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Citizens' Educational Foundation-US
Texas House of Representatives Recognizes Importance of Promoting Self-Determination for Puerto Rico
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2003
Washington D.C., June 2, 2003, --- Jose E. Aponte, Executive Director of The Citizens Educational Foundation-US, a national non-profit, non-partisan organization supporting self-determination for Puerto Rico, applauds the Texas House of Representatives for adopting a resolution in support of Puerto Ricos self determination and thereby recognizing the need to urge the President and Congress to provide for a decolonization process for the United States citizens living in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.
Adopted by the Texas House of Representatives, the Resolution (http://www.cefus.net/documents/Texas House Resolution.pdf) calls for the President of the United States and the U.S. Congress to enact legislation that would define the available status options for the 3.8 million American citizens residing in Puerto Rico and authorize a plebiscite that would allow them to make a decision on a permanent political status. The Resolution, sponsored by State Representative Roberto Gutierrez, also calls on the Texas Congressional delegation to actively promote and support timely action on this important national issue. Additionally, the resolution requested that copies of the resolution be transmitted 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 Texas in the Congress of the United States.
"Yet another Legislative chamber has spoken on this issue. This is a significant demonstration of support for the American citizens living in Puerto Rico," Mr. Aponte said. "We are very grateful for the support of the Texas House of Representatives. Texas now joins other states such as California, Wisconsin and Florida, in adopting similar resolutions. This resolution sends a strong message that there is significant support for legislation that will help resolve the status dilemma."
Texas counts on a growing Puerto Rican community and an ever-increasing Latino population from which to draw many of its states business, cultural, and political leaders. The economic confines from an ambiguous political status in Puerto Rico have resulted in 3.4 million Puerto Ricans keeping residence on the mainland. It is estimated that by 2010 more Puerto Ricans will reside on the mainland than on the island.
Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory in 1898, as a result of the Spanish American War. In 1917, Congress granted Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship. 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. Despite these contributions and despite the contributions that Puerto Ricans are now making in the war against terrorism, Puerto Ricans have never been offered the opportunity by Congress to make a final decision on a permanent political status. They have not been given the opportunity to choose between becoming a state of the union or an independent republic. The present Commonwealth status continues to fail the economic and social development of the residents of Puerto Rico. During this time of crisis, it is important to remember that the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico have once again responded to a call for Americas defense. America must respond in-kind and give Puerto Rico an opportunity to choose its political destiny.