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The Puerto Rican Independence Party ( , PIP) is a Puerto Rican political party that campaigns for the independence of Puerto Rico from the United Statesmarker.

Those who follow the PIP ideology are usually called independentistas, pipiolos, or sometimes just pro-independence activists in the anglosphere.


The party began as the electoral wing of the Puerto Rican pro-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).


The party was founded on October 20, 1946 by Gilberto Concepción de Gracia (1909 - 1968). He felt the independence movement had been "betrayed" by the Partido Popular Democrático, whose ultimate goal had originally been independence.

FBI surveillance of Puerto Rican Groups

In 2003, The New York Times reported the following about the Federal Bureau of Investigationmarker 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 1940's, 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 Yorkmarker 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 1960's, 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.

The FBI's past surveillance of the pro-independence movement is detailed in 1.8 million documents, a fraction of which were released in 2000.

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 Culebramarker. 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 Viequesmarker against the presence of the US military in the island-municipality (see also: Cause of Vieques).

2004 election

During the 2004 elections, the PIP was in serious danger of losing official recognition, obtaining 2.4% of the gubernatorial vote and 10.5-25.5% of the legislative vote.

The party's historic 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. True to his commitment, 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 able 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 spokepersons for the Puerto Rican Independence Party at the Puerto Rico Senate and the Puerto Rico House of Representatives. On a positive note, María De Lourdes Santiago made history that year by becoming the first woman of the PIP to be elected to the Puerto Rico Senate. Victor Garcia San Inocencio, for his part, was re-elected for a third term at the Puerto Rico House of Representatives where he has served as a Representative and PIP Spokesperson since January 1997.

2008 election

During the 2008 elections, the PIP lost 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.

International support - Gabriel García Márquez and others

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 Panamamarker, Martín Torrijos, and a wide group of world-recognized writers and artists.

On January 26, 2007, 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-nation'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 Canadianmarker press, for the past half-decade, the PIP's leadership and active members have participated in anti-war protests and mobilization to resist the war in Iraq 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, junior 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 from the actual taxation average 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

Party symbol

To the PIP, the green color signifies hope of becoming free, and the white cross, the sacrifice and commitment of the party with democracy.

"Nordic Cross" flag, 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. The PIP's flag is based on the first national flag ever flown by Puerto Ricans, and the current flag of the municipality of Lares. Lares hosted the first relatively successful attempt of revolutionary insurgency in Puerto Rico, the Grito de Lares, on Wednesday, September 23, 1868. The Lares flag is, on the other hand, similar to that of the Dominican Republicmarker, since the Grito's mastermind, Ramón Emeterio Betances, not only admired the Dominican pro-independence struggle, but was also a descendant of Dominicans where he was admired as throughout most of Latin America. 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/3·1 운동 in Koreamarker.

Disfranchisement due to residence in Puerto Rico

United States citizens residing in the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico are not counted in the U.S. Census and 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 Bill Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations have publicly recognized in writing through Presidential Task Force Reports.

Important party leaders

See also


  1. Berrios-Martinez, Ruben; "Puerto rico—Lithuania in Reverse?"; The Washington Post, Pg. A23; May 23, 1990.
  2. 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
  3. The New York Times; "Decades of FBI Surveillance of Puerto Rican Groups", by Mireya Navarro; November 23, 2003
  4. El Diario La Prensa; Editorial: "Constructing an Enemy"; January 17, 2008
  5. 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)
  6. FBI Files on Organizations: Formerly secret, classifed 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.
  7. America's Colony By Pedro A. Malavet, page 95 Accessed July 14, 2009.
  8. 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).
  9. Berrios Martinez, Ruben; "From a Puerto Rican Prison"; The New York Times, pg. 47, April 28, 1971.
  10. ABC News: Dozens of Puerto Rican Protesters Arrested - Marshals Raid Activists’ Homes; by Vilma Perez, July 3, 2000.
  11. "Panama requests Latin America to support Puerto Rican independence"; Dominican Today; November 19, 2006
  12. "Prominentes figuras de América Latina apoyan la independencia de Puerto Rico - Escritores y artistas declaran su adhesión a la Proclama de Panamá"
  13. Anti-war activists target military recruiters in Puerto Rico; September 29, 2007 - The Canadian Press
  14. 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.
  15. | Offshore Manual - We walk the walk, and talk the talk! ||

  • Puerto Rican Independence Party (1998). Retrieved January 6, 2004 from

External links


  • Official website of the Puerto Rican Independence Party -

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