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Ana Irma Rivera Lassén. Photo: Puerto Rico Posts
Ana Irma Rivera Lassén. Photo: Puerto Rico Posts

Rivera Lassén breaks with the bipartisan Puerto Rican tradition with a battle cry for LGBTQ+ representation

Tired of the two big parties? The candidate for the Movimiento Victoria Ciudadana becomes the first openly feminist and decolonial Senator for Accumulation in…

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Ana Irma Rivera Lassén burst into Puerto Rico as Senator for Accumulation with the profile of an experienced women's rights activist and especially aware of the problems of colonial heritage that has crossed her country for decades. She is the spokesperson for the Movimiento Victoria Ciudadana, which represents a break with bipartisan practices and, in her own words, aims to "promote equality and equity" through economic development and decolonization.

The Caribbean island of Puerto Rico has been experiencing various crises for several years. Some are related to location since, unfortunately, it has been suffering from earthquakes, hurricanes, lack of supplies, and the same global pandemic that's affected the world. But many of their most pressing problems have a profoundly political core, fueled by a deep economic debt and a system factually bipartisan stranded in the debate of its final full integration or continuation as a commonwealth. 

Therefore, in the 2020 elections, some young voters voted much more than their representatives and, if anything, had the option of small modifications in such stale dynamics. There is no country in the world, neither European nor American, that has benefited from a two-party system, which statistically speaking, hijacks the plurality of options of authentic democracy in dangerous blackmail between lesser evils. 

In the elections of 2020, citizens had other alternatives to the New Progressive Party and the Popular Democratic Party that went far beyond the important achievement of breaking their dynamics and represent a commitment to representation and intersectionality. It is worth remembering that, deep down, both parties have defended conservative policies and this was the first time that up to 25 openly-LGBTQ+ candidates were running.

Ana Irma Rivera Lassén becomes the first Puerto Rican legislator who manages to mark a historic rupture by being elected as one of the eleven Senators by Accumulation not only as an openly-lesbian representative but also as a leader and president of the Movimiento Victoria Ciudadana, founded in 2019 as an anti-colonial platform. 

This lawyer and activist represents the way global changes in feminist politics have come to the island, aware of the patriarchal and conservative stigmas, very attentive to the protection of LGBTQ+ and children's rights, which for decades suffered severe discrimination in addition to institutional white racism. Lassén is a member of the Advisory Council of the Network of Afro-Latin American, Afro-Caribbean and Diaspora Women. She is also a Doctor of Law and has been published in several essays that gradually recover part of the rich legacy of the women of Puerto Rico. 

But Lassen is not the only sign of change, although it is perhaps the most important. Joanne Rodriguez Veve of the Proyecto Dignidad party has also been elected as a representative and the old parties have put forward openly LGBTQ+ elected candidates such as Jorge Baez Pagan (New Progressive Party), Jorge Emmanuel, Miguel "Ricky" Mendez and Edgardo Cruz Velez. 

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