Every so often, new theories about impending statehood clog the ideological veins of proponents and opponents. For instance, the theory of an annexationist conspiracy was devised some years ago to try to lure the unwary that favored a sovereign Puerto Rico, to vote for colonial commonwealth. Aware of the erosion of support for the status quo, these doomsday theoreticians have even argued that the only way to repel wily conspirators and deactivate the statehood menace was with commonwealth improved to attain "parity" in federal funding-i.e., statehood without congressional representation. Unwarily they fell for their old adversary's disingenuous argument that "statehood is for the poor."

The conspirators' alleged motives for wanting to lure Puerto Rico into statehood were, among others, Puerto Rico's strategic value for the U.S. as a military base, and the importance of its captive market for U.S. goods. Never mind that commonwealth already served as a military base with hardly any restrictions under the U.S. constitution's "territory clause," and that tariff integration under the plenary powers of Congress since 1900 had turned Puerto Rico's economy into a modern-day company store for U.S. goods. The colonial mind's creativity lies fallow when it comes to focusing on the crux of the colonial problem: political powerlessness and dependency.

Much to the chagrin of commonwealth defenders, however, Puerto Rico's political process has shown that increasing dependence fans the flames of annexationist sentiment. And now the leaders of the statehood movement must face the fact that it is dependence, not patriotism or loyalty to the U.S. that has inflated its ranks.

Showing where their true loyalty rests, Puerto Ricans kicked the Navy out of Vieques through peaceful civil disobedience. This, in turn, led to the closing of Roosevelt Roads Naval Base demonstrating that Puerto Rico, as a strategic and military bastion, has outlived its usefulness. And today's world of free trade and global markets erodes the commonwealth's captive market-the "common market" euphemism-and the "Aren't-we-too-small-for-freedom" whimpers of colonized minds.

This last point merits further illustration. Small sovereign nations, without U.S. citizenship, bases, or federal funds are among of the richest in the world. Of the ten richest, professors Alsina of MIT and Spolaore of Brown University point out in, "The Size of Nations" (2003), only four have populations greater than one million: the U.S. (260 million), Switzerland (7 million), Norway (4 million), and Singapore (3 million).

It is hardly astounding therefore for annexationists to now strive to come up with another infecund statehood-inevitability theory. In a flight of political fancy, some argue that the growth of the Puerto Rican population in the U.S. will strengthen the statehood movement because soon there will be more Puerto Ricans there than in Puerto Rico (STAR, Mar. 1). Presumably that will, somehow, make us real Americans.

If by "Puerto Ricans" they mean what Americans mean when they refer to the "Irish" in the United States, Ireland must have become, unnoticed, the 51st state. And Italy, Sweden, and Germany must be on the brink of applying, with Mexico, trailing close behind-and there go NAFTA and the European Union down the drain!

Unable to distinguish between Americans of Puerto Rican descent and Puerto Ricans, they further argue that, in "the first decades" of Puerto Rican migration (it started in the 1900s!), "stateside Puerto Ricans were more ideologically nationalistic," but that "this has changed in the past several years."

Really? Even during the open persecution of nationalists in the 1950s, through the police assassination of independentistas at Cerro Maravilla and the subsequent official cover-up in the 1970s, to the public discovery in the 1980s of over 100,000 dossiers (carpetas) kept by the government on anyone suspected of harboring anti-colonial sentiments, only independentistas dared refer to Puerto Rico as a nation and a colony. Commonwealth leaders now bask in "national identity" utterances and admit to at least colonial "vestiges." And even salient statehood leaders, such as former Miami mayor Maurice Ferré, recognize U.S. colonialism and concede that Puerto Rico is a nation.

When Puerto Rican Independence Party president Rubén Berríos defied federal law in Culebra in 1971, statehood and commonwealth legislators adopted a bipartisan resolution condemning his civil disobedience protest against the Navy, and federal authorities quickly arrested him. Thirty years later he likewise violated federal law to protest Navy abuses in Vieques, but a pro-statehood Puerto Rico Senate unanimously adopted a resolution supporting his civil disobedience and a year passed before his arrest.

Annexationists notwithstanding, Puerto Rico's nationalism grows. Even in the U.S., most Puerto Ricans refuse to hyphenate after 107 years as "Puerto Rican-Americans." Their population growth therefore raises serious problems. After analyzing separatist movements in non-sovereign countries like Quebec, Euskadi, Scotland, and Catalonia, the authors of "The Size of Nations" warn that, "Henceforth one should expect economic integration and political disintegration to go hand in hand, in a mutually reinforcing process."

Would a large multi-ethnic nation incorporate a culturally distinct and homogeneous Latin American nation and become a multi-national state in this day and age? Or would it remain one nation, indivisible?

For Americans, Puerto Rico's dependency and subordination is threatening.