The Case for Puerto Rican Decolonization

Would Puerto Rican statehood create an American Quebec? Statehood opponents would have you think so. In an opinion piece published shortly before the island’s most recent referendum on its political future, in December 1998, English Language Advocates founder Gerda Bikales urged voters to cast their ballots against statehood, warning that “America will not accept into its fold a new political entity with all the characteristics of a foreign nation.” Opponents of statehood who share some version of her concern range from the right-wing group Fortress America (whose literature asserts that “Puerto Rican Statehood is about the corruption of our American way of life,” and that statehood would spawn “a full-fledged terrorist war inside the United States of America”) to the more mainstream American Conservative Union (which fears that Puerto Rican statehood would lead to the permanent loss of “America’s cultural identity,” along with “mammoth new tax increases”) to Puerto Rico’s own independentistas, nationalists, and “autonomists” (who regularly declare that Puerto Rican statehood would create an American Quebec).

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