Ocasio-Cortez Says Puerto Rico Should Have Binding Vote on Political Status: ‘It’s About Self-Determination’

Apr 4, 2019
1:54 PM

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared her position on Puerto Rico’s statehood vs. independence debate during a Q & A on Instagram Live. She answered a question by stating that Puerto Rico is a colony, and the colonizer (the United States) should not be making the decision. Instead, she’s proposing a binding plebiscite where residents of the island can vote.

“Puerto Rican referendums have historically been non-binding. So Puerto Ricans have had plebiscites, they have voted, and in the past, many have voted for statehood. You vote for statehood. It’s still been non-binding…” she said during the livestream, “It’s almost like a poll… and it gets sent to Congress and that’s where the question of Puerto Rican political status goes to die.”

Ocasio-Cortez also noted that while Puerto Rico election turnouts tend to be high, turnout for the last referendum was low, since many residents chose to boycott it.

“In my opinion, we should be approaching a process of binding self-determination where we honor and implement the result of a plebiscite no matter what they are, without pre-conditions, because that is how you wrap up this whole historical inequity in a just way,” she said. She added that the public should also demand self-determination for Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, and other U.S. territories.

“Honor the ability for people to self-govern. It’s a principle of American democracy.”

On Thursday, a Florida poll by POLITICO was released, where more than 80 percent of likely voters with Puerto Rican background voted for statehood. Here are those results:

For more on the question of statehood vs. independence for Puerto Rico and the latest about Rep. Darren Soto’s statehood bill, go here or here.


Amanda Alcántara is the Digital Media Editor at Futuro Media. She tweets from @YoSoy_Amanda.