Broad front created to advocate for Puerto Rico’s sovereignty ahead of June 11 referendum
SAN JUAN – Several political leaders announced Wednesday the creation of a unified front to support sovereignty in the June 11 status referendum, in which voters will vote between statehood and independence/free association.
The group, headed by Puerto Rican Independence Party legislators Juan Dalmau and Denis Márquez, also includes former independent gubernatorial candidate Alexandra Lúgaro and Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Rep. Manuel Natal, who said he was authorized to announce that the vice president of his party, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, supports free association.
Under the slogan “This time, yes … we win with sovereignty,” the group said it is motivated by its “common cause that Puerto Rico, our Latin American and Caribbean homeland nation will achieve its sovereignty to finally take control of our destiny in cordial and respectful relations with the United States and all the peoples of the world.”
In a group statement read by Natal, it said that while “keeping our particular identities, embedded in our unshakable nationality, the time for those who believe in national sovereignty has arrived–some through independence and others through free association–to make common cause in the face of the assimilational onslaught and demand the tools and political powers Puerto Rico needs to build the prosperous future we yearn for.”
They added that “sovereignty is the only way to defend what’s ours and of joining the world to enjoy the advantages of the current internationalized world economy,” adding that “only with sovereignty can we pass laws that protect our trade, industry and agriculture. Under statehood, there would be no such protection.”
Lúgaro supported the statement and said the plebiscite will allow voters to send a message to the federal government that it address and solve the current political relationship it has with the island and that does not favor Puerto Rico.
The PDP’s president, Héctor Ferrer, made it clear Wednesday as well that the party has yet to declare an official position on the status plebiscite.
Although not mentioned specifically, Ferrer’s statement follows recent remarks by leaders of his party, such as San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, supporting the free association option in the referendum.
Ferrer was categorical in pointing out that “no party, organization or individual is going to determine the strategy to follow for the party, nor when or how.”