The groundbreaking book Citizens Without A State clearly explains the law and history behind the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

But when you order a copy from Puerto Rico, you can see why this relationship continues to be confusing.

Correctly choose the United States as your country, and you will need to pick a state. But Puerto Rico is not a state. You can see that it should be there between Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, but it is not there. Puerto Rico is not a state. It is a territory belonging to the United States. So it doesn’t show up under states.

However, there is no drop-down menu for unincorporated territories. Where will you find Puerto Rico? Under “Country.”

Puerto Rico is not a country. It is a territory belonging to the United States.

The software that runs our shopping cart is WooCommerce. It is the most popular e-commerce software in the world. Why do they list Puerto Rico under “Country”? We asked for an explanation. Here’s what they told us:

It’s not a country, but it’s also not a US state. The International Organization for Standardization lists Puerto Rico as its own entity with its own country code, so it’s listed under countries along with similar territories.

We checked, and the IOS does have a “country code” for Puerto Rico. They say, “Independent: no” making Puerto Rico, for the purposes of software, an unindependent country, much as it is an unincorporated territory. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s the best they could come up with.

Don’t worry when you order.

Go ahead and choose Puerto Rico from the Country menu. Human beings ship the packages, and they will not be confused. But the fact that you have to work around this — not only in our shopping carts, but in all the shopping carts using this software or the IOS system — is a sign of how unnatural Puerto Rico’s current territorial status is.

Being a territory… some would say a colony… makes no sense in the 21st century. Territories were new parts of our growing nation, being settled and growing into states. Puerto Rico should be a state. Join us in working toward statehood for Puerto Rico.

Then our checkout forms will be accurate.



One response

  1. To ship by FEDEX from the mainland to PR I requires an international rather than domestic FEDEX shipping form. The narrative on packaging for a Puerto Rico version of the Barbie Doll misinformed the public and targeted children with the false claim that Puerto Rico is an autonomous “country.” These are just two examples of ubiquitous and seemingly normative political propaganda propagating an institutionalized falsehood about the territory’s actual political status.

    It is not within the range of normative options to treat PR as a “country.” That creates confusion which impedes economy and efficiency in public and private sector business and enterprise. It is not by accident that there is confusion and misdirection.

    The anti-statehood political faction in PR is committed to perpetuate the current status quo and stop statehood or real nationhood based on independence. That faction spent decades seeking treatment as a nation or “country” by the U.N. and the U.S. as well as other nations, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and private business, as well political, cultural and educational institutions.

    The anti-statehood party has paid tens of millions to lobbyists in law firms like Covington & Burling to create an official record supporting Puerto Rico’s anti-statehood party’s false claims of “autonomy” and nation-to-nation “free association” between PR and the USA. Like thieves in a hotel checking every door to find unlocked rooms, the party of autonomous “commonwealth” sought out government and private sector opportunities to falsely claim to be a “country” and not a territory of the USA.

    Along with many other entities willingly or unwittingly enlisted in this deceptive false political narrative, FEDEX, WooCommerce and the International Organization for Standardization should be petitioned by the government of PR to cease and desist in practices that are detrimental to orderly, predictable regulation of commerce and official as well as private sector lines of communication.

    The assertion that PR is sovereign and not domestic is a political deception fully and finally repudiated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016. That ideology of separatism is an anti-democratic ideological lie that has real world impact for which FEDEX, Woo Commerce IOS need to be held accountable.

    In 1986 the local PR government was controlled by the anti-statehood faction, and tried to negotiate trade and tax agreement with the government of Japan. The U.S. Department of State had to intervene to expose and shut down that usurpation of federal power over firing relations. This is a serious problem. It misinforms voters on status in connection with plebiscites and democratic self-determination. It makes the denial of democracy in Puerto Rico seem normal to many in Congress and the public when the topic of Puerto Rico’s future status is debated or discussed.

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