Puerto Ricans to March for Independence During Plebiscite

Puerto Ricans to March for Independence During Plebiscite

A protester holding a Puerto Rican flag. | Photo: Reuters

Since 1898, Puerto Rico has functioned as a “commonwealth” of the U.S., essentially making it a colony of Washington.

A plebiscite is being held in Puerto Rico on Sunday to determine the future political status of the Caribbean island, which has functioned as a “commonwealth” of the U.S. since 1898.

Puerto Ricans will be presented with three options: Statehood, Independence/Free Association and Current Territorial Status (commonwealth). If the majority vote for Independence/Free Association, a second vote will be arranged to decide the outcome — either complete independence as a sovereign nation or an associated free state status with independence allowing “free and voluntary association” with the United States.

However, Puerto Rico independence seekers are pursuing an alternative path, scheduling a pro-independence march to coincide with the plebiscite. The march, which is supported by the opposition Puerto Rican Independence Party and Popular Democratic Party, PPD, will start at 2 p.m. in San Juan outside of the U.S. Federal Court building.

Demonstrators are being asked to bring their independence flags to show their support for the cause.

Groups that back the current commonwealth status, like the PPD, have called for a boycott of the plebiscite. PPD President Hector Ferrer has gone as far as claiming the vote is “invalid” and “rigged.”

Those who support statehood, like Gov. Ricardo Rossello, have claimed that it would help resolve the island’s crippling US$74 billion debt.

Telesur English