Puerto Rico vs. The Trust Territory

The upcoming 2017 status vote in Puerto Rico will include two options: independence and statehood. If independence wins the vote, there will be another ballot to decide between plain old independence and Sovereign Free Associated Statehood. It’s important to note that Sovereign Free Associated Statehood is not a form of statehood. It’s a form of independence.

Let’s look at a few nations that are Free Associated States: the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands. These nations, along with the Mariana Islands, used to be part of the Pacific Trust Territory. After World War II, these islands — which used to be owned by Japan — came under the care of the United Nations, and the United States agreed “to promote the development of the people of the Trust Territory toward self-government or independence as appropriate to the particular circumstances of the Trust Territory and its peoples and the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned.”

The U.N. trusteeship was phased out beginning in 1986, and was replaced by Compacts of Free Association for the three FAS that defined U.S. and FAS relations and responsibilities. This responsibility included 15 years of financial support, plus the FAS use of the U.S. Post Office, the National Weather Service, the U.S. dollar, and various other services that helped the FAS (Freely Associates States) to get on their feet after the war. The FAS also get military defense protection from the U.S., and the U.S. gets military bases. The compacts of FSM and the Marshall Islands were renewed in 2004 for another 20 years, after which financial support from the U.S. will end.

There is a big difference between the current FAS and Puerto Rico. Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands were never U.S. territories. They never belonged to the United States as Puerto Rico does, and their people have never been U.S. citizens. The United States doesn’t own these islands and never did. The U.S. simply administered a U.N. trusteeship for the islands, and as you can see from the part of the agreement quoted above, independence was always the goal for these nations.

If Puerto Rico wants to become a Freely Associated State like Palau, it must first declare independence and stop being a territory of the U.S. The current relationship must be ended before a new relationship can begin. Puerto Rico must choose independence and then negotiate a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

We believe that statehood is a better plan for Puerto Rico. Every one of the 50 states is more prosperous and more powerful than any of the Freely Associated States. The people of Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens. The path from territory to statehood is a natural one. Sign the petition.

 

2 Comments

Jason

I’m afraid that I must disagree with the idea that it would be better for us to be a state of the Union. Puerto Ricans currently seem to have some sort of identity crisis, they want all of the benefits of being a state, yet at the same time they want to keep their own identity as Puerto Ricans and be able to make our decisions without any outside influence. For example, the majority of Puerto Rico seems to be against abortion, and many might even be in favor of penalizing it, yet this a right that all women in the US have. There is also the issue with the Olympics and Miss Mundo and Universo. We cannot represent Puerto Rico as a nation, but instead it will be miss USA, or the athletes from the US. It may seem like something small, but our people have great pride in our athletes and models. There is also the issue of our lack of general knowledge of the USA. Our citizens couldn’t possibly pass the citizenship test, even though it’s not required, the average citizen would fail miserably. How can we be a state, when neither the young nor the old could possibly answer “what is the supreme law of the land?”

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