The San Juan Star, San Juan, Puerto Rico


of the Star Staff

(08/18/98, Copyright © 1998 The San Juan Star)

In a televised speech Monday evening Gov. Rosselló announced he had signed the bill authorizing a Puerto Rico status plebiscite schedules for next Dec. 13.

Saying that settling the status issue once and for all is crucial to the island's development, the governor outlined the four options Puerto Ricans will be asked to choose from when they go to the polls in December. "The political situation in Puerto Rico requires a dose of short-term decision and action to eradicate the daily debate, this divisive and obstructive element, to be able to give full rein to our capacity to progress without limitations in a just and equitable manner", said Rosselló.

The governor claimed that the U.S. government "has clearly expressed its commitment to listen to our demand".

But House Minority Leader Aníbal Acevedo Vilá disputed Rossello's claim that the plebiscite's options mirror those already approved by the U.S. Congress.

"Today, Rosselló said the status definitions were approved by Congress but that is a lie because it was only one chamber of Congress", he said. The definitions that are being used are those contained in the Young Bill approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in March by one vote. A Senate version of a congressionally authorized plebiscite, which will likely not be voted on before Congress adjourns in October, provides for the island to become an incorporated territory before becoming a state said Acevedo Vilá.

"Why didn't they put that in their definition?" he asked.

The PDP opposes the plebiscite saying its commonwealth definition is not represented.

As outlined by the governor, the status options contained in the plebiscite bill, passed the legislature last Thursday along party lines, are as follows:

Recognition of a republic with full sovereignty and authority over its territory, with its own Constitution and the citizenship of the Republic of Puerto Rico.

Concession of full sovereignty to Puerto Rico along with the signing of a bilateral treaty of association with the U.S. which would renounce all its power over the island. Puerto Rico would have its own citizenship and living Puerto Ricans could retain U.S. citizenship, but children born thereafter would not be U.S. citizens.

Maintain the island under U.S. sovereignty and under the territorial control of the federal government, conceding a government limited to issues strictly under local jurisdiction and a statutory U.S. citizenship conceded by Congress. English would continue to be the official language of U.S. agencies and federal courts.

Admission as a "sovereign state of the American union" with the same rights, privileges and obligations the prevail over the other 50 states.

Rosselló said the a fifth option, "none of the above", will be available to voters "to assure the free expression of all".

Acevedo Vilá said the governor is disenfranchising the 800,000 PDP voters who have no place to vote in the plebiscite ballot.

Self-Determination Legislation | Puerto Rico Herald Home
Newsstand | Puerto Rico | U.S. Government | Archives
Search | Mailing List | Contact Us | Feedback