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Puerto Rico Herald
Hoyt Is Seriously Mistaken About Wanting Puerto Rico To Become Independent
January 1, 2003
To: Puerto Rico Herald
Comments: Hoyt Is Seriously Mistaken About Wanting Puerto Rico To Become Independent
I'd like to make a comment to Garry Hoyt about his article regarding the independence issue: Mr. Hoyt, with all due respect and even though you made some valid points, I believe you are seriously mistaken about wanting Puerto Rico to become independent.
I lived in Puerto Rico for a much shorter, albeit more recent time (1/99-7/00) than you and i saw how much people on the island benefit from the Commonwealth status. It gives them U.S. citizenship which allows them to live and work in the U.S., many of them receive food stamps that they need very much, and a very large percentage of people going to college are able to go because of Pell grants, just to name a few benefits they receive.
Considering you still have ties to the island I'm sure you're aware that in the last vote regarding the island's status the independent choice got very few votes. In fact, it was in the single digits. If there was a vote only between going independent or going statehood, statehood would win. There can be no doubt about that.
Yes, Puerto Rican's are proud of their heritage, their flag and being called Puerto Ricans, but I know most of them also appreciate being U.S citizens.
I moved to Puerto Rico when I did because I fell in love with the island after visiting a Puerto Rican friend I had served in the military with. He's very proud to have served in the U.S Army. There are thousands of other Puerto Ricans who have served the country the way he did and are just as proud as he is.
I didn't see much of the anti-U.S. spirit that I read so much about. The people of Puerto Rico treated me like a Prince with a capital "P". They really did. I'll never forget their kindness to me during my days there.
As far as the language issue I wasn't able to learn Spanish very well because everyone insisted on speaking English to me. I was surprised to see how many people knew English. It is being taught in the schools, although some times people are a little shy to speak it at first.
In finishing my comments here let me just say that I hope Puerto Rico becomes a state one day.
I recognize that some still don't want it so maybe the Commonwealth status is still appropriate for now, but I do hope that one day the citizens of Puerto Rico get statehood as they deserve. I'd really hate to see the island regress towards being what it was in my friend's grandparents days.
By the way, they are for statehood because they remember how hard things were when they were young. For the children and future children of that beautiful island I encourage all Puerto Ricans and all who care about the island to support statehood or at least the commonwealth status.
Jeffrey Bayes, Miami, Florida