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Reader's Viewpoint

October 28, 1998
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Last week's columns by Mssrs. Ron Walker and Juan Manuel Garcia-Passalacqua deserve closer scrutiny. In the first instance Mr. Walker extols as brilliant the P.D.P.'s decision to support the 5th column ("none of the above") in the upcoming December 13th plebiscite, almost as if he were still acting as a spokesperson for former Resident Commissioner Jaime Fuster. Mr. Walker and the P.D.P. are wrong. Totally wrong.

Regardless of the disinformation and outright deceit that has been perpetrated for forty six years upon the people of Puerto Rico by the P.D.P.'s leadership in describing the true nature of the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, one fact remains clear: as far as Washington is concerned the current relationship is accurately defined under the first column. Although they persist in telling the people here in Puerto Rico that the definition that will appear in the first option of the ballot does not correspond to that of "Commonwealth", P.D.P. leaders are also fully aware that these arguments have absolutely no weight or credibility with the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of the federal government.

Thus, as a result of this decision, the first column will remain "orphaned" as it is very doubtful that more than a handful of voters will support it. In conclusion, and regardless of how the voting is divided among the other four options, the P.D.P.'s action will assure that the message Washington will receive is one of massive and overwhelming rejection for the "Commonwealth" that juridically and actually exists.

In the second instance Mr. Garcia-Passalacqua refers to the bill filed by Cong. Dan Burton (H.R. 4766) to assure the availability of English language instruction in Puerto Rico as applicable to "Commonwealth" ONLY IF the statehood option were to receive a majority in the plebiscite. That is also misleading and wrong.

The Bill in question (to be re-introduced in the 106th Congress) has absolutely nothing to do with the plebiscite or its results. As a matter of fact it applies exclusively to the status-quo. Time and time again, Congressman Burton has personally assured me and others, of his concern and determination that never again are the people of Puerto Rico going to be purposely deprived (for political or ideological reasons of any local party in power) of their absolute right, should they individually choose to exercise it, of a good English language education.


Arturo J. Guzman

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