The following column by Oscar Pintado Rodríguez was published in Spanish in the April 12 edition of El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s largest circulation newspaper. We have provided a translation into English. Pintado Rodríguez expresses the opinions of the island’s Alliance for Free Association (ALAS in Spanish) and how this non-political party will use the proposed upcoming status plebiscites to educate Puerto Rican voters about the option of free association, one of three options being recommended (independence and statehood are the other two) by the White House report.
The Alliance for Free Association (ALAS) announced that the upcoming consultations (referendums) are a good opportunity to educate people about the option of free association. We are a group of private citizens organized to educate others about this option of decolonization.That is why we do not have the weight that political parties carry in the electoral interests.
We believe that status must be keep out of the elections and the hands of political parties. Our participation is conditional and that the definition of free association is consistent with international law, the conditions of participation are equitable to the representatives of all the alternatives and that the definitions of the options are based on the reality of relations between Puerto Rico and the U.S..
This involves the inclusion of a provision of dual citizenship for Puerto Ricans. However, if the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) wants to defend this provision, I’m sure ALAS would not have qualms to disband and join the PDP.
However, since we are not a political party nor do we want to be, we can not be asked to think and act with electoral interests in mind. Consequently, our good friends from the Popular Party cannot pretend to grant ALAS responsibilities that show our allegiance to the PPD, or any other political party. The proposed referendum has to have options that are non-colonial and non-territorial. The colonial commonwealth will not be on the ballot. We have always claimed that we want to decolonize Puerto Rico. In fact, the Obama report recognizes the territorial nature of the current commonwealth.
However, trying to put it in as an option of decolonization is a clear violation of international law. If the definition of free association, as I said before, meets, according to ALAS, current standards of international law, we will represent, defend and spread our message to educate our people.
Puerto Ricans who believe in sovereignty should not miss this opportunity to place free association as a legitimate option for the future.