The Challenge


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Election Holiday Brings Democracy to the Streets in Puerto Rico

Election day is a national holiday in one corner of the United Sates: Puerto Rico. The holiday is more than a day off- it's a celebration.

Puerto Ricans vote.

Puerto Rico averaged 79% voter turnout in its executive elections from 1979 to 2000. The current average on the continental US is just over 55%. At one point more than 95% of eligible voters in Puerto Rico were registered.

The differences between mainland American elections and those in Puerto Rico are pronounced. Chief among them, the Puerto Rican elections seem more a celebration of democracy than a solemn duty. Election day is a national holiday in Puerto Rico, and the vote is a culmination of weeks of frenzied activity on the part of candidates and parties. Automobile caravans shuttle politicians across the country. People gather in town squares to show their support and organize parades to encourage others to vote. The festivity surrounding the event is one of the many reasons cited for Puerto Rico’s high electoral turnout.

Simply making election day a national holiday could help make elections more accessible. The benefit is not simply that people have more time to head to the poles; it’s the increase in citizen engagement in the entire process. The incentive to vote will be social as well as civic. Voting will be more convenient, but above all, will be a greater part of the social fabric.

Read more here. 

Image source:

Mission #3 Understand the Democratic Process


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Jose Sierra

January 13, 2014, 12:47PM
Dear Partners,

Join The First Oscar – Mandela Protest in Puerto Rico on Saturday, March 22, 2014, on the Abolition of Slavery Day, to peacefully protest for the decolonization of Puerto Rico and the release of our political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. It is the perfect day to protest the enslavement of Puerto Rico by the government of United States.

We will march from the Roosevelt Avenue Urban Train Station at 2 PM to the United States Court in Puerto Rico on Chardón Street in Hato Rey.

If you belong to any particular group, feel free to bring your flags and signs to our protest. We want it to be a collective effort involving everyone who believes that colonialism is a crime against humanity and a threat to world peace. We need to have as many people as possible, because those who practice or accept colonialism, don’t believe in justice for all!

Un abrazo,

Jose Sierra

October 23, 2012, 19:50PM
Dear Partner,


Those who accept colonialism do not believe in justice for all!

Now that we know that the political parties will not solve this problem, I invite you to join the non-violent protest to demand that the United States (US) decolonize Puerto Rico (PR) immediately. It will be on Monday, June 17, 2013 from 8 AM to 5 PM outside the United Nations (UN) visitor’s entrance located on 46th Street and First Avenue in New York City.

The UN has determined that colonialism is a crime against humanity in 1960 under Resolution 1514 (XV). That’s why the UN celebrates every year a hearing about Puerto Rico decolonization. Every year the UN puts forth a resolution asking the US to decolonize PR. Despite 30 of these resolutions, PR is still the oldest and most populated colony in the world! It is obvious by now that the US is not going to decolonize PR just because the UN asks.

Through education, we must create a domestic and international solidarity with this cause to pressure the US to do what historically she has refused to do. This is why we need everyone who also believes that colonialism is a crime against humanity to join the protest to demand compliance to international law!

Puerto Rico has been a colony of the US for 114 years. The US’ intention is to keep PR a colony forever unless we do something about it. It is important to note that: democracy isn’t what a government does. Democracy is what people do!
President John F. Kennedy said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere.” These ideas, of course, are the reasons why the United Nations was created after World War II.

It is up to us to defend the fundamental human rights that promote world peace. The tragedy of doing nothing is that we will have the kind of government that we deserve!


José M. López Sierra

For more information:
Compañeros Unidos para la Descolonización de Puerto Rico

Lindsay Thomson

February 10, 2012, 22:08PM
Clearly they're doing something right with that level of voter registration and turnout! I love it!
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