U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) stirred some discussion on social media Thursday (December 15) when she spoke Spanish on the House floor during a debate on the Puerto Rico Status Act, which would finally resolve the political status of the U.S. territory by allowing Puerto Ricans themselves to decide if they wanted statehood.
Ocasio-Cortez ended her comments with a familiar message to Puerto Ricans: “Yo soy Boricua, pa’que tu lo sepas” (“I am Puerto Rican, so that you know”). The refrain comes from a 1995 song of the same name by Puerto Rican rapper Taíno. Over the years, the song has become a rallying cry for Puerto Ricans and used as a statement of pride for their culture.
Soon after Ocasio-Cortez stepped off the lectern, she was asked to “provide a translation” of “Yo soy Boricua, pa’que tu lo sepas!”
Some wondered if it was even the representative’s job to do this. “Not that this wasn’t already easy to translate, but does the congressional records keepers not have a bilingual employee?” one Twitter user asked. “Why do they need you to be their translator?”
Others were just ecstatic that the song lyric is now part of political history. “And thus, 124 years, 4 months and 20 days after U.S. occupation of Puerto Rico began, the words “Yo soy boricua, pa’ que tú lo sepas” have been entered in the Congressional record.”
There were several Twitter users who imagined what some of the Republicans in the House were doing when they heard Ocasio-Cortez speak Spanish.
Of course, there were also plenty of Ocasio-Cortez critics who didn’t like that she spoke Spanish for a myriad of reasons, although we’re not sure how “pandering” makes sense since she is, in fact, a Spanish-speaking Puerto Rican herself.
And there were some that immediately shot back because Latine people speak Spanish and Puerto Rico speaks Spanish.
Later, Ocasio-Cortez reiterated the phrase after a video of the translation request was posted.
Watch the full clip below.