Associated Press

Puerto Rican parties launch plebiscite campaigns

(09/13/98, Copyright © 1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - With festive marches and TV ads, political parties kicked off their campaigns Sunday for a December plebiscite over Puerto Rico's relationship with the United States.

Hundreds of people who want Puerto Rico to become a U.S. state waved American flags as they weaved through northern Arecibo on a "Caravan for Equality."

In eastern Caguas, supporters of the current commonwealth arrangement countered with a "Commonwealth Crusade" rally, while independence advocates took to radio talk shows to sell their cause.

Statehooders are already running television advertisements assuring Puerto Ricans that they would retain their culture and Spanish language after joining the union. "Statehood: your language, your culture, your future," promise the ads.

Puerto Rico marks 100 years as a U.S. possession this year, and the island's pro-statehood governor has been pressuring the U.S. Congress to hold a vote to resolve the island's ambiguous relationship with the United States. After the proposal stalled in the Senate, Rossello called a local, nonbinding plebiscite for Dec. 13.

Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and receive limited federal benefits, but they cannot vote for President, have no vote in Congress and do not pay federal taxes.

The island was ceded to the United States by Spain as part of the treaty that ended the Spanish-American War in 1898.

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