For some years the major political parties in Puerto Rico have been the PNP, or statehood party, and the PDP, or commonwealth party. The much smaller PIP, or Independence Party, was the third leg of the stool that is Puerto Rico politics.
People who are accustomed to the mainland’s division between Republican and Democratic parties may find it surprising, but the most important division in Puerto Rico is not between Democrats and Republicans, or even between conservatives and liberals, but among the three main options for Puerto Rico’s political status. Depending whether you favor statehood or separatism or perhaps still entertain the fantasy of “enhanced commonwealth,” your political party allegiance will generally be to the party that supports your favorite option.
However, there is a newer party that has been getting some headlines. The Citizen Victory Movement (MVC) sprang up in 2019 from the ashes of the Working People’s Party. In their first election, they gained 13% of the vote, more than twice the normal rate garnered by the Independence Party.
Recently, the PIP (Independence Party) has announced a coalition with the MVC, with the intention of getting enough of a showing in 2024 to oust the two major parties.
The MVC began with a focus on bringing an end to corruption and colonialism, welcoming members of all other parties. Their planned alliance with the PIP brought that focus into question, and now Rep. José Aponte Hernández, former speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, has called on statehood supporters to leave the MVC.
Referring to an event held in Rio Pedras, Aponte Hernández said, “Yesterday’s promotion of the MVC’s Anticapitalist Network, with an activity in which a senator and a representative of that party participated as keynote speakers, makes it clear that there is no room for statehooders, because statehooders believe in freedom of trade; we do not believe in a communist economic system, where a group orders how things are done for the rest of the population. Such communist economic experiments, as in the case of North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba, have left populations in extreme poverty. No statehooder wants that for Puerto Rico. No statehooder wants a communist regime.”
The Anticapitalist Network
The MVC is organized into networks, including the Territorial Network, the Diaspora Network, and the Community Network. There is a network for young supporters and a network of knowledge and abilities. The Anticapitalist Network is not listed among the official networks of the party on its website, but may be too new to have made the list.
The MVC does not say at its website that it supports socialism, but neither does its list of “Urgent Agenda” items stand against that economic system.
Aponte Hernández invited MVC members who support statehood to join the PNP, saying, “The central axis of our democracy is the economic system we have. The MVC intends to impose on us a model like that of Cuba. No person who believes in freedom, who treasures his American citizenship and wants permanent union can serve in that party. No person who seeks equality for Puerto Rico can militate in a community that clearly postulates against everything that statehood represents.”