John P. Cave III’s column ignores the right of political sovereignty and independence of Puerto Ricans.
First, an answer to Mr. Cave’s most obviously flawed argument: Most Puerto Ricans already rejected the status quo in 2012, so why is the author reviving it? Next comes an absurd and ethnocentric argument: Puerto Rico should join the union because it benefits non-Puerto Ricans’ political agendas. The author quotes an 18th century English political philosopher but then ignores serious current economic analysis and the actual desires of the colonized people of Puerto Rico.
The best alternative for Puerto Ricans and Americans is the mutual recognition of their different nationalities followed by a process that will allow Puerto Rico to join the free world to develop its path, away from the dependency of U.S. taxpayers’ money and the racist and colonial past of the Insular Cases. Puerto Rican independence would have advantages for both nations.
Economically, Puerto Rico as an independent nation will be able to get rid of the antiquated and anti-competitive 1920 Jones Act and the interstate commerce clause, finally giving the archipelago a long-awaited break of economic freedom to develop and strengthen its native capital. Statehood would mean that Puerto Rico’s less developed economy will indefinitely lag behind every U.S. state, perpetuating a ghetto economy in favor of more federal funds.
Politically, it will be a nightmare for the E Pluribus Unum to become E Pluribus Duo: Puerto Rico is a vibrant Caribbean and Latin American nation. Is the U.S. ready to fully annex a different country with its own language, history, and patriotism to the Union?
The irony in all of this is that the U.S. and its local Puerto Rican corrupt cronies persecuted and criminalized independence supporters for decades. Independentistas had and continue to suffer the same kind of persecution and extrajudicial nightmare the American nation is now waking up to in Portland. Instead of the current patchwork of at the last minute Congressional acts there should be a coherent policy on Puerto Rico. Colonialism has kept Puerto Rico’s economy from developing and using its comparative advantages. Puerto Ricans should not be impeded in their quest to achieve the political and economic liberties they deserve after 122 years of shameful American colonialism.
Freedom is not free, and in Puerto Rico we will continue to fight for our own freedom and liberty.
Antonio A. Camacho, Esq. Collaborator, Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora (BUDPR) is a Puerto Rican currently living in Virginia, former military officer, war veteran, and an attorney, as well as an operations & logistics management consultant.
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