Today is a national holiday in Puerto Rico. On this date, in 1952, Puerto Rico became a self-governing commonwealth of the U.S. Under the 1952 constitution, Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth and enjoys an administrative autonomy similar to that of a state of the Union. Because it is not a state of the Union, federal elections are not held on the island, but everyone born in Puerto Rico is a US citizen and may vote in federal elections held in any state or incorporated territory as long as the citizen can claim residence in said state or incorporated territory.
Ironically, also on this day, in 1898 U.S. troops landed at Guanica and took Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War. This was merely a year after Muñoz Rivera and others persuaded the liberal Spanish government to agree to a Charters of Autonomy for Cuba and Puerto Rico…
Interestingly enough, and reflecting the complexity of PR politics, July 27 is another national holiday: Conmemoración del Natalicio de José Celso Barbosa (José Celso Barbosa Birthday). José Celso Barbosa was the early 20th century advocate of Puerto Rico’s annexation to the United States who is considered the father of the statehood movement.
The major political parties in Puerto Rico, representing different perspectives on the island’s future relationship with the US, are:
- Popular Democratic Party (PPD), which supports an enhanced commonwealth status.
- The New Progressive Party (PNP), which supports full U.S. statehood for the island.
- The Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) which supports independence from the US.