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The Star-Ledger Newark, NJ

Statehood Will Win

November 4, 2002
Copyright © 2002 The Star-Ledger Newark, NJ. All rights reserved. 

In your Oct. 29 story "Diverted by the great debate," you assert that there is public support in Puerto Rico for maintaining the commonwealth arrangement. Maybe. Since 1952, preference for the commonwealth option has been in steady decline while support for statehood has been increasing; now the two camps are pretty even.

The main reason the commonwealth movement remains strong is anticipation of "the best of two worlds," as supporters have called it in political campaigns. What Gov. Sila Calderon and other pro-commonwealth Puerto Ricans want for the island is such a good deal that Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) asserted on one occasion: "If Congress grants that to Puerto Rico , I want it for Rhode Island!" When Puerto Ricans are offered a binding plebiscite with realistic status definitions, statehood will win - ending more than 500 years of colonialism.

- Gilberto Pagan, Perth Amboy

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