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.