Our Political Status, by Pedro Albizu Campos
Our Political Status
The United States of America is a sovereign nation; it is not a conglomeration of sovereigns. The preamble of the North American Constitution reads: “We, the people of the United States of America, in order to establish a more perfect union, etc....
Juridically, the United States is a nation organized in one state in the true meaning of the term, despite the living political reality that represented by Southern nationalism with its aspirations and ideals, its heroes and martyrs, its memories inspired by more than half the North American political body.
For erudite writers like the historian of Virginia, Pollard, the southern Confederacy is an ideal.
For people like them the chance of arms of the Civil War resolved nothing.
Nevertheless, the North American Constitution is juridically the will of one sole sovereign. Politically the country is divided into provinces that for historical reasons were poorly named “states” in order to facilitate the derogation of the original confederation and the approval of the present Constitution.
The postulate of national unity that informs the North American Constitution has determined the invariable rule that no territory shall be admitted as a state until the Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Celtic elements have obtained definitive ascendancy. The racial, religious, and cultural elements are primordial in considering the possibility of admission of a community to statehood or as a province.
Puerto Rico is the most perfect nationality in the New World. It is a true social unity. Despite being made up of nearly 70% Spanish blood, Catholicism has destroyed every deep racial division.
This Christian nation sprang up under the aegis of the cross one hundred years before Jamestown, Virginia was founded.
Culturally, this nation considers itself one of this hemisphere’s depositories of Greco-Latin civilization. This consciousness is so profound that we consider this privilege as natural, and our scientific national conduct, based on our feeling of collective responsibility, cannot be taken as a renunciation either of this glorious patrimony or our destiny.
From the Puerto Rican point of view statehood or annexation in whatever form signifies the transformation of our international personality. By virtue of this Puerto Rico would become a geographic name. Our nation would be precipitated into the maelstrom of North American politics and social, geographic, and international problems with no advantage for us. What is more, in view of the absolute impossibility of transforming this Hispano-American nation into an Anglo-American community it is absurd to occupy ourselves with statehood, since such a pretention is equivalent to asking the people of the United States to destroy its national unity. Two Puerto Rican senators and new deputies in the US Congress could become the arbitrators of the fate of the United States at some critical moment in the life of that nation.
The point of view of this Puerto Rican representation in international affairs, especially as concerns Latin America, will invariably be contrary to the traditional North American point of view. In the internal affairs of the United States our people could never see things as they are seen by North Americans.
This perennial incomprehension would be inevitable despite the best good will and sense of justice, for the traditions that fix a national, social, or international perspective cannot be fundamentally altered for reasons of convenience.
These are the fundamental reasons against the absurd idea of statehood for Puerto Rico.
The supposed economic reasons against statehood lack a basis. Puerto Rico is a rich country and could sustain statehood or independence. Our country possesses an area of approximately four thousand cuadradas, or ten thousand square kilometers, and sustains a population of almost two million inhabitants. It is the United States’ second largest market in this hemisphere and sixth in the world.
Our productive capacity is obviously great.
These are the economic facts under the present regime of an irresponsible government that functions for the exclusive benefit of four or five absentee corporations registered in the United States, though it is impossible to determine the nationality of these shareholders.
Under a responsible government of the Republic of Puerto Rico, with the inherent freedom to negotiate commercial treaties on a basis of reciprocity, our economic production would necessarily increase. Aside from statehood the Constitution of the United States only considers the irresponsible forms of government, for example, martial law in any state or territory in case of rebellion or foreign invasion and the territorial form of the government.
Using North American judicial terms Puerto Rico is defined as “an unincorporated territory which is a possession but not a part of the United States.”
To be sure, this absurd dream is incomprehensible, but it is the judicial definition of the tribunals of the United States. Nevertheless, with all the respect due this judicial authority, this means that in Puerto Rico must be governed like any other territory, that is with an irresponsible government with all the evils and calamities, oppression and tyranny inevitable in a government of this nature.
So it is not strange that the system of irresponsible government implanted in the southern states of the United States during the period called Reconstruction could only be attacked by force. Arkansas had to suppress the territorial form of government in the same way.
It is this regime which the interests in place want to perpetuate. In the face of independence they pretend to defend statehood, but in reality they hate this status as well.
In the judicial definition made for the tribunals of the United States it is declared that Puerto Rico is not a part of the United States.
This conclusion is true. The Treaty of Paris, by virtue of which the United States claims to govern this country, is null and void as relates to Puerto Rico. The present regime is essentially a military intervention that functions for the exclusive benefit of absentee corporations that want to reduce this nation to the cruelest of economic slaveries.
This government is administered in the name of the people of the United States. It has at its disposal the armed forces and the resources of that nation. They even exploit the humanitarian instincts of the American people for these ends.
Since Puerto Rico is a very rich country the absentee corporations established here carry out propaganda in the North American press in order to induce the innocent North American people to support this regime of economic exploitation through the falsehood that it is for the good of the poor people of Puerto Rico.
This press propaganda is systematic and is carried out with the intention of clouding North American public opinion.
The current military intervention prejudices the vital interests of the North American people. The United States as a nation assumes an enormous responsibility in maintaining this tyrannical government with its long list of crimes in order to maintain slavery for the exclusive benefit a few absentee corporations.
This policy affects the vast vital interests of the United States in Latin America, which naturally feels itself to be in solidarity with the cause of Puerto Rican independence.
Independence means international relations on the basis of reciprocal suitability.
Before the North American invasion more than 40% of our foreign commerce was with the United States. There is no reason why we can’t arrive at a friendly mutually suitable arrangement with the independence of Puerto Rico.
Once the executive power of the United States represented by its president Mr. Franklin Roosevelt has recognized the right of Puerto Rico to be an independent nation we can establish truly friendly relations between the two nations for their mutual benefit.
In order to avoid those dangerous situations inherent to every transitional period the present regime must be liquidated without any delay by a Constituent Convention and a treaty of commerce and friendship between the two nations.
Puerto Rico is a noble nation, and its word, once given, is a guarantee of its credit, whatever the circumstances.