not disclosed until the last moment.

“This afternoon (Monday 18) as we have done every third Monday of the month, we made a successful picket and informative material was distributed in front of the United Nations, demanding that the agency assume a proactive role around the colonial case of Puerto Rico. However, once it was dark, starting at 6pm, gigantic images began to be projected on the very wall of the United Nations headquarters, demanding freedom and denouncing the American colony on Puerto Rico. ” Affirmed Eric Ramos, spokesman for the Boricua Independence Front.

Today's event was a magical collaboration between the Boricua Independentist Front, Puerto Rican graphic artist Luis Cordero and the organization "The Illuminator," Ramos said.

“For almost half an hour, gigantic images alluding to the illegality of the colony were being projected, asking for freedom for our prisoners, freedom for Puerto Rico and highlighting the exalted figure of Lolita Lebrón, Puerto Rican patriot of whom we celebrated her centenary” , said Professor Norma Pérez, another spokeswoman.

“The great coordination of the event that allowed us to mobilize with the necessary haste to the site of the projection, after having held a combative picket in the Ralph Bunche Park was excellent,” said Professor Pérez.


The Boricua Independentist Front is committed to exerting all the pressure that is necessary in the United States and before the international community to achieve the goal of a free and sovereign Puerto Rican homeland. The situation prevailing in our country, victim of the dictatorship of a Fiscal Board that only distributes misery and narrowness, the attempt to use Puerto Rico for military aggressions of brotherly peoples and the general deterioration of civil and labor rights in Puerto Rico require actions forceful and novel. The Boricua Independentist Front was instituted in New York City with the purpose of joining the patriotic forces in the Puerto Rican diaspora, we integrate the following organizations.

Interesting Facts About Puerto Rico

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By Luis Torres

Celebrating 127 years of our flag Puerto Rico: Did you know? Originally populated for centuries by indigenous aboriginal peoples known as Taino the island was claimed by Christopher Columbus for Spain during his second voyage to the Americas November 19, 1493. Puerto Rico is also popularly known in Spanish as ‘la isla del encanto’ meaning “the island of enchantment”. Puerto Ricans are commonly called “Boricuas” as they call the island Borinquen, from Borikén, its indigenous name, which means “Land of the Valiant Lord” Puerto Rico (Spanish for “Rich Port”) comprises an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona.

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Puerto Rico has won the Miss Universe beauty pageant crown 5 times in the last 43 years (1970,1985,1993,2001,2006)

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Wiflredo Benitez

Puerto Rico has more than 40 champions in the sport of Boxing, including the first world champion: Sixto Escobar and the youngest boxer to ever win a world championship: Wilfredo Benitez (1976) he was 17

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Puerto Rico has a larger population  3,978,702 (July 2010 est.)  than Jamaica, Bahamas, Panamá, Costa Rica, Belize, French Guyana, Guyana, Suriname, Uruguay and has an equal or greater population than 30 of the 50 states of the U.S. It has a greater population than 10 of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada. Given its population, it’s one of the most densely populated islands in the world (roughly the size of the State of Connecticut) According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are now more Puerto Ricans living on the U.S. mainland than in Puerto Rico.

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WKAQ

WKAQ Radio, an AM radio station in San Juan was the second station to broadcast in latin america and the fifth in the world. First air day  December 3, 1922

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Puerto Rico is the country with more radio stations and TV stations per square mile in the world.

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In 1858, Samuel Morse sets up the first telegraph in Latin America, was located in the City of Arroyo.

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The ‘Puerto Rico Trench’ is the deepest point of the Atlantic Ocean and the second deepest in the world

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Rita Moreno, a Puerto Rican actress living in New York City, is the first person in the world to win an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony Award.

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Puerto Rico’s coat of arms is the oldest in Latin America (1511)

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Puerto Rico has  more pharmaceutical companies per square mile than anywhere else in the world.

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Old San Juan is the second oldest city in the Americas

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El Morro is one of the biggest Fortress in the Americas

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The first scientific experiment in the Americas was done in the late 1500’s. An eclipse under the Puerto Rican sky.

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Playa Quique Bravo in Rincón is one of the top beaches in the world for surfing and windsurfing

A Puerto Rican helped in the writing of the Irish constitution when the Irish Free State was established, Dr. Albizu Campos.

