Ocasio-Cortez: Puerto Rico is 'still a colony' of US

Ocasio-Cortez: Puerto Rico is 'still a colony' of US
© Getty Images

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D), the first-time congressional candidate who unseated longtime Rep. Joseph Crowley in a Democratic primary in New York City, says that the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico deserves to be granted "real self-determination" in the wake of two devastating hurricanes last year.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Thursday, the anniversary of Hurricane Maria making landfall on the island, that the island "is still a colony of the United States" due to its status as a territory and its citizens' lack of representation.

"Today marks 1 year since Hurricane María. A year later, Puerto Rico is still in shambles. Some things to advocate today: 1. PR is still a colony of the United States. The island deserves real self-determination. We must say that to fix it," she tweeted Thursday morning.

Later tweets in the same thread urged U.S. legislators to take the threat posed by climate change seriously and also urged the federal government to rebuild communities affected by recent hurricanes with modernized, sustainable technology.

"Climate change is an economic, environmental, and social justice issue. From Hurricanes Katrina to María, communities that are already hard-pressed from historic inequities are often the most neglected in natural disasters," Ocasio-Cortez continued.

ADVERTISEMENT

"To respond to devastating natural disasters, we should INVEST in rebuilding impacted communities with sustainable infrastructure (energy & otherwise). Rebuilding should be treated as a moment to update & modernize. Rebuilding things exactly as they were sets up for a repeat," she warned.

The 28-year-old candidate, who will face a Republican challenger in the solidly blue district of the Bronx in November, has tweeted about Puerto Rico's lack of statehood in the past and has advocated for the island to either be granted statehood as the 51st state or full independence from the U.S.

Ocasio-Cortez, who identifies as a democratic socialist, often links slow or ineffective recovery efforts on Puerto Rico to the island's historical status as a U.S. territory rather than a state.

"Puerto Ricans have been starved in this shameful [Federal Emergency Management Agency] response. Hospitals have gone without power, resulting in uncounted death tolls," she tweeted in February.

"The US gov has refused to ANY discussion of PR's political status — whether that be statehood or independence. This is the result," she added in the same message.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló in a letter this week asked President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment MORE to recognize "that Puerto Rico’s territorial status is discriminatory” and requested statehood, also tying the request to the hurricanes.