Rafael Cancel Miranda, a Puerto Rican nationalist and former political prisoner, says the notion of a referendum on independence is a farce since there was no vote on whether US imperialism would enslave the island after 1898., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
In Puerto Rico
A repeat of the farce?
Published Jul 4, 2011 9:21 PM
Last April, the U.S. House of Representatives approved HR 2499 RFS, ironically known as the “Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2010.” This allows for a plebiscite on the island, which, in Congress’ own words, will “provide for a federally sanctioned self-determination process for the people of Puerto Rico.”
The colony’s representative in the U.S. Congress, Pedro Pierluisi, who has speaking rights but no voting rights in the House, introduced HR 2499 RFS. Pierluisi is Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner in Washington under the island’s pro-statehood administration of Gov. Luis Fortuño. Pierluisi introduced the plebiscite bill on Fortuño’s behalf.
Adding to the contradictions and falsehoods about colonial status, Fortuño belongs to the right wing of the Republican Party in the U.S. and to the New Progressive Party (PNP) on the island. Pierluisi is also from the PNP, but is a member of the Democratic Party in the U.S.
Many plebiscites and referendums on the status have been conducted in Puerto Rico, but this is the first time that the island’s government seeks the formal approval of its master in the empire. This plebiscite, if approved in the U.S. Senate, will legally authorize Puerto Rico to conduct a plebiscite. This itself is proof of Puerto Rico’s colonial status.
Although the pro-independence forces on the island are very clear about this farce, some doubts remain in the minds of some people. In order to put those to rest, Puerto Rican patriot and former political prisoner Rafael Cancel Miranda wrote an open letter on June 21, which is reprinted here.
Recently a reporter asked me about a so-called plebiscite on the future of Puerto Rico in which the foreigners [who reside on the island] who swear citizenship could participate, but not the Puerto Ricans who reside outside Puerto Rico.
I responded that any plebiscite in the colony would be illegal and fraudulent because the colonial power and their servile ones control the sociopolitical and economic life and even the psyche of the Puerto Rican people. And, besides, to which citizenship do they refer? To which citizenship would a foreigner swear?
The Puerto Rican or the one of the U.S.? We already know which side those foreigners would be on and why. The United States’ citizenship by itself constitutes an illegally imposed foreign citizenship in Puerto Rico. On the other hand, Puerto Ricans, no matter where they are, continue being Puerto Rican.
In 1952, the government of the United States tried to deceive the world with an alleged “plebiscite” for the creation of the so-called Free Associated State. They declared then that by virtue of that “plebiscite” Puerto Rico had stopped being a colony. Now, almost 60 years later, everybody knows that that was a sham since even committees appointed by the White House have affirmed that Puerto Rico continues being a colony, thus confirming what Lolita Lebrón, Andrés Figueroa Cordero, Irvin Flores Rodriguez and I went to denounce in the Congress in Washington, D.C., the 1st of March of 1954.
We could extend, but I will not do it. I will simply say that the Yankees did not have any plebiscite in 1898 in order to invade us. So why would they have to conduct one in order to leave? It is the same gimmick, with the same words, to justify before the world the colonialism which they have imposed on us. Many Puerto Ricans were deceived in 1952.
Let us not fall into the same trap. Besides, the right of the peoples to their independence is not a question of numbers, and only those who are free can vote freely. There is no power that can alter that truth.
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