Leaders of the Puerto Rican independence movement recently demonstrated their strength by organising a mass burning of draft cards in the town of Laras.
Leaders of the Puerto Rican independence movement recently demonstrated their strength by organising a mass burning of draft cards in the town of Laras. They chose a day when the town commemorates a one-day rebellion against Spain which took place 102 years ago.
Spokesmen for the independence movement say that because Puerto Ricans are not represented in the United States Congress, a law passed by Congress -- in this case, the draft -- amounts to an imperial decree. Leaders of the movement claim that more than 4,000 men had signed petitions refusing to serve in the U.S. armed forces and that 1,300 men had turned in their draft cards to be burned.
Opponents of the independence movement, those who want statehood or the existing commonwealth situation, say that only a small minority favours independence but they agree that the independence movement is continually growing stronger.
The mass burning of draft cards has never happened in Puerto Rico before. Observers say it was not so much a protest against conscription as it was a protest against domination by the United States.