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PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Citizens' Educational Foundation - US
The Citizens Educational Foundation Lauds The Florida State Senates Efforts in Adopting Memorial Supporting Self-Determination for Puerto Rico
April 23, 2003
CONTACT: Shira Levine
Washington D.C., April 23, 2003, --- Herbert W. Brown III, Puerto Rican attorney and President of The Citizens Educational Foundation-US, a national non-profit, non-partisan organization supporting self-determination for Puerto Rico, applauds the Florida State Senate for its support in urging the President and Congress to allow a self-determination process for the United States citizens of Puerto Rico.
The memorial adopted by the State Senate calls on the President of the United States and the U.S. Congress to enact legislation that would define the available status options for the 4 million American citizens residing in Puerto Rico and authorizes a plebiscite that would allow them to make an informed decision on a permanent political status. Sponsored by State Senator Ron Klein, the memorial also calls on the Florida delegation to Congress to actively promote and support timely action on this important national issue. Additionally, the memorial requested that the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies to the President and Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Majority Leader of the Senate, each Senator and Representative from Florida in the Congress of the United States.
"This is truly a great demonstration of support for the American citizens living in Puerto Rico," Mr. Brown said. "We are very grateful for the support of Senator Ron Klein and the entire Florida State Senate for this timely action. This memorial sends a strong message to the Congress and the President that there is growing support, in politically sensitive areas, for legislation that will help resolve the Puerto Rico status dilemma. This issue has caused much uncertainty about Puerto Ricos political future and has had a negative impact on its economic and social development," said Brown.
Floridas state history has always been intertwined with Hispanic heritage. Within the state is a substantial Puerto Rican community and a rapidly growing Hispanic population.
"The State of Florida has joined a growing list of states that are making it very clear that the time has come to finally resolve the Puerto Rico status dilemma," said Jose E. Aponte, Executive Director of the Citizens' Educational Foundation-US. "I now urge the Florida House of Representatives, as well as, other States to send the same strong message to Washington, D.C."
Congress granted Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship in 1917. Since then, more than 200,000 Puerto Ricans have served in the armed forces of the United States and nearly 2,000 have sacrificed their lives in the defense of the nation.
Four Puerto Ricans have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for extraordinary valor in battle. Most recently, three Puerto Ricans died serving the nation in the war with Iraq. Despite all these contributions and despite the contributions that Puerto Rico continues to make on the war against terrorism, Puerto Ricans have never been offered the opportunity by Congress to make a final decision on a permanent political status. The present Commonwealth status continues to fail the stability, as well as, the economic and social development of Puerto Rican society. During these days of national security crisis, it is important to remember that Puerto Ricans have once again responded to the calls for Americas defense. America must respond in-kind and give Puerto Rico an opportunity to decide its political destiny.
Florida Memorial @ http://www.cefus.net/newsroom/resolutions/resolution_florida.htm
Citizens' Educational Foundation - US
202 546 3060 telephone 202 546 3380 fax