David Begnaud, We are Puerto Ricans
Published by Antonio Camacho, Esq. | January 20, 2021*
*Translation of original article in Spanish by Lic. Antonio Camacho, David Begnaud, nosotros somos puertorriqueños, La Voz Digital PR, January 20, 2021 available at https://lavozdigitalpr.com/2021/01/20/david-begnaud-nosotros-somos-puertorriquenos/ (last visited Jan. 20, 2021).
Antonio A. Camacho is a Puerto Rican currently living in Virginia, former military officer, war veteran, and an attorney, as well as an operations & logistics management consultant.
Days ago, members of the Puerto Rico National Guard arrived in Washington, DC, to protect the presidential swearing in of Joe Biden. Yesterday David Begnaud made viral a Tweet with his pictures saying that it is surreal that Puerto Rican soldiers be activated to guarantee a democratic process from which they are excluded and that as American citizens Puerto Ricans have served in American wars even though they cannot elect the President.
In light of this situation, I would like to explain to Begnaud, that the US Constitution establishes that Congress has the power to do as it pleases with properties of the Federal Government and Puerto Rico is a property that Congress uses for its benefit.
This territorial clause also justifies the political position that the United States (USA) enforces over Puerto Rico. Here we see laws, legal opinions, the BOARD, the prohibition of cockfights, the difference between non incorporated and incorporated territories, cabotage laws, and that which prohibits that “American Puerto Rican soldiers” elect the president who orders them to defend American political interests.
Even though Puerto Rican soldiers residing in Puerto Rico do not elect the American president that exchanges their lives for political objectives, Begnaud’s comments exemplify the political, social and cultural abyss, between Puerto Rico and the USA. For example, I have never heard anyone say “the American citizens of Florida” or that it be necessary to remind the government that “in Alaska there are American citizens”, or the citizens of Iowa recalling “Iowa is part of the USA”.
Within this same abyss, I remember a morning in South Dakota when I was a cadet in the US Air Force officers’ school where a captain called me to tell me “if you feel some type of discrimination, let me know”. Later at the school of professional military education for Second Lieutenants in Alabama, an Anglo Saxon asked me, “are you an American”, even though we both had the same rank and uniform. Later in Texas a debate arose where I was told that “San Juan is not a city”.
Begnaud, be it in Washington, DC or in Iraq, we Puerto Ricans are not a bunch of American citizens living in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico is a nation with its own language, culture, and history on a road to its liberty.