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Five Eighth Graders Could Solve Puerto Rico’s Political Status Problem

Independence Is The Way To Go


TO: Editor, Puerto Rico Herald

Five Eighth Graders Could Solve Puerto Rico’s Political Status Problem

July 26, 2001
Copyright © 2001 PUERTO RICO HERALD. All Rights Reserved.

Dear Editor:

I think if we had a panel of five eighth grade children with one hour to spare, they would be able to solve the political problem in Puerto Rico.

There are three political groups in Puerto Rico, that have been anguishing over the status for over 50 years or more, at times leading to violent acts of terrorism in the past. Consequently the U.S. Congress, which has unilateral power over Puerto Rico, has asked them time and time again, to petition Congress on a change in Status through a plebiscite, on the type of government they would like to have.

1) Puerto Rico is legally a commonwealth; but technically a colony. So we have the "Commonwealth Party" that wants Sovereignty - but subsidized by the U.S. (about 47% - mostly nationalists) And Congress says, " NO WAY - JOSE..."

2) Then we have the STATEHOOD party, who are proud to be U.S. citizens, mostly veterans and the Middle Class... ( about 45% ) - Who seek equality through Statehood.

3) Last, but not least is the most vocal group - The INDEPENDENCE PARTY with less than 3% pro-Castro anti-Americans, and they want INDEPENDENCE - with no future ties to the U.S.A.

A couple weeks ago, I was at a Latin American neighbor's party for his 14 year old daughter.. So I sat down with 5 kids from the 8th grade and explained this problem to them.

The response from the kids was very simple.... If Congress does not approve one of the propositions, so COMMONWEALTH must go.

Four of them actually said that if there was a problem as it is now, that there should be no more COLONY..(quote) The Fifth child said, that the people should ask the U.S. for more money, because we are rich and most people in Puerto Rico want a "raise" be happy. (She was the smallest, a 7th grader)..

There it is, four out of five children telling the people of Puerto Rico, what over 3 million of them cannot decide at the polls... That the COMMONWEALTH is their only problem , and that they should choose one of the other two alternates, INDEPENDENCE or STATEHOOD...

So what is the REAL PROBLEM Puerto Rico? Just get yourself a panel of 5 Eighth Graders, to advise the government.... It's that simple.

Art Romero
New York, N.Y.



July 28, 2001
Copyright © 2001. All Rights Reserved.

Independence Is The Way To Go

I really enjoy reading the Herald articles. For awhile, I would catch editorials through my NYTimes daily email choices.

Many years ago, I had the privilege of an exchange student year at the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras. I came from the State Univ. of NY at Geneseo - a small upstate, town - also where I grew up. So, for this americana, it was wonderful just to be in "paradise." My classes were very good, the campus of UPR was beautiful, the weather was superb and as I say, Puerto Rico itself was paradise. But for me, the best memories of all, are of the friendships I made. Among my circle of friends were many other US students. The girls' dorm - the residencia para senoritas - consisted of suites with 6 to a suite. One US girl to a suite. So, not only did we get to meet 5 PR girls there, we also came to know the suitemates of the other US girls. So, our circle of friends, US/PR, was quite large within a short time.

Some of us knew some Roosevelt Roads Navy boys, so we could go places that girls would not go alone. Some of our parents sent money for us to rent a car now and then, and one of our male friends would drive - we saw several island sites that way. In my circle of friends, the most interesting and intriguing relationships were with some independentistas. It almost seemed like a contradiction in terms - those friendships. At times some of the more militant ridiculed our more liberal friends and called them traitors. I always have admired the ones who "hung in" our group of friends, saying that people are people first of all. Ironically, then and to this day, I have believed that independence is the way to go.

This winter, I finally had the chance to go back to Puerto Rico on vacation with one of my former suitemates. She moved to the US after graduation and stayed. Several of her family members still are in we had a great time. And we saw some of UPR friends from the "good old days." Yes, and some of the independentistas. It was a long, long time coming this vacation. It was good to be back in a place that was home for me. The breezes, the smell of the ocean, the coqui "coquiing" in the evening, the music, the cuba libre, the ice cream like nothing here at home, and just feeling "home" again - all were wonderful.

So, I am enjoying your articles....Hope to find some about Ruben Berrios and his PIP party's small but mighty witness to the fact that peaceful, civil disobedience is a basic right and morally strong power. I read, with my old UPR dictionary by my side, many of the PIP information.

It takes me back to the '60's civil disobedience was a common theme.

Once again, thanks for the good reading.

Lynne A. Stewart

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