Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, but they lack some of the rights of citizenship, including the right to vote for president. Yet they have served, and died, in the military for generations. Since 2003, dozens of Puerto Ricans have been killed in Iraq.Although the approximately four million citizens in Puerto Rico cannot vote in our upcoming election, the nearly four million Puerto Rican U.S. citizens spread across this country can certainly vote. Here's hoping they read this story and get even more fed up and incensed.
Puerto Rican soldiers have been fighting in the U.S. armed forces since at least World War I, when the island became a U.S. territory and its residents became citizens.
Altogether, more than 150,000 Puerto Ricans served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. But as Maria Munoz notes, they're from a territory, not a state, and they can't send a voting member to Congress or vote for commander-in-chief.
"It's ironic," she says. "We can't decide who will be president, but the U.S. offers for us to go to war. They see soldiers as just workers, like when we're shipped off to pick tomatoes. It's the same."
It's one thing to die in Iraq and yet have the right to vote on the president, it's quite another to die over there and have zero say on who is the commander in chief.