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Rosselló Adds New Dimension to Status Debate

November 22, 2002
Copyright © 2002 PUERTO RICO HERALD. All rights reserved. 

In a briefing to a group of young professionals in Washington, DC, last week, former Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Rosselló suggested an interim goal for statehood advocates. Describing it as "another dimension" to the political status debate, Rosselló encouraged an effort to achieve guaranteed voting rights for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico, at least the right to vote for the President.

During the interchange with 50 members of the newly-formed Americans for Puerto Rico Statehood organization, Rosselló was asked if he thought the U.S. Supreme Court, rather than the U.S. Congress, should define the status of Puerto Rico. Consistent with other comments recently from this former head of Puerto Rico’s Statehood Party, Rosselló responded that such a procedure might be necessary to protect the rights of Puerto Ricans as U.S. citizens.

If the federal courts were to define the rights of the citizens of Puerto Rico, he opined, "they would have only two options – full rights inside the United States or outside," that is, statehood or independence, dismissing as an alternative Puerto Rico’s current Commonwealth status, which provides U.S. citizenship but no right to vote for the President and no voting representation in the Congress.

The organization hosting Rosselló’s briefing, Americans for Puerto Rican Statehood, is a non-profit, multi-ethnic group of young American professionals on the mainland who are promoting equal rights for Puerto Ricans and statehood for the island.

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