BUDPR Praises Floor Speech by Rep. Ro Khanna on Puerto Rican Decolonization

Our organization held several meetings with Congressman Khanna to discuss Puerto Rico’s status and advocate for a meaningful statement about ending Puerto Rico’s colonial status.

JUNE 5, 2024 - Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora (BUDPR) commends and congratulates Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA 17th District) for his powerful floor speech today on Puerto Rico’s political status, and on the need for Congress to assume its responsibility to decolonize Puerto Rico. Congressman Khanna’s speech is one of the strongest statements in recent memory by a U.S. elected official on Puerto Rico’s colonial status and signals changing attitudes in Congress about the question of Puerto Rico’s political future.

“Mr. Speaker, it is time to finally decolonize Puerto Rico. We have kept Puerto Rico as a territory since 1898: more than 125 years,” said Rep. Khanna, who alluded to his family’s legacy in the struggle for India’s independence.

Rep. Khanna’s speech on Puerto Rico is commendable for going beyond platitudes about how Puerto Ricans need to achieve consensus before Congress can act. It rightfully recognizes that the United States government must do its part to decolonize Puerto Rico and that, after over 125 years, it is long past time to resolve the issue of Puerto Rico’s status. His speech also underscores that the only options for Puerto Rico are statehood or sovereignty.

“We must either grant them full independence or statehood. I’m committed to working directly with Puerto Ricans on this issue. … We must end Puerto Rico’s colonial status. It was wrong for India, it’s wrong for Puerto Rico in 2024” said Rep. Khanna.

Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora has held multiple meetings with Rep. Khanna this year to advocate for this floor speech and to outline our vision for resolving Puerto Rico’s status.

“The Puerto Rico status debate has long been missing two key things: honesty and courage from American politicians,” said BUDPR President Alberto Medina. “It is refreshing to hear both from Rep. Khanna in this speech that highlights the United States’ political responsibility to decolonize.”

BUDPR has had several productive meetings with Congressional offices this year and has found a renewed receptiveness to taking action on Puerto Rico’s status beyond the flawed plebiscites and legislation that have so far failed to move decolonization forward.

“Congressman Khanna’s speech is proof that we have real allies in Congress who reject colonialism, who want meaningful change, and who are ready to approach this issue in a different way,” added Medina. “We are ready to engage with any U.S. leaders who want to champion the moral cause of Puerto Rico’s decolonization and self-determination, and who are ready to start working on a serious and viable transition to independence for Puerto Rico.”