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(Almost) Puerto Rican Independence Day [Video]

A potentially monumental incident occurred on Tuesday at the Republican National Convention.

As Puerto Rico’s Zoraida Fonalledas, chairwoman of the Committee on Permanent Organization, approached the podium to deliver her address, chants of “USA! USA!” began to swell from the delegations gathered in Tampa. They grew so loud, so disruptive, that Fonalledas wasn’t able to begin her speech for some time.

From Harper’s Magazine:

“The chanting carried on for nearly a minute while most of the other delegates and the media stood by in stunned silence. The Puerto Rican correspondent turned to me and asked, ‘Is this happening?”’ I said I honestly didn’t know what was happening—it was astonishing to see all the brittle work of narrative construction that is a modern political convention suddenly crack before our eyes. None of us could quite believe what we were seeing: A sea of twentysomething bowties and cowboy hats morphing into frat bros apparently shrieking over (or at) a Latina. RNC chairman Reince Priebus quickly stepped up and asked for order and respect for the speaker, suggesting that, yeah, what we had just seen might well have been an ugly outburst of nativism.”

Watching the scene unfold from my sala, I was incensed. Nativism is an ugly creature, especially when it’s directed at other Americans.

On the other hand, as an independentista, I was also thrilled. I thought, here the people of Puerto Rico had prove that there will never be statehood for the island. Here they have prove that, even though they may have citizenship, the mainland will never see them as equals and seat them at the great American table. I knew then how Ben Franklin must’ve felt when he went to London before the Revolution and he realized there would never be a reconciliation between the Colonies and the Crown. As he did in 1774, I began bracing myself for independence.

But what happened Tuesday night was not nativism directed at the Puerto Rican delegation, nor was it the start of  a push toward independence for Puerto Rico. It was good old-fashioned democracy on display.

From USA Today:

“Ron Paul backers made their presence felt today at the Republican National Convention, loudly booing and shouting at party leaders over a report on delegate seating.

At issue: New party rules that would bind delegates to the outcome of presidential primaries and caucuses. Presidential candidates would be able to choose which delegates represent them at the convention. In a compromise worked out Monday, the candidates would have to consult with state parties in selecting delegates.

Ron Paul supporters — believing they were entitled to more delegates at the convention — chanted ‘Object! Object!’ over adoption of the delegate report. Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus declined to recognize them.

Some supporters of the Texas congressman and former presidential candidate shouted ‘cheater.’ Eventually, the more numerous Mitt Romney supporters inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum began counter-chanting: ‘Please sit down! Please sit down!’

Priebus had to gavel the convention to a lower volume, saying at one point: ‘Guys, we will proceed with the order of business.’ “

So I guess the debate over the status of Puerto Rico will have to go on, maybe for another 120 years.

Bring on the status quo.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. chaos? I thought the governor made a very nice speach.

  2. Liberta…

  3. Wow… Republicans are something else…

  4. It was a small group of a holes and you fellas are making it sound like it was the whole GOP leading the charge with Romney in a KKK hood on a horse. Give me a break. The yelling a holes would of been rude to anyone no matter where the person speaking was from – her being from PR has nothing to do with it.

  5. Shows what little the GOP understands about mainland Puerto Ricans putting state-hooders front and center at the convention. Most mainlanders (U.S. general election voters) are pro-independence or commonwealth.

  6. GOP would never want PR to become a state as it would create more Dem House members and voters. Who’s “pandering” to Latinos now? Worse yet they’re aren’t helping themsleves with votes.

  7. Yes, Republicans are something else! We are awesome!

  8. It was about Ron Paul, not Puerto Rico, as I explicitly said in the article.

  9. It was like 5 Ron Paul supporters and the GOP chairman came to her defense and shut up the a holes! And Susana Martinez governor from New Mexico gave a great speech!

  10. They did give the Governor of PR a prime slot, don’t think that helped sway any mainland Ricans. From what I’m hearing from GOP friends is Susana Martinez has been the best Hispanic GOP speaker thus far.

  11. Soooo, you’re independentista & live where??? Gotta love them as much as the GOP.

  12. This is Racism at its best, THE HELL WITH VOTING!

  13. Republicans do not like or encourage diversity or new ideas. When the camera showed the attendees there were nothing but old white people…

  14. The hell with voting? That is exactly what they want us to say and do! We are the fastest growing minority and that scares people on both sides of the aisle. Right now I don’t see how any Latino can objectively look at what these two candidates are doing/saying and vote for Romney. Many (not all) in the GOP have been turning the party into a party of racism and hate. I don’t align to either party and evaluate each candidate on their merits and IMO the close minded views of a few are being forced on many. The GOP is scared and it shows turning to lies and cheating even on those in their own party…just ask any Ron Paul delegate

  15. The Republican Party has turned into a huge joke.

  16. The Republican Party has turned into a huge joke.

  17. Really people? No research at all on anything, people just read stuff that’s posted by others and literally run with it. I never post anything on my wall that I haven’t researched on my own and feel comfortable with it’s accuracy. EVEN still, if I should find out after something was not accurate or it was false info, I will clarify no matter what party affiliation. Smh at some people.

  18. George A. Hernandez says:

    I would like know more about the circumstances leading to the hagglers.

  19. George A. Hernandez says:

    I would like to know more about the circumstances leading to the disturbance at the convention. As a Puerto Rican American and a combat veteran I’m appalled at the behavior demonstrate at one of our delegate. Why was this incident not on the 6 O-clock news ? Obama is looking as a much better choice right now.

  20. I’m not surprised at this point!

  21. The Democrats and the Republicans are the same… However, it’s funny that it’s alright to do that to a Boricua, but all hell would break loose if anyone dared to say that all the illegal Mexicans and their anchor babies should be herded and sent back.

  22. Better yet, if someone were to tell the gusanos their free ride is over. Gtfo of FL

  23. WOW!

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