A new bill has been proposed in Puerto Rico that would forbid flying the U.S. flag without having the Puerto Rican flag alongside it. Government and public corporations would be affected by the ruling, which would carry a fine for any entity which flouted the rule.
The text of the bill claims that
“la bandera es el símbolo patrio de más alto valor para una nación. Es el principal símbolo con el que cada pueblo se identifica y se distingue ante la gama de países que componen la comunidad internacional”
or, in English,
“The flag is the national symbol of the highest value to a nation. It is the main symbol that identifies each town and stands before the range of countries that make up the international community. “
Rep. Carlos Hernandez Lopez, majority speaker of the House of Representatives, is the author of the bill.
Puerto Rico is not an independent nation; the option of becoming an independent country received just over 5% of the votes in the November plebiscite. Many people in the political party to which Speaker Hernandez Lopez belongs would prefer to see Puerto Rico become an “enhanced” Commonwealth, under which Puerto Rico simulatneously takes on the attributes of both a territory of the United States and a sovereign nation. Although the notion of an “enhanced” Commonwealth has been soundly rejected for decades by the U.S. Congress, Republican and Democratic presidents, and legal authorities for being unconstitutional and impossible at a practical level, it seems possible that this bill is nevertheless intended to be a step in that direction.