Self Determination for Puerto Rico

Statements by National, State and Grassroots Leaders on the Need to Honor Self Determination for Puerto Rico The obligation of the United States to honor a Puerto Rican status choice has been recognized many, many times over the years, from presidents of the United States to local veterans groups, whose members historically stood together with… Read more »

The United States Has an Obligation

The United States has an obligation to resolve Puerto Rico’s status as a territory of the United States The U.S. took possession of Puerto Rico through war.  Almost 110 years later, the United States citizens of Puerto Rico still do not have voting representation in a government that makes and implements their national laws.  The… Read more »

The Evolving Definition of the Puerto Rican “Commonwealth”

The Enactment of the Commonwealth Constitution:  The Confusion Begins Puerto Rico is often called a commonwealth, but “Commonwealth” is actually just a word in the formal name of its insular government.   In 1950, the Federal government authorized Puerto Rico to draft a local constitution for Federal approval (Public Law 81-600), specifying that any new local autonomy would… Read more »

An Issue for all Americans: Puerto Rican Self-Determination

Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States.  Its residents are United States citizens, but they have no voting rights or representation in the government that makes and implements their national laws, and they are not treated equally in federal programs.  This unequal treatment violates the most basic principles of equal citizenship in the… Read more »

Puerto Rico: A Territory of the United States

The legal foundation of Puerto Rico’s status within the United States can be found in Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, commonly known as the “Territory Clause” — “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging… Read more »

George HW Bush’s First State of the Union Address (1989(

Delivered on February 9, 1989 Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, and distinguished Members of the House and Senate, honored guests, and fellow citizens: Less than 3 weeks ago, I joined you on the West Front of this very building and, looking over the monuments to our proud past, offered you my hand in filling the next… Read more »

Puerto Rico is a Territory of the United States

The legal foundation of Puerto Rico’s status within the United States can be found in Article IV,  Section 3, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, commonly known as the “Territorial Clause”  —  “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging… Read more »

And Yet More Confusion over “Commonwealth”: Puerto Rico’s Plebiscite History

Three referenda held in the 20th century to provide Puerto Ricans with self determination were inconclusive due to confusion over “Commonwealth” proposals that are different from the current governing arrangement and different from one another and were later determined by Federal officials to not be viable.

“Commonwealth” is Unconstitutional

In 1998, the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) of Puerto Rico (not affiliated with the Democratic Party of the U.S.) adopted a blueprint for a new relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.  This plan, which was re-endorsed in the Party’s platforms in 2000 and 2004, by resolutions of its Governing Board in 2009 and… Read more »