The Florida Times-Union
PUERTO RICO: Status Quo Is Unacceptable
April 27, 1997
Puerto Rico should be a sovereign nation or the 51st state. It should
not remain a U.S. commonwealth.
The United States seized the island from Spain 100 years ago. The status
quo is a vestige of colonialism, a concept inconsistent with American principles.
Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, but they are denied meaningful representation.
They can't cast ballots for president, nor is their congressional delegate
allowed to vote on legislation.
The status quo also is unfair to other Americans. Puerto Ricans pay no
U.S. taxes, but the U.S. government sends them $10 billion a year.
Those against independence say Puerto Rico could not survive economically
on its own.
But the Philippines, which the United States seized at the same time,
once was also extremely impoverished. It became independent after World
War II and has a booming economy today.
Puerto Rican voters should be asked whether they prefer independence
or statehood. Congress should consider those sentiments, then grant one
or the other. Puerto Rico cannot reach its potential until it has a permanent