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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Don’t let yourself be confused; say no to a virtual nation of Puerto Rico

Jennifer Lopez, backed by the image of the Puerto Rico flag, performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., Feb. 2, 2020. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

By Gregorio Igartúa

Special to The Star

We were born and formed under a federalist system of government of the United States of America. We are 4th-, 5th- and 6th-generation American citizens with two flags. (See, G. Igartúa, One Nation Two flags? 15 San Juan Daily Star 9-1-2023).

We are American citizens of the territory that has been most assimilated to be like a state of our nation since 1898. We have defended democracy with thousands of soldiers. However, under the veil of Puerto Rican culture, independence leaders promote their political ideals daily, always under the guise of the Puerto Rican flag, even in the states to which they move. (For example, Rubén Berríos to Miami, Florida, and legal adviser to the President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega … contradictory?).

The latest independence cultural assault on our people is to refer to us as the PUERTO RICAN DIASPORA. Incorrect! The term applies to citizens of one country who have moved to another country (a group of people with the same descent, or a common country, or place of origin, who have moved to other countries in the world -- Jews, Cubans, Venezuelans, and others). We move within our nation, without a passport, not as foreigners (5 million). We cannot allow ourselves to be called foreigners in the states of our nation of which we are citizens. “The People are the Nation” and the “Nation is the People.” (Afroyim v. Rusk). We are also the American people. However, pro-independence journalists insist on identifying us as “diaspora” and have great access to the public (see J. A. Delgado, Nuevo Enclave de la Diaspora, in Houston, Texas, Nuevo Día, April 9, 2024.) The insistence of some journalists occurs despite the fact that they have been informed of the error of referring to the American citizens of Puerto Rico with the term “diaspora.”

Furthermore, they have promoted the sole use of the flag of Puerto Rico, appealing to the sentiment of the people, without considering that we have a double loyalty, one associated with the flag of the United States and another one with the flag of Puerto Rico. They use it in all of their political activities, in public places, in all sports activities, even in the States, especially in sports if a Puerto Rican participates. Some artists sneak it into television shows. Buildings are painted with the Puerto Rican flag. I mean, it’s practically an obsession. The problem is accentuated because the Popular Democratic Party leadership, contrary to its founder, Don Luis Muñoz Marín, promotes the use of a single flag, that of Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, the pro-statehood leadership has folded its arms on this matter and does not promote the use of the American flag. Worse still, the present government itself cooperates in coordination with a group that identifies itself as “Junte Boricua” to highlight the pride of our cultural identity with a Puerto Rican Parade on the island in May. For the activity all Puerto Ricans residing outside of Puerto Rico are identified as the Puerto Rican diaspora (EM Vega, Junte Boricua, El Nuevo Día, April 5, 2024). All of the above does have its adverse effect and hinders Puerto Rico from moving toward equality, toward statehood. The independentistas want a virtual nation, a nation within a nation, and the pro-statehood administration, under the veil of political blindness, is lending them a hand.

Gregorio Igartúa is a lawyer and longtime advocate for Puerto Rico statehood.

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