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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

In July 4 speech, governor announces commission for US Declaration of Independence 250th anniversary celebration



Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said in his 4th of July address that “Our territorial status is a shame that should have no place in American democracy because it is inconsistent with its principles. Anyone who defends this unworthy status that we have is complicit in colonialism, is a participant in discrimination and is a collaborator in the lack of those rights that our veterans fought for and that our military defends.”

By The Star Staff


Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia announced Thursday that a commission will be created to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.


The governor made the announcement in a speech in which he highlighted that with the Declaration of Independence 248 years ago, a new government was created in which the equality of all human beings is the founding principle.


Likewise, he reiterated his call to President Joe Biden and members of the United States Congress to be faithful to the postulates established in 1776, reject colonialism, injustice and discrimination, and give the American citizens who live in Puerto Rico the rights they deserve.


“The United States has evolved and improved its principles since its founding. Over the years, the United States has remedied injustices that would be unthinkable today, such as the abolition of slavery and segregation, the approval of voting for every citizen, including women, the prohibition of discrimination on multiple grounds, and the expansion of citizen rights,” Pierluisi said. “That has been part of the progress of the American nation in its mission to form a ‘more perfect union’ as established by its Constitution. In Puerto Rico, we know there is still a need to correct inequalities among citizens who live in the states and those who live here. We celebrate this day because we recognize the worth of the United States system of government, a government that values freedom, human rights, and the common well-being. As American citizens, we aspire to have all those rights that our fellow citizens enjoy in the States.”


Likewise, Pierluisi insisted that “there is no full democracy when we do not have representation in the government, when we do not enjoy equal treatment, when our needy people are discriminated against, when an oversight board is imposed on us and when there is a failure to act on our claims.”


“Our territorial status is a shame that should have no place in American democracy because it is inconsistent with its principles,” the governor continued. “Anyone who defends this unworthy status that we have is complicit in colonialism, is a participant in discrimination and is a collaborator in the lack of those rights that our veterans fought for and that our military defends. We are proud of our American citizenship, we celebrate our nation and we defend with blood the founding principles of a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”


Pierluisi stressed that those are the reasons for calling a new status consultation. He said it is necessary for U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico to continue pressing and raising their voices so that the federal government responds and enforces the people’s will. “With our heads held high we fight the colony and demand equality,” he said. “We demand that the path toward a ‘more perfect union’ continue, leaving behind the territorial status and taking the right step to make full democracy a reality here in Puerto Rico.”


The governor signed an executive order creating an island commission to work alongside the United States Semiquincentennial Commission, known as “America 250,” which was established to ensure the observance and commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States, on July 4, 2026.


Federal officials have urged the states and territories to establish their own commissions to help plan and coordinate activities within each state and territory to celebrate the nation’s founding anniversary. The governor joined that call and by executive order created the Puerto Rico Commission for the commemoration of the semiquincentennial of the United States as an advisory body to the island government.


“The Commission will have the purpose of planning, promoting, developing and coordinating the celebrations and activities that will be carried out in Puerto Rico in commemoration of the historical events that preceded and are associated with the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States,” the executive order reads, adding that the commission “will be attached to the Department of State of Puerto Rico,” with the island secretary of state serving as chair.


The commission will act as an advisory body to the governor and will fulfill several objectives such as coordinating, participating and liaising with the United States Semiquincentennial Commission and other local, state commissions, and private and public organizations. Additionally, it will be in charge of identifying places within the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico that have particular importance with respect to the historical, cultural and political relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States, and will develop plans to promote tourism and knowledge of those sites.


It will also be responsible for disseminating the plans and any programming materials available to schools, local tourism commissions, chambers of commerce and other community and cultural groups, among other functions.


The commission must present an action plan describing its objectives, mission and recommendations to the governor on or before 60 days from the date of the issuance of the executive order.

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