A group of activists in Puerto Rico unhappy with the current status of the island as a United States commonwealth is demanding a separation from America and reunification with Spain. The group plans to contest the 1898 Treaty of Paris, which handed Puerto Rico to the United States, at the International Court of Justice.
According to Fox News Latino, the group, the Puerto Rico Reunification With Spain organization, is seeking to be annexed into Spain given the ethnic history of the island and its separation from Spain through war. Unlike its neighbors Cuba and the Dominican Republic, which fought wars of independence to assert their sovereignty from Spain and Haiti respectively, Spain lost Puerto Rico in 1898 as part of its loss in the Spanish-American War as declared in the Treaty of Paris. Puerto Rico became an American territory and its residents United States citizens, but the territory never became a state.
Puerto Rico Reunification With Spain leader José Nieves notes the lack of volition on the part of the Puerto Rican people in separating from Spain as a driving factor in the nascent movement. He argues that the United States “denies us the right” to full voting rights in Spanish elections and Spanish citizenship by “distorting our history.” “Our priority is to have historic justice done, because Puerto Rico and Spain were forcefully separated,” he said.
The goal of the organization, Nieves told Fox News Latino, was to bring the Treaty of Paris to The Hague and have it invalidated. While he notes that polls show Puerto Ricans are unsatisfied with the current status of the island, driving many to support statehood or independence, the group is not interested in sovereignty.
The group has received the endorsement of the Libertarian Party of Spain and 1,700 likes on Facebook. Most are from Puerto Ricans, but some are from bemused Spaniards. One comment from a Spaniard on the page laments the current state of the Spanish economy, reading, “the gesture of affection is really appreciated, but given that we are all going to shit I’d almost rather stay with the USA.”
Puerto Rico has earned the nickname “America’s Greece” for its increasingly alarming economic state. In December of last year, the island reached $70 billion in debt and 15% unemployment – astronomical numbers in a territory of almost four million.