NewsPuerto Rico has a date for its referendum

    Puerto Rico has a date for its referendum

    The proposal has already received the approval of the US Lower House. Now it must go to the Senate before being ratified by Joe Biden.

    The key date is November 5, 2023. On that day, Puerto Ricans could go to the polls to decide in a referendum with three options: non-territorial status, independence, or free association.

    The proposal has already received the approval of the US Lower House, which on Thursday gave the flag with 233 votes in favor and 191 against, so now it remains to follow the parliamentary process in the Senate before reaching Joe Biden’s desk.

    This is the project to HR8393, a law through which the US intends to finally open the way to satisfy a historical demand: the decolonization of Puerto Rico.

    The novelty of this project is that first time excludes the possibility to vote for the territorial Commonwealth, which is the status that has governed Puerto Rico for 70 years. Despite the effort of the Republicans to maintain that option in the plebiscite, the previous fight in the committees ousted the idea.

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    “For the first time in the history of our nation, the United States recognized its role as a colonizing force. The Puerto Rico Status Act establishes a process for let the Island decide its own future. It does not favor statehood, independence or free association. It allows Puerto Ricans to choose,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote on her networks last Thursday.

    And it is that, at least in its approach, the project admits that the territorial status that Washington maintains is detrimental to the full economic, political and social development of Puerto Rico, for which reason the federal government would have the responsibility of facilitating the mechanisms so that the island decides its status.

    Currently, the limitations for Puerto Ricans are evident: although they are US citizens to pay federal taxes, they do not have representation in Congress and cannot vote for the presidency. They also do not have the option of accessing health care programs, nor do they have the same rights as a US resident.

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    Also, are victims of legal injustices that put them at a disadvantage compared to US citizens. A clear example is Law 22, which provides tax exemptions to North Americans over the inhabitants of the island, emulating old colonial practices.

    These types of policies, for example, have caused the gentrification of certain areas of the island and the displacement of their original inhabitants in favor of American foreigners, who settle in the territory with greater benefits.

    The governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, celebrated the House’s decision and assured that it implied another step in the decolonization process. “Brings us even closer to equality“he added in a tweet.

    What are the postures?

    Independence or the change of status would have consequences for the US in the political, economic and strategic fields, which is why the previous debates have put several issues on the table: the payment of the island’s debt, the level of autonomy that he will have – and that according to the Republicans could mean a threat to Washington – and possible access to federal funds for 20 years, in case he decides to emancipate himself.

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    While the governor of Puerto Rico bets that the territory will become the 51st state, which in his opinion would eradicate the colonial status that the island suffers, another part of the population firmly believes that the path is total emancipation.

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    At the core of the discussions, without a doubt, lies the right of Puerto Rico to its independence and self-determination, fully recognized by the United Nations, but which remains an unresolved issue.

    Almost two years ago, in November 2020, Puerto Rico held a referendum that ended with 53% of votes in favor of statehood. However, the elections were not recognized by the US administration and only had the participation of half the population.

    Meanwhile, social movements that support independence consider that the political process of the territory should be led by its own people, without external impositions.

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    Source: RT

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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