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SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS - NEWS
Puerto Rico Deserves a Choice
November 8, 1998
Despite substantial bipartisan support for legislation allowing
Puerto Ricans to choose between statehood or their current commonwealth
status, the Senate this year killed the movement.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said lawmakers did not have
enough time to debate the bill that would have allowed such a
In reality, Lott and his cohorts are more concerned about partisanship;
they fear new Democratic representation in Congress; than allowing
the 3.8 million people of Puerto Rico self-determination.
And some in Congress are resistant to the idea of a Spanish-speaking
But it is only fair to let Puerto Ricans decide.
Puerto Ricans will vote in a Dec. 13 non-binding plebiscite
to voice their opinions on the issue.
The island, which the United States gained 100 years ago in
the Spanish-American War, became a U.S. commonwealth in 1952.
Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens subject to federal laws, but
they lack congressional representation. They get some federal
benefits, yet they don't
pay U.S. income taxes.
The United States would gain an estimated $2 billion a year
in revenue if Puerto Rico became a state.
But regardless of economic and political considerations on
the mainland, the island's residents deserve self-determination.