Puerto Rican Independence Party
|Puerto Rican Independence Party
Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño
|President||Rubén Berríos Martínez|
Manuel Rodríguez Orellana
|Vice-president||María De Lourdes Santiago|
|Executive President||Fernando Martín García|
|Representative||Víctor García San Inocencio|
|Founded||October 20, 1946|
|Headquarters||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|International affiliation||Socialist International (SI)|
|Colours||Green & White|
|Seats in the Senate of Puerto Rico|
|Seats in the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico|
The Puerto Rican Independence Party —Spanish: Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño (PIP)— is a Puerto Rican political party that campaigns for the independence of Puerto Rico from United States suzerainty.
The party began as the electoral wing of the Puerto Rican independence movement. It is the largest of the independence parties, and the only one that is on the ballot during elections (other candidates must be added in by hand). In 1948, two years after being founded, the PIP gathered 10.2 per cent of the votes in the island. In 1952, two years after an armed uprising of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico, it obtained 19 per cent of the votes, its highest electoral support ever, which made it the second electoral party on the island for a moment. In 1956 it took 12.4 per cent of the votes; in 1960 3.1 percent; in 1964, 4 per cent; in 1968, 3.5; in 1972, 5.4; in 1976, 5.7; in 1980, 5.4; in 1984, 3.6, and in 1988, 5.5. In 2004 it obtained 2.7 per cent of the votes, and in 2008 it took 2.0 per cent.
The party was founded on October 20, 1946, by Gilberto Concepción de Gracia (1909–1968) and his colleague Fernando Milan Suarez. They felt the independence movement had been "betrayed" by the Partido Popular Democrático, whose ultimate goal had originally been independence.
According to Jennings and Rivera, "the struggle of Puerto Ricans for independence represents a clear example of an explicitly political struggle against oppression, both as a colonized people and as oppressed minorities within the complex mosaic of U.S. racial and ethnic groups."
FBI surveillance of the party
In 2003, The New York Times reported the following about the Federal Bureau of Investigation publicly admitting it had directed "tremendously destructive" efforts against various organizations, including the Puerto Rican Independence Party:
- "They include a 1961 directive from Mr. Hoover to seek information on 12 independence movement leaders, six of them operating in New York, "concerning their weaknesses, morals, criminal records, spouses, children, family life, educational qualifications and personal activities other than independence activities." The instructions were given under the domestic surveillance program known as Cointelpro, which aimed at aggressively monitoring antiwar, leftist and other groups in the United States and disrupting them.
- In the case of Puerto Rican independence groups, J. Edgar Hoover's 1961 memo refers to 'our efforts to disrupt their activities and compromise their effectiveness." Scholars say the papers provide invaluable additions to the recorded history of Puerto Rico. "I expect that this will alter somewhat the analysis of why independence hasn't made it,' said Felix V. Matos Rodriguez, director of the center at Hunter. 'In the 1940s, independence was the second-largest political movement in the island, (after support for commonwealth status), and a real alternative. But it was criminalized.'
- The existence of the FBI papers came to light during a US House of Representatives Appropriations subcommittee hearing in 2000, when Representative Jose E. Serrano of New York questioned Louis J. Freeh, then FBI director, on the issue. Freeh gave the first public acknowledgment of the federal government's Puerto Rican surveillance and offered a mea culpa.
- 'Your question goes back to a period, particularly in the 1960s, when the F.B.I. did operate a program that did tremendous destruction to many people, to the country and certainly to the F.B.I.,' Freeh said, according to transcripts of the hearing. Freeh said that he would make the files available 'and see if we can redress some of the egregious illegal action, maybe criminal action, that occurred in the past'.".
The FBI's surveillance of any person or organization advocating Puerto Rico's independence has been recognized by the FBI's top leadership.
Then FBI Director Louis Freeh made an unprecedented admission to the effects that the FBI had engaged in egregious and illegal action from the 1930s to the 1990s, quite possibly involving the FBI in widespread crimes and violation of constitutional rights against Puerto Ricans. He stunned a congressional budget hearing by conceding that his agency had violated the civil rights of many Puerto Ricans over the years and had engaged in "egregious illegal action, maybe criminal action."
In 1971, the PIP gubernatorial candidate, Rubén Berríos led a protest against the US Navy in Culebra. During the 1972 elections, the PIP showed the largest growth in its history while running a socialist, pro-worker, pro-poor campaign. One year later during a delegate assembly Rubén Berríos declared that the party was not presenting a Leninist-Marxist platform and took the matter to the PIP's assembly which voted in favor of the party's current stance in favor of social democracy. The Marxist-Leninist faction, called the "terceristas", split into several groups. The biggest of them went into the Movimiento Socialista Popular, while the rest went into the PSP.
In 1999, PIP leaders, especially Rubén Berríos, became involved in the Navy-Vieques protests started by many citizens of Vieques against the presence of the US military in the island-municipality (see also: Cause of Vieques).
During the 2004 elections, the PIP was in danger of losing official recognition, obtaining 2.4% of the gubernatorial vote and 10.5-25.5% of the legislative vote.
