Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the July 25, 1996 issue of Workers World newspaper
For the first time the U.S. government has had to recognize Puerto Rican citizenship.
Juan Mari Bras, a long-time leader of the struggle for Puerto Rican independence, renounced his U.S. citizenship in 1994 for Puerto Rican citizenship. While past treaties allow Puerto Ricans to have Puerto Rican citizenship, they are granted U.S. citizenship at birth. Until now, the U.S. has never recognized Puerto Rican citizenship.
In order to assert his Puerto Rican citizenship, Mari Bras traveled to Cuba to meet with President Fidel Castro on the 30th anniversary of the Puerto Rican Mission in Havana. When he returned on June 30, he presented U.S. customs officials with his Puerto Rican passport.
"I entered my country without problems," he said upon returning to Puerto Rico. When the Immigration and Naturalization Service agent asked him whether he was a U.S. citizen or a foreigner, he responded that he was neither-- that he was Puerto Rican.
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