The debate about Puerto Rico, between President Donald Trump and American liberals and progressives has an ironic twist, from which we cannot derive much merriment.
In the process of attacking Puerto Rico and of denying us sorely needed support to recover from Hurricane María, Trump implies that Puerto Ricans are not Americans and that Puerto Rico is not the United States or is not in the United States.
Many American liberals and progressives, justly appalled by Trump’s behavior toward Puerto Rico, respond that Puerto Ricans are Americans and that Puerto Rico is in the United States.
Trying to hurt us, Trump recognizes our identity. Liberals and progressives, in solidarity with us, inadvertently, erase it.
Of the evil nature of Trump’s agenda there can be no doubt. Nor do we doubt the generous intention of the liberal and progressive response mentioned above. But what we in Puerto Rico need in the struggle against Trump is solidarity, yes, but solidarity without erasure.
What would that response to Trump look like? Roughly as follows:
Indeed, Puerto Ricans are not Americans; they are a people with their own identity and culture, as valuable and rich as any other.
Indeed, Puerto Rico is not in the United States. It is not part of the United Sates. Since 1898 it has been a “possession” of the United States, an “unincorporated territory”, in other words, a colony of the United States.
Indeed, Puerto Rico…