Puerto Ricans boost independence campaign against US

Puerto Rican residents boost a move for independence from the US.

In the run-up to UN Special Committee on Decolonization more than 2,000 citizens of Puerto Rico subject to the plenary jurisdiction of the United States, claimed independence, as well as Oscar López Rivera release.

Independence activist has been locked up in a US federal prison on conspiracy charges since 1981 after. He has been sentenced to 55 years in prison the same year, later receiving an additional 15 years after he tried to escape from jail in 1988. In 1999, Rivera rejected a conditional pardon offered by former US President Bill Clinton.

The groups involved in organizing Sunday's protest included the Nationalist Party, the Workers' Socialist Movement (MST), New School, Caribbean and Latin American Coordinator, the Resistance Collective, and the Revolutionary Workers' Party-Macheteros.

"We doubled our numbers this year," said Juan Dalmau, general secretary of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP). "The march has been a resounding success. We demand independence, and this year we also demand that Oscar López be freed. Ashford Avenue has been flooded with patriotism and commitment to independence."

Héctor Pesquera, spokesman for the Hostosian National Independence Movement (MINH), says it's been a long time since an event for independence was so successful. "Necessity is forcing us to come together. It's the only way out for this country facing colonial collapse."

During the protest, activists burned a US flag, and Puerto Rican Senator María de Lourdes Santiago, vice president of the PIP, read a letter from Rivera: "The Puerto Rican diaspora should remain united and feel the power that it has the potential to achieve," said the activist, who has spent the last 12 years in solitary confinement.

"The same should happen inside Puerto Rico. We should see ourselves as 8 million strong, not divided in half. We cannot allow the colonial situation to last much longer."

In 2012, Puerto Rico carried out a referendum to determine whether or not residents wanted to become a US state.

In total, 809,000 Puerto Ricans voted to integrate further with the United States, while 441,000 wanted the island to become a free associated state, and just 73,000 cast a ballot for full independence. Controversy erupted over the high number of blank votes.

Also read: Puerto Rico: Island of Freedom Without Freedom


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