A speech was delivered by the President of the Senate of Puerto Rico:

“The people of Puerto Rico through their legitimate and popular representatives will unhesitatingly cooperate in bringing about our financial reconstruction and the upkeeping of democracy because we wish to enjoy for ever the gifts of liberty, of that liberty which gives us the freedom of dis-cussing all public policies and all political, economic, and social ideals, no matter how disagreeable the former may be to the Administration, and how antagonistic the latter may be to the fundamental principles of the Government,” he said. “It is the ambition of Puerto Rico to participate fully in the dignity of either her American citizenship as a State of the Union or of her own sovereignty in the international concert of nations. It is on these two issues that public opinion is divided in the island as regards the final solution of our political status with a great majority of the people advocating Statehood.”

“What Puerto Rico haughtily rejects,” he continued, “is the idea of being indefinitely kept in a state of servitude as a colony which degrades us and lessens the prestige of the democratic traditions of the United States of America.”

This speech was delivered by Rafael Martinez Nadal, President of the Senate, in 1933.

The more things change…

Puerto Rico in 1933 was very different from Puerto Rico today. Life in 1933 was dominated by the harsh realities of the Great Depression, which slammed the brakes on a previously booming sugar industry – the lifeblood of the Puerto Rican economy. Poverty was widespread, and opportunities for advancement were scarce.

The island’s political landscape in 1933 was also drastically different. Puerto Rico had been a U.S. territory since 1898, but self-governance was a distant dream. Washington held the reins, often prioritizing American interests over the needs of the Puerto Rican people.

Today, Puerto Rico still faces economic inequity in comparison with the states, but is in a strong position compared to its neighbors. Tourism flourishes, fueled by stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage, and a welcoming atmosphere. Manufacturing and technology sectors are growing, offering new opportunities for skilled workers.

Politically, the debate on Puerto Rico’s status remains ongoing. The island is a U.S. territory, with residents being U.S. citizens but lacking full voting representation in Congress. There’s a growing movement for statehood, offering a path to greater political autonomy and economic opportunities.

Life for the average Puerto Rican has also undergone a dramatic transformation. Education levels are significantly higher, and access to healthcare is far more widespread. The island faces challenges, including a high poverty rate and a significant debt burden. However, the spirit of resilience that has always characterized the Puerto Rican people remains strong.

In essence, Puerto Rico has journeyed from an island heavily reliant on a single industry and under tight external control to a more diversified economy with aspirations for greater political self-determination. The challenges remain, but the progress made since 1933 is undeniable.

…the more they stay the same

But some things have not changed. It is still true that Puerto Rico must either be a state or an independent nation. There is no other option under the U.S. Constitution.

It is also still true that the current territorial status keeps us in a colonial position. This status weakens Puerto Rico, preventing the Island from reaching the potential which we know is great. It also brings shame on the United States, putting the nation in the position of holding a colony in the 21st century, when most residents not only of Puerto Rico but also of the United States and of the world reject the idea of colonialism.

Contact your representatives and make sure they know that statehood for Puerto Rico has your support.



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