The party's leader, Rubén Berríos, announced that if that happened, party leaders and its wide-periphery constituency would make sure that it would be quickly re-instated. In less than two weeks after the election, the PIP's leadership and its membership obtained more than one-hundred and five thousand notarized signatures (105,000) from Puerto Rico's voters. Popular island-wide support for the PIP's legislative candidates hovered around 10%-25% and the PIP elected one Senator and one Representative (at the island-wide level) who are the respective spokespersons for the Puerto Rican Independence Party at the Puerto Rico Senate and the Puerto Rico House of Representatives. That year, María De Lourdes Santiago became the first woman of the PIP to be elected to the Puerto Rico Senate. Victor Garcia San Inocencio, was re-elected for a third term in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives where he has served since January 1997.
During the 2008 elections, the PIP loss official recognition for the second time, obtaining 2.04% of the gubernatorial vote. Loss of recognition was official on January 2, 2009. The minimum vote percentage to keep official recognition is 3.0% as per the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico law. The party also lost both of its seats in the legislature, where they had had one seat in each house.
In May, 2009, the party submitted more than 100,000 signed petitions to the Puerto Rico's elections commission and regained legal status.
During the 2012 elections, the PIP lost official recognition for the third time, obtaining 2.5% of the gubernatorial vote. Loss of recognition will be official on January 2, 2013. The minimum vote percentage to keep official recognition is 3.0% as per the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico law. 
In 2012, there was also a status referendum vote: 61.1% voted for admission as a state in the United States; 5.5% voted for independence, and the remainder for keeping the current status.
|You may watch and listen to a Puerto Rican Independence Party political campaign ad featuring Ruben Berrios and the voice of José Feliciano in an interpretation of Antonio Caban Vales' "Verde Luz'" here.|
The PIP cause receives ample moral support by international organizations and world-renowned figures. Examples of these are the Socialist International (the largest organization of political parties in the world), including fifteen political parties which are in power in Latin America. The government of Cuba also supports it, as well as the ex-president of Panama, Martín Torrijos, and a wide group of world-recognized writers and artists.
On January 26, 2007, the Nobel Prize laureate Gabriel García Márquez joined other internationally renowned figures such as Mario Benedetti, Ernesto Sábato, Thiago de Mello, Eduardo Galeano, Carlos Monsiváis, Pablo Armando Fernández, Jorge Enrique Adoum, Pablo Milanés, Luis Rafael Sánchez, Mayra Montero and Ana Lydia Vega, in supporting independence for Puerto Rico and joining the Latin American and Caribbean Congress in Solidarity with Puerto Rico's Independence, which approved a resolution favoring the island's right to assert its independence, as ratified unanimously by political parties hailing from 22 countries in November 2006. García Márquez's push for the recognition of Puerto Rico's independence was obtained at the behest of the Puerto Rican Independence Party. His pledge for support to the Puerto Rican Independence Movement was part of a wider effort that emerged from the Latin American and Caribbean Congress in Solidarity with Puerto Rico's Independence.
PIP anti-war mobilization and protests
As reported in the Canadian press, for the past half-decade, the PIP's leadership and active members have participated in anti-war protests and mobilization to resist the Iraq war and oppose the U.S. government's efforts to encourage Puerto Ricans to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces: "The Puerto Rican Independence Party five years ago began distributing leaflets encouraging high school students to prevent military recruiters from obtaining their personal information. Last year, 57 percent of this Caribbean island's high-school sophomores, juniors and seniors signed the forms to keep their information from recruiters."
PIP stance on Puerto Rico's economic crisis and taxation system
During the 2005-2007 Puerto Rico economic crisis, the Puerto Rican Independence Party submitted various bills that would have taxed corporations making $1 million or more in annual net profits an extra ten percent above the average tax rate these corporations pay, which hovers around 5%. The PNP and the PPD parties amended the bill, taxing the corporations the traditional lower rate, while the general population was taxed at a ceiling of about 33.3% for income tax plus a 7.5% sales tax. Despite objections presented by the PIP, the PNP and PPD also allowed the companies to claim the additional tax as a credit on next year's bill, making the "tax", in effect, a one-year loan. Puerto Rico has been said "There is no place in the territorial limits of the United States that provides such an advantageous base for exporters. " Because of this, many US companies moved their headquarters and manufacturing facilities there. This is why the PNP and PPD believed the tax increase would exacerbate the problems
The flag's green color stands for the hope of becoming free, and the white cross stands for the sacrifice and commitment of the party with democracy. The flag's design is based on the first national flag ever flown by Puerto Ricans, which is also the current flag of the municipality of Lares, location where the first relatively successful attempt of revolutionary insurgency in Puerto Rico, called Grito de Lares, took place on September 23, 1868. The Lares flag is, on the other hand, similar to that of the Dominican Republic, since the Grito's mastermind, Ramón Emeterio Betances, not only admired the Dominican pro-independence struggle, but was also a descendant of Dominicans himself. This nationalist uprising was the foundation for other uprisings to come in the future, such as the Grito de Yara in Cuba, the March 1st Movement in Korea.[dubious ] The party's flag is based on the Nordic Cross flag design. Nordic Cross flags, or Latin cross flags, are a common design in Scandinavia and other parts of the world, and in theory, the PIP's emblem belongs to this family of flags.
