This Is the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Panel That Wasn’t Part of Diaspora Summit With Smithsonian

Feb 8, 2021
5:35 PM


As a follow-up to the February 1 Latino Rebels story about what happened to a scheduled self-determination panel that was postponed during a Puerto Rican Diaspora Activism Summit, the panel happened last Friday.

The panel featured the following speakers and was moderated by Edil Sepúlveda of Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora (BUDPR):

  • Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), in a recorded video.
  • Carmen “Yulín” Cruz, former San Juan mayor
  • Juan Dalmau, the Puerto Rican Independence Party 2020 candidate for Governor
  • Rafael Barnabe, a member of Puerto Rico’s Senate
  • Luis Gutiérrez, a former Congressman from Chicago

According to BUDPR, three statehood advocates were invited to speak at the panel. BUDPR told Latino Rebels last week that two of the advocates declined the invitation, with the other individual not responding.

Near the start of the panel, Velázquez discussed the latest about the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act, which she is co-sponsored with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes (D-NY).

As El Nuevo Día reported in English:

In a pre-recorded message for an online panel on Puerto Rico’s political status – which was held Friday and organized by Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora – Congresswoman Velázquez said the legislation will seek again to call a status convention through which the people of Puerto Rico would exercise their natural right to self-determination and establish a mechanism for congressional consideration of such decision. The island’s government would call that convention to debate and draft options.

“I think many of us can agree, regardless of our own personal opinions, that the current relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico needs to be vigorously scrutinized,” Velázquez said, indicating that the options for Puerto Rico could be “statehood, independence, free association or any other relationship other than the current territorial status.”

“We hope that this bill will be reintroduced by the end of this month,” said Renata Beca Barragán, Velázquez´s staffer, who participated in the Democracy & Self-Determination Special Panel Finding Consensus on a Serious Self-Determination and Decolonization Process for Puerto Rico with panelists.