Puerto Rican demonstrators rally for island's independence
While millions of people in the United States will be voting Tuesday for the next president, Puerto Ricans will be answering a different question--if they want the commonwealth to join the union and become a state.
Independent presidential candidate Brock Pierce spoke on the issue in East Harlem Monday.
Demonstrators rallied outside Ricardo Steakhouse pushing for the island’s independence.
According to the Pew Research Center, 5.6 million Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin were living in the United States as of 2017, with New York City having the largest population.
Demonstrators say their people have fought for independence for decades and will continue to do so.
“He thinks he’s going to use his presidential campaign to prop up Puerto Rico statehood, he’s sadly mistaken. People of Puerto Rico, both in Puerto Rico and the diaspora, 9 million of us are going to decide what’s best for Puerto Rico,” said demonstrator David Galarza.
On the other hand, Pierce says he loves Puerto Rico and moved to the island right after Hurricane Maria to see how he could help.
The independent candidate says he supports independence in all forms and says he wasn’t present to make a decision for the island but rather to learn more.
“I don’t have an answer as to what’s best for Puerto Rico, I mean I look at the Caribbean in general and you look at Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic—these are typically not thriving nations, and so it’s challenging as an island nation,” said Pierce.