Two weeks after rioters stormed the Capitol building, approximately 140 members of the Puerto Rico National Guard flew into Washington, D.C., to provide security for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Ironically, these soldiers cannot vote for their Commander in Chief.
Soldiers from the 92nd Military Police Brigade joined more than 20,000 members of the National Guard from other states and territories.
“We all work as a team to make this happen,” said logistics readiness officer Maj. Angela Feliciano of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard 156th Airlift Wing. “At the end, we’re supporting the Department of Defense, we’re supporting our nation, we’re supporting the Army, and with that, we are able to provide security for the country as well. The impact will be seen at the presidential inauguration.”
Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon tweeted, “Proud of the brave & unconditional service of our Puerto Rican soldiers who, without voting for their President, are willing to fight to defend the democratic ideals that our Nation was founded upon… Without having a vote in Congress, I fight for these service members and for my people, demanding the equality that will only come with statehood.”
Chef Jose Andres is helping to feed the troops. Andres, an award-winning chef, became one of the heroes in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria when he and his crew fed 100,000 people a day in more than a dozen kitchens across the Island. He later wrote a book about that adventure, .
Puerto Rico National Guard
Puerto Rico sends more men and women to the U.S. military than most states, and Puerto Ricans have served in every U.S. conflict since the Revolutionary War. The National Guard was organized in 1920.
The Borinqueneers, the Puerto Rican Army unit that was established from the Puerto Rico Regiment of Volunteer Infantry, which was attached to the U.S. military in 1908, were disbanded when segregation ended in the army, and the personnel were transferred to the National Guard.
The Puerto Rico National Guard have assisted in disaster response efforts in Puerto Rico, Haiti, and other locations. They also conduct the Youth Challenge program and the Science and Technology Academies Reinforcing Basic Aviation and Space Education (STARBASE) program.
No votes in presidential elections
The soldiers providing security for the inauguration of the president were not able to vote for him.
In the general election on November 3, Puerto Rico held a yes/no vote on statehood. Statehood won a majority (52.5%) of that vote, a margin of victory that was higher than that of Governor Pierluisi. Yet Puerto Rico cannot finish this act of self-determination; the next step would be for Congress to pass a law recognizing the result and implementing the change in Puerto Rico’s status.
As a state, Puerto Rico would have equal voting rights with other states, and Puerto Rico voters will be able to vote in presidential elections.
Updated on January 19, 2021.