This article examines how Chicago Puerto Rican independentistas imagine the colonial relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States through an analysis of their articulations and actions with and on behalf of Palestinian self-determination in the 1970s and early 1980s. Drawing primarily on the writings of individuals imprisoned for alleged participation in the Puerto Rican armed clandestine organization Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN; Armed Forces of National Liberation), this article argues that Chicago independentistas constructed a reimagined geography of liberation that simultaneously declared solidarity while also disrupting narratives of US exceptionalism—what we might term the articulation of Palestine in the Puerto Rican political imaginary. Ultimately, it contends that we move beyond the aura of exceptionality that so often characterizes Puerto Rico's ambiguous political status by locating demands for Puerto Rican independence within a transnational, comparative framework of anticolonial and anti-imperial resistance movements.

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Author notes

Sara Awartani is a PhD student in the Department of American Studies at George Washington University. Her research examines the transnational and comparative histories of Puerto Rican and Palestinian anti-imperialist independence activists in the United States.