viernes, 20 de marzo de 2009

Independence, “why not?” at Suffolk University students meeting

Independence, "why not?" at Suffolk University students meeting

José R. Bas García -
San Juan, Puerto Rico - March 17, 2009

Manuel Rodríguez Orellana, PIP's Secretary
for North American Relations

The Puerto Rican Independence Party Secretary for North American Relations, Manuel Rodríguez Orellana, spoke this week to a group of students from Suffolk University, in Boston, who visited Puerto Rico on an educational trip. Each member was assigned a different research topic on varying aspects of Puerto Rico. Rodríguez Orellana spoke on our political status, the need to resolve this problem, and the proposal of independence as the only viable solution for both Puerto Rico and the United States. In his informal talk, held as a workshop that lasted nearly one and a half hours, Rodríguez Orellana—a university professor, himself—effectively addressed the relevant issues and questions that came up.

Click on the links to listen to what was said
about the different topics

mp3 format

A leader and advocate for Puerto Rico's independence, the retired law school professor and former senator dealt with a wide rage of inquiries about independence as a solution to our present colonial status.

"Independence is the only cure for colonialism… for nations", said Rodríguez Orellana after he explained how small countries have successfully developed their economies after gaining their sovereignty and independence. He declared that Puerto Rico is not able to do the same because "there is [an] absence of sovereignty in Puerto Rico … which means that we lack the powers to manage our own economy, among many other areas of our life as a People."

When describing our present relationship with the United States, Rodríguez Orellana referred to the territorial clause of the U.S. Constitution and its interpretation by the U.S. Supreme Court declaring Puerto Rico an unincorporated territory, one that "belongs to, but is not part of the United States" in one of the Insular Cases resolved by the Supreme Court as early as 1902. The establishment in 1952 of the present "commonwealth" or Estado Libre Asociado, he pointed out, did not change the Island's condition as a "territory".

Suffolk University students with Rodríguez Orellana

During his talk, the students asked many questions about the citizenship and nationality of Puerto Ricans, opening a wide-ranging discussion of the concepts of nation, nation-state and national identity; current commonwealth status; the PIP as a minority party that promotes independence; and statehood as an option.

The university professor who accompanied the group made the following closing statement:

"You have heard the truth. The Independence Party… they don't have the numbers, but clearly they have the passion and the ability to articulate…, to really make you think 'why not?'"