Sponsored by the Frente Independentista Boricua, a group of pro-independence groups and their allies plan to hold several “NO to Statehood, YES to Decolonization” marches that are scheduled to take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico and cities across the Puerto Rican diaspora on August 15, according to a media release sent to Latino Rebels on Wednesday.
The media release listed the following cities that plan to hold marches:
- San Juan
- New York City
- Washington, D.C.
Latino Rebels was also contacted by organizers who will hold a similar march in Detroit on August 15.
The release notes that the following organizations have already signed up for the marches, saying that this is a partial list:
- El Frente Independentista Boricua
- Bomba Yo Cultura en Vivo
- Boricua Human Rights Network (Chicago)
- Comites de la Resistencia Boricua
- El Grito
- Friends of Puerto Rico Initiative
- NY State Assemblymember José Rivera
- Partido Independentista – NY
- Partido Nacionalista – NY
- Respect & Justice for Puerto Rico
- Socialist Workers Party
The rest of the release shared a lengthy statement about the marches. Here is what organizers are saying about why they play to march on August 15:
We affirm that we are Puerto Ricans; that Puerto Rico is our Country and our Nation. We are a Caribbean people, and our language is Spanish. We are Boricuas who live in the Archipelago of Puerto Rico and who live in the Puerto Rican Diaspora throughout the world.
We declare that Puerto Rico is subject to a colonial regime that is not permitted to make its own fundamental decisions. We claim our right to initiate the process of self-determination and decolonization of our Country.
We reject Puerto Rico’s conversion into a state of the United States. We affirm that annexation to the United States is NOT a decolonizing option for our Country. On the contrary, statehood is the death of the Puerto Rican nationality; it is illegal under International Law; and would be the culmination and fatal result of 123 years of dependence and colonial domination.
We reject that an illegal and definitive annexation to the United States can be imposed on Puerto Rico, based on mere arithmetic majorities of voters that are subject to colonial dependence.
We declare that the actual colonial government of the New Progressive Party (PNP) lies when it says it has a “mandate” of the People to ask for statehood. The result of an imposed consultation, with unjust and rigged rules, in which the only thing reflected is the wide opposition to statehood, does not represent any kind of mandate to ask Washington to make us a state, thereby annihilating our existence as a Country.
On the basis of the statements heretofore expressed, we, the organizations and persons who have signed this declaration, call upon our people to mobilize for the march and activities on Sunday, August 15; and to express in the multiple possible forms that Puerto Rico is a Nation, that we are committed to a true process of Decolonization and that we categorically reject annexation and statehood.
Last November, a non-binding plebiscite of voters in Puerto Rico resulted in a 52.34% margin for statehood with 47.66% voting against statehood as a viable status option. Since then, two separate congressional bills —a statehood one and a self-determination one— have gotten more than 170 bicameral and bipartisan cosponsors combined. Both bills are still in committee with no clear indications that they will move to an actual vote.
Recently, two prominent Puerto Rican legal scholars on both sides of the political status debate argued for a compromise bill, explaining that Congress must act on resolving Puerto Rico’s current territorial status, which was rejected in the first part of a 2012 non-binding plebiscite.
It is believed that the August 15 series of marches is the first organized attempt since the November plebiscite of supporters demonstrating for Puerto Rico’s independence from the United States. In the second part of the 2012 non-binding plebiscite, independence won 5.53% of the vote, with statehood winning 61.15% and associated free state taking 33.31%.
Puerto Rico has been a colony of the U.S. since 1898.
Julio Ricardo Varela is founder and publisher of Latino Rebels, part of Futuro Media. He tweets from @julito77.
I favor statehood for Puerto Rico but I have nothing but respect for those who favor independence because they’re as fed up with the status quo as those of us who favor statehood and they’re an important part of the equation and deserve to be included in any self-determination process which is why I support a binding Federal referendum for voters to choose between statehood and independence with perhaps free association as a third option (I’m not too keen on including a territorial option because I consider that inherently colonial hence part of the problem not part of the solution). Concerning this contentious topic, people should realize several things: first, independence has never obtained more than 3% in any of the 6 status referendums held in Puerto Rico (1967, 1993, 1998, 2012, 2017 and 2020) whenever it has been offered as a specific option for voters to choose from (it hasn’t always been on the ballot); secondly, support for Puerto Rico Independence Party candidates in Puerto Rico general elections doesn’t necessarily imply support for Puerto Rico’s independence because PIP candidates routinely get tens of thousands of crossover votes from pro statehood and pro commonwealth supporters who believe that all status options should be represented in the Puerto Rico Legislature to better reflect Puerto Rican society; thirdly, the 2020 referendum DID NOT include independence as an option but had a “statehood yes or no” ballot where statehood obtained 53% of the vote; fourthly, all public opinion polls conducted before and after the referendum conclusively show that the bulk of the 47% of voters who opposed statehood in 2020 support either commonwealth or some form of US-associated status for Puerto Rico rather than independence. In any case, I heartily congratulate all those who will be marching on August 15 whether in Puerto Rico or the US mainland.
People here dont want statehood either. They should be an independent country and we should have no control whatsoever
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. First off, all recent plebiscites (2012, 2017 and 2020) in Puerto Rico have resulted in statehood majorities while support for independence doesn’t even register on the radar. Secondly, there are 6 million Puerto Ricans in the US mainland versus only 3.3 million left in Puerto Rico itself and since we’re all US citizens and independence routinely gets no more than 3% support in all plebiscites so if Congress makes Puerto Rico (the territory) independent unilaterally then most Puerto Ricans (the people) will simply get up and move to the US mainland (which cannot be legally stopped) so you may end up with me as your next door neighbor, which I’m sure is not what you intend. Finally, there are some in the Puerto Rico independence movement who are just DYING to stick it to the US for 123 years of colonialism and they’re salivating at the prospect of offering the air and naval bases vacated by the USAF and US Navy in Puerto Rico to China, Russia, Iran or North Korea (highest bidder, take your pick) located a mere 1,100 miles southeast of Miami, which even a short range ballistic missile can make in all of 10 minutes. Somehow I don’t think that you or anybody else cares much for a repeat of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Bottom line: Puerto Rico’s current territorial status CANNOT go on indefinitely and MUST give way sooner rather than later to either statehood or independence and US national security is GUARANTEED by Puerto Rico statehood but may conversely be IMPERILED by Puerto Rico independence. Personally, I think the US bought the cow concerning Puerto Rico when it took the place over from Spain in 1898 and made us Puerto Ricans US citizens.
Question for those who advocate independence for P.R.
How many of you have lived in P.R.? How many of you will relocate back to P.R if the independence is granted? and if you were born in the US how many will move to P.R.? Some times is very easy to desire something but without accept the repercussions.
“Sólo los puertorriqueños pueden decidir sobre lo que le conviene o no conviene a su patria”.
“La Patria es valor y sacrificio”.
To progress and to move towards your goals and dreams, you have to take action. Go out there and put your money where your mouth is, but make sure you are also putting your action where your mouth is too. Otherwise, your money and your will, just be meaningless.