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CONGRESSIONAL ACTION FOR POLITICAL SELF-DETERMINATION
FOR PUERTO RICO
The people of Puerto Rico, as natural-born citizens of the
United States, possess the same individual liberties as do all
other American citizens, including the right to protest and nurture
their local culture and linguistic heritage and the right to conduct
their affairs in accordance with a local constitution compatible
with and subordinate to the U.S. Constitution. Most Governors
represent constituencies that include American citizens of Puerto
