July 4, 2023
By Alderperson Jessie L. Fuentes, 26th ward; Alderperson Rosanna Rodriguez Sånchez, 33rd ward; Alderperson Michael D. Rodriguez,22nd ward; Alderperson Gilbert Villegas, 36th ward; Alderperson Carlos Ramirez Rosa, 35th ward, city council floor leader; and Juan M. Calderon Cuza
The Fourth of July honors the 13 colonies adopting the Declaration of Independence and announcing their break from Great Britain to forge their own identity as a nation. The break drew the wrath of an empire against a people pursuing the right to self-determination – freely choosing and charting their own future.
Puerto Rico, under U.S. rule since 1898, should also be able to exercise its right to self-determination, on its own terms. Chicagoans and all Americans can be allies by supporting the right to a fair process. By fair, I mean a transparent process that Puerto Ricans lead, with clear and full information upfront on what changes a status shift –to independence, a free association with the United States or statehood– would bring, or not.
Puerto Ricans are tired of being used as political chips for U.S. parties and tired of having choices framed for them. That’s not democratic and that’s not freedom. Let us stand united in ensuring that the voices of Puerto Ricans are respected as they strive to freely and fairly determine the future of their country.