Disfranchisement due to residence in Puerto Rico
United States citizens residing in the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico do not hold the right to vote in U.S. presidential elections. Although Puerto Rican residents elect a Resident Commissioner to the United States House of Representatives, that official may not participate in votes determining the final passage of legislation. Furthermore, Puerto Rico holds no representation of any kind in the United States Senate.
Both the Puerto Rican Independence Party and the New Progressive Party officially oppose the island's political status quo and consider Puerto Rico's lack of federal representation to be disfranchisement. The remaining political organization, the Popular Democratic Party, is less active in its opposition of this case of disfranchisement but has officially stated that it favors fixing the remaining "deficits of democracy" that the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations have publicly recognized in writing through Presidential Task Force Reports.
Important party leaders
- Rubén Berríos, Esq. - President, former Senator and Honorary President of the Socialist International (SI)
- Manuel Rodríguez Orellana, Esq. - Secretary of Relations with North America
- Fernando Martín, Esq. - Executive President, former Senator
- María De Lourdes Santiago, Esq. - Vice-President, former Senator
- Juan Dalmau Ramírez, Esq. - Secretary General & Electoral Commissioner
- Prof. Edwin Irizarry Mora, Ph.D. - Secretary of Economic Affairs
- Roberto Iván Aponte - Secretary of Municipal Organization
- Dr. Luis Roberto Piñero - President of the Pro-Independence Advocates' Campaign in favor of unifying both Houses of the Legislature into a single, unicameral Parliament
- Victor García San Inocencio, Esq. - Former Representative
- Jorge Fernandez Porto, M.S., Adviser on Environmental Sciences and Public Policy Affairs
- Jessica Martínez, Esq. - Member of Pro-Independence Advocates' Campaign in Favor of a single, unicameral Parliament
- Dr. Gilberto Concepción de Gracia - Founding President and respected Latin American Leader
- Latin American and Caribbean Congress in Solidarity with Puerto Rico's Independence
- Puerto Rico political parties
- Puerto Rican Socialist Party
- Cause of Vieques
- Maravilla Hill case
- Navy-Culebra protests
- Navy-Vieques protests
- Politics of Puerto Rico
- Socialist International
- Berrios-Martinez, Ruben; "Puerto rico—Lithuania in Reverse?"; The Washington Post, Pg. A23; May 23, 1990.
- Wallace, Carol J.; "Translating Laughter: Humor as a Special Challenge in Translating the Stories of Ana Lydia Vega"; The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association (MLA), Vol. 35, No. 2, Translating in and across Cultures (Autumn, 2002), pp. 75-87
- Comisión estatal de elecciones de Puerto Rico. "web site". www.ceepur.org.
- Jennings James, and Monte Rivera, eds. 1984. Puerto Rican Politics in Urban America. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, as cited in, Navarro, Sharon Ann and Mejia, Armando Xavier, Latino Americans and Political Participation Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2004. ISBN 1-85109-523-3. page 105.
- The New York Times; "Decades of FBI Surveillance of Puerto Rican Groups", by Mireya Navarro; November 23, 2003
- El Diario La Prensa; Editorial: "Constructing an Enemy"; January 17, 2008
- FBI Files on the Puerto Rican Independence Party - case # SJ-100-4014 - Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY)
- FBI Files on Organizations: Formerly secret, classified files produced by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from the 1930s to the 1990s documenting FBI surveillance and persecution activities targeting Puerto Rican organizations and individuals; CUNY.
- America's Colony By Pedro A. Malavet, page 95 Accessed July 14, 2009.
- The New York Times, "Protesters on Culebra Scuffle With Marines"; pg. 13, January 19, 1971. At that time, he was found guilty of trespassing federal lands and incarcerated for three months at Fox River State Penitentiary (see also: Navy-Culebra protests).
- Berrios Martinez, Ruben; "From a Puerto Rican Prison"; The New York Times, pg. 47, April 28, 1971.
- ABC News: Dozens of Puerto Rican Protesters Arrested - Marshals Raid Activists' Homes; by Vilma Perez, July 3, 2000.
- "Puerto Rican Independence Party Regains Legal Status". Latin American Herald Tribune. 2009-15-2009. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- PIP lost Official Party Recognition
- "Panama requests Latin America to support Puerto Rican independence"; Dominican Today; November 19, 2006
- "Prominentes figuras de América Latina apoyan la independencia de Puerto Rico - Escritores y artistas declaran su adhesión a la Proclama de Panamá" www.independencia.net/topicos/panama/cpi_panama_nov06.html
- Anti-war activists target military recruiters in Puerto Rico; September 29, 2007 - The Canadian Press[dead link]
- Cruz, José A.; "Puerto Rico's crisis highlights its colonial status"; People's Weekly World. (National Edition). New York: Jun 17-Jun 23, 2006. Vol. 21, Iss. 3; pg. 7.
- | Offshore Manual - We walk the walk, and talk the talk! ||
- Puerto Rican Independence Party (1998). Retrieved January 6, 2004 from www.independencia.net/ingles/welcome.html