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The Puerto Rican flag and the Cuban flag are identical but with inverted colors.

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Famous Puerto Rican baseball players in the Hall of Fame..Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Alomar, Ivan Rodriguez.

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The only place in the world where the option ‘None of the Above’  has won an election was in Puerto Rico, during the 1998 referendum that option got over 50% of the votes.

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Today’s Puerto Rican flag was actually illegal in Puerto Rico during the first decades of the U.S. dominion over the Island.

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There are are more persons of Puerto Rican descent in the Greater New York City area than in Puerto Rico’s capital city San Juan.

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The second largest single-dish radio telescope in the world is located in Puerto Rico almost 20 acres. It’s the only radio telescope that can accurately predict when and where an asteroid might collide with Earth, and was responsible for the first asteroid images in history. (Now destroyed)😫

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The bats sound effects in the Batman Movies were recorded at Las Cuevas de Camuy in Puerto Rico.

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The Coqui frog is native to Puerto Rico and is considered a Puerto Rican Symbol, but recently they have invaded the Hawaiian Islands, where they are considered (ironically) a pest.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Puerto Rican coffee was exported to Europe and still is one of the finest in the world. Today, Puerto Rican coffee is what is served at the Vatican.

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The central town of Jayuya was almost entirely destroyed by air raids when the U.S. Army went there to extinguish the Revolt of 1950, the latest attempt for Puerto Rican Independence.

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The University of Puerto Rico graduates more doctors and medical specialists per capita than does the United States.

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El Recinto Universitario de Mayaguez has approximately 300 engineers working for NASA.

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The hammock and  the cooking  “grill” were first invented and used in Puerto Rico by the Taino Indians. The English words canoe, hammock, barbecue, manatee and hurricane and others also came from Taino Indian words.

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Puerto Rico has 3 of the 5 bio-luminescence in the world.

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The Rio Camuy Cave system in Puerto Rico is the third largest cave system formed by water in the world.

El Yunque (The Caribbean National Forest) is the only tropical rainForest in the U.S. national park system.

The PIÑA COLADA was invented at the San Juan Caribe Hilton Hotel bar in 1963.

Two of the oldest churches in the Americas lie in Old San Juan Built in the 1530s, the Iglesia de San José which is the second oldest church in the western hemisphere, and the Catedral de San Juan.

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Puerto Rico has its own “Galapagos Island.” The Mona Island. 270 species of fish and endangered sea turtles and Iguanas.

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Puerto Rico has more than 270 miles of beaches including 8 beaches that have been listed under the prestigious Blue Flag Programme

San Juan is the second largest cruise port in the Western Hemisphere and one of the busiest commercial ports in the world.

The Island has 239 varieties of plants, 39 types of reptiles and amphibians, and 16 bird species that are endemic only to the area.

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Puerto Rico has more rivers per square mile than any other place in the world

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Almost every town has its own coliseum built for rooster fights. In Puerto Rico, cockfighting is considered to be a ‘gentleman’s sport’ and is legal, unlike other parts of the United States.

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Major General Luis R. Estevez, was the first Hispanic to graduate from West Point (1915).

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Lieutenant Colonel Teófilo Marxuach, (July 28, 1877 – November 8, 1939), was the person who ordered the first shots fired in World War I on behalf of the United States on an armed German supply ship trying to force its way out of the San Juan Bay  on March 21, 1915.

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La Fortaleza it’s the oldest executive mansion in the world (since 1533)

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James Watson, co-discovered of the DNA, and winner of the Novel Price, published that the closest Perfect Human, was a Puerto Rican woman (Taina).

https://liorpachter.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/the-perfect-human-is-puerto-rican/

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The monster in Puerto Rico has been confirmed as the longest zip line cable in the world by Guinness World Records at the Toro Verde Adventure Park in Orocovis, Puerto Rico. The new exciting ride is 7,234 feet long, or 28 football fields, and about 1,200 feet high. Riders can reach speeds of up to 95 miles per hour.

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The Birth of the New World (colloquially known as La Estatua de Colón, literally meaning “The Statue of Columbus”) is a colossal sculpture located on the Atlantic coastline of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. In 2016, it became the tallest statue in the hemisphere, surpassing Mexico’s Guerrero Chimalli (which measures 60 metres including its base).

Puerto Rico is the country with the most churches per square mile in the world

Where Are Todays Patriots ?

by Luis Torres
With an oversight Board to help manage Puerto Rico’s debt stricken economy of over $70 billion dollars, while at the same time the island filling for the biggest municipal Bankruptcy in the history of the USA, Governor Ricky Rosello held a bad timed pointless and ridiculous plebiscite were only 23% of the registered voters actually went out and vote for the island to become part of the Union.

From this 23% of voters (mainly all from the New Progressive Party PNP) 97% choose statehood, now we have to see the puppet governor making a fool of himself by asking Congress to act on the will of just this 23% (good luck with that)

But to see where we are now, we have to go back in time and check what was the trigger for Puerto Ricans to be so submissive against the USA. With the Foraker Act of April 2, 1900 signed by President Mackenley, the first civilian government in Puerto Rico was implemented, Section VII of the Foraker Act also established Puerto Rican citizenship (will touch on this later on) what the Foraker Act really did, was establishing Puerto Rico as a Colony of the USA. Then came the Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917- this was an act of Congress signed by President Woodrow Wilson, that gave Puerto Ricans born after April 25, 1898 US Citizenship.

This Act superseded the Foraker Act, The Jones Act separated the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches of Puerto Rican government, provided civil rights to the individual, and created a locally elected bicameral legislature. Also, the United States Congress had the power to stop any action taken by the legislature of Puerto Rico. The U.S. maintained control over fiscal and economic matters and exercised authority over mail services, immigration, defense and other basic governmental matters. this as of today, has never changed.

Can you imagine the islanders waking up on March 3, 1917 as US citizens? What the hell they would have cared, they don’t know the language, don’t know what they are pledging allegiance to, don’t know the culture etc. My grandfather used to tell me that when he was in school (Central High) they had to said the pledge of allegiance before entering the classroom…this is brainwashing at the highest level.

What the Jones Act really accomplished, was to put in the minds of Puerto Ricans that we could not live without the US. From that point forward, they were mentally colonized and that has been what has ruled over us since then.

In 1920 came in as part of the Jones Act, The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 that prevents foreign-flagged ships from carrying cargo between two American ports (a practice known as cabotage) Because of the Jones Act, foreign ships inbound with goods from Central and South America, Western Europe, and Africa, cannot stop in Puerto Rico, offload Puerto Rico-bound goods, load mainland-bound Puerto Rico-manufactured goods, and continue to U.S. ports. Instead, they must proceed directly to U.S. ports, where distributors break bulk and send Puerto Rico-bound manufactured goods to Puerto Rico across the ocean by U.S.-flagged ships.
Puerto Rican consumers ultimately bear the expense of transporting goods again across the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea on U.S.-flagged ships subject to the extremely high operating costs imposed by the Jones Act. This also makes Puerto Rico less competitive with Caribbean ports as a shopping destination for tourists from home countries with much higher taxes (like mainland states) even though prices for non-American manufactured goods in theory should be cheaper since Puerto Rico is much closer to Central and South America, Western Europe, and Africa.

Ultimately, the island couldn’t get afloat with this cabotage law that has strangled the citizens of the island for 93 years, this is ridiculous and abusive.

Fast forward 1940’s we have the figure of Don Luis Muñoz Marín, a Well known and respected politician who believed in the independence of the Island, while been President of The Senate, Muñoz Marín helped past Operation Bootstrap to supposedly boost the economy, in those years sugar was the main source of income, well all the Sugar Mills pass to Americans hands ( just to give an example) by the end of the decade Muñoz Marín helped also pass Law 53 The Gag Law, which would restrain the rights of the independence and Nationalist movements in the island. ( A 180° change) one of the victims was Pedro Albizu Campos..

1948 The Popular Democratic Party of Muñoz Marín won the elections and became the first Puerto Rican governor, unfortunately his independence tendencies had long since disappeared, at this point the greatest nonsense the world has ever seen took place. The Free Associate State (ELA) Or a version of a Commonwealth in general terms that was implemented in 1952. By the way, the island is not free, it is not associated (association is a two-way street, not in our case) and we are not a State. In those years, we moved from poverty to misery seen how the island was been exploited from all it’s resources and moved to a complete dependency from the mainland turning Puerto Rico into a Nanny State. While all this was happening, the Independence movement in Puerto Rico decline from a 17% still in 1952 to receiving the least support, less than 4.5% of the vote, in the status referendums in 1967, 1993 and 1998..

 
Under Pedro Rosello administration ( the current governor’s daddy) we saw the Island loosing section 936 which gives mainland United States companies an exemption from federal taxes on income earned in Puerto Rico, whether it comes from operations or interest on local bank deposits. On this, there were many opinions stating that loosing this section, the island wasn’t going to be affected well, it did. Puerto Rico had more pharmaceuticals per square mile than any other place in the world, now a lot of this pharmacies and other companies like 7-up and Motorola (just to name a few) have moved to Mexico and China.

 

In 1993 something very interesting happened, Mr. Fufi Santori a well known blogger, ex basketball player, and pro independence supporter Renounced his US Citizenship but in his case, he didn’t went thru the proper channels, since he didn’t recognized this, stating that been of Puerto Rican nationality was an inalienable right, he was among the ones that came up with a Puerto Rican Passport and he handed more than 1,500 of them.

Then on July 11, 1994 Juan Mari Brás also renounced his American citizenship at the American Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. He did this to test a technicality in United States citizenship laws.”, according to writer Mary Hilaire Tavenner. Brás believed that a person holding United States citizenship and who subsequently renounces his citizenship would be deported to his country of origin. As Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, Brás theorized the U.S Department of State would have to deport him or any Puerto Rican who renounced his or her U.S. Citizenship to Puerto Rico. The U.S. State Department approved Mari Brás’ renunciation of his American citizenship on November 22, 1995..

 
On November 18, 1997, Miriam J. Ramírez de Ferrer, a pro-statehood attorney then took Mari Brás before the Puerto Rico Supreme Court alleging that if he had renounced his United States citizenship, then he also had renounced his right to vote in the local Puerto Rican elections. The Puerto Rican Supreme Court sided with Mari Brás, finding that “as a citizen of Puerto Rico” Mari Brás was eligible to vote so his vote on the elections of 1996 was valid as a non US citizen.

 

1998, 14 Puerto Ricans from Aguadilla, went to the US Embassy in the Dominican Republic to renounce their Citizenship In the Lozada Colón v. U.S. Department of State position asserted that renunciation of U.S. citizenship must entail renunciation of Puerto Rican citizenship as well. The court does decide to not enter to the merits of the citizenship issue. After this debates In light of the Supreme Court’s decision, on June 4, 1998, the U.S. State Department reversed its November 22, 1995 decision and declared that Mari Brás was still a US citizen. The U.S. State Department argued that as Mari Brás had continued living in a US territory, he was still a US citizen. According to the State Department, US Immigration and Naturalization law stipulates that anyone who wants to give up their US citizenship must live in another Country.. With all this, the independence party (PIP) movement was nowhere to be found, they never supported this transcendent actions of this fellows Puerto Ricans trying to make sense of their true Nationality.

 
On June 15, 2016 we saw how the ELA was not a decolonization venue, it was clear that the island has always been a Colony of the USA, moreover it let us know that the mainland has never have the intention of including the island into the Union since we got invaded in 1898. An example of why the US will never let us become a State.We have to see the history of States like Alaska, Hawaii and others that were incorporated territories of the United States, Puerto Rico is a territory NOT incorporated. Now let me show you the true Puerto Rican, we are passionate about our culture regardless of our political opinions, we follow our athletes every time they are in the spotlight as we saw in the World Baseball Classic where we finished 2nd in the world or Monica Puig winning the first Gold Medal at the 2016 Olympics for the island, we did it as a NATION, not as a colony.

 

 
 
If Puerto Rico ever becomes a State (which I think it will never happen) we are going to lose or Nationality.
In my opinion, the only way Puerto Rico will get out if this abbis, it’s by joining the international community, we cannot depend on a nation that has crippel us economically and mentally for 114 years, which have sale us the notion that we can’t survive without their help, it’s time to get up our asses and defend what’s ours instead of giving in like we have been, 6 million Puerto Ricans, one voice, one nation PUERTO RICO