The Institute for the Development Advancement, and Equality of Puerto Rico (I.D.E.A. of Puerto Rico, Inc.) is a civic non-profit corporation; a "think-tank" not affiliated to local or national political parties, which is integrated by private sector individuals with outstanding professional and academic records, who identify, research, and develop informational positions on Congressional issues pertaining to Puerto Rico.
I request your consent in allowing me the opportunity to submit any additional written testimony that may be required as a result of today's proceedings.
MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE:
The solution to Puerto Rico's colonial status condition can only be achieved by an act of mutual self-determination on the part of the Congress of the United States and We The People. The Congress must represent the national U.S. interest by providing the governed with a sanctioned democratic process that is based upon accurate definitions for the options it is willing to consider, and the governed must express their self-determination through an electoral process.
The Senate must recognize and re-affirm in its legislation that the essential pre-condition to mutual self-determination, resides in the truthful and accurate definition of the present condition in political, territorial, and individual terms. It is imperative that all legislative initiatives include in clear terms the exact nature of the current status of Puerto Rico as well as the exact nature of the current status of Puerto Ricans. In essence, the nature of our relationship and the nature of our U.S, citizenship.
S. 472 meets this criteria and has our full endorsement and support.
Nonetheless, this process has created perplexing and contradictory perceptions only part of which I bring to your attention due to time constrictions:
The people of Puerto Rico must not be blamed or made responsible for the results and consequences of a failed political and economic experiment in colonialism that was created and imposed upon us by the Congress. Nor, should they be faulted for the partial absence of language skills that resulted from direct political actions that were fully funded by the U.S. federal government, and endorsed by the silence of the Congress.
Senators Craig, Graham, and other co-sponsors of S.472, must not be blamed but admired for telling the truth of our relationship to all Americans. Truths that have been mislabeled as partial to an option. Their critics paradoxically admitting that truth is partial to one option.
But Mr. Chairman, if truth proves unbearable to the forces of bigotry and prejudice, under the subterfuge of language, economics, or whatever; and our people blamed for the actions of others, then I must ask you to withdraw the option of statehood. But if you accede then I ask you to also repeal our statutory U.S. citizenship, because if you don't, we will come back and back again until we secure for our children the same rights and obligations that you and your constituents possess. Those rights and obligations that can be acquired after five years of residence by any immigrant and which have been denied to the people of Puerto Rico for a century. Do as you will, but whatever the outcome, don't substitute truth by yet another forty six years of colonial deceit!
If the forces of the evil empire of injustice and prejudice were to prevail and derail this process by commission, omission, or attrition, make sure to ponder the consequences both domestic and international. What standing would be left our nation when confronting tyrants like Hussein or Castro?
What moral force would remain to ask the rest of the world to embark on a path towards democracy and to allow their peoples their right to self-determination, if the U.S. Senate were to deny these same basic rights to fellow Americans in Puerto Rico?
Mr. Chairman, this shameful system of colonial apartheid must be ended! It is the wall of colonialism what divides the nation and constitutes our own Quebec! This wall separates some Americans from others: on one side first class citizens; on the other those of us who are deprived of full rights and obligations. On one side those Americans that at one time were forced to ride on the back of the bus, and who have since won their full rights; and on the other side, those of us who even at this late time have not even been allowed to get on the bus.
In concluding, I say to you today:
SENATORS, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!
See the Written Testimony of Arturo J. Guzman.
See the Supplemental Testimony of Arturo J. Guzman.
See related articles by Arturo J. Guzman.