AOC Says Bipartisan Bill to Grant Puerto Rico Self-Determination Is “Un Milagro”

A bipartisan group of legislators led by House Majority leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, unveiled a bill that would give Puerto Rico the ability to determine its own territorial status.

The bill was negotiated between lawmakers with opposing views regarding how the colonized territory should have been designated. It is now known as the Puerto Rico Status ActThe latest draft of the bill would allow a new plebiscite under federal supervision to give Puerto Ricans a choice between pre-defined states of statehood, independence or sovereignty in free association. This is the first bill to propose a binding plebiscite, which would not allow the island to remain a U.S. territory.

The legislation is the result. months of negotiationsThere are many factions that vie for control of the territory, including pro-statehood politicians like Rep. Darren Soto (R-Florida), Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón (R), who represents Puerto Rico as a non-voting member, and Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi; as well as self-determination advocates like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Nydia Velázquez (D-New York).

“Let me tell you what this bill is about. Do the United States want to become a colonial power or not? I hope the answer to that is ‘no.’ Emphatic no,” Hoyer saidIn a press conference, the bill was presented. “That is not a political issue. That is a principal issue. That’s an issue of what our country is about. We believe in self-determination.”

Puerto Rico is currently a territory. It has been increasingly exploited by rich statesiders seeking to use it essentially as a tax haven — a situation that has been exacerbated by politicians who local residents say are corrupt. Residents FaceOne of the most brutal and violent police forces in the United States, according to local activists. Plan for debt restructuringThe idea to rescue the territory from bankruptcy was to benefit wealthy elites.

Puerto Ricans love to travel. Held uprisingsHowever, they have faced strong resistance from police forces as well as other forms of repression to quell these movements. “Self-determination, as well as political and social progress in Puerto Rico, has been stalled by the systematic use of repression in Puerto Rico,” wrote Marisol LeBrón and Mari Mari NarváezFor Truthout2019 “Communities and populations that rarely receive decent basic services from the state more often experience mano dura, or iron-fisted treatment.”

The island was inhabited for many years. has held nonbindingResolutions that were biased in favor of statehood were created. In 2017, a vote showed that, with 23 percent turnout, 97 percent of voters supposedly favored statehood — a vote that was so skewed that the Justice Department wouldn’t validate its results. Puerto Rican advocacy groupsPierluisi, a pro-statehood figure, cherry-picks statistics in favor statehood while denying residents a real voice in the matter.

Ocasio-Cortez praised the bill, calling it “truly historic” and “un milagro,” or a miracle. “There was a lot of skepticism at first if [a consensus bill] was ever going to happen, because it has not been resolved for over a hundred years,” she said. Last year, Velázquez and Ocasio-Cortez Introduced a billSimilar to the current proposal, this would have created a status convention consisting of delegates from Puerto Rico, which would have decided on a new island status.

Pierluisi and González-Colón also praised the bill, saying that they were confident that it would lead to statehood if passed.

“The people of Puerto Rico have voted for Statehood on multiple occasions and Congress has never expressed itself to resolve the status,” González-Colón said in a statement. “This is the first time that we have a binding plebiscite with only non-territorial options: Statehood, Independence and Sovereignty in Free Association with the United States and in this way honors the mandate of the people in favor of statehood, providing a mechanism to achieve it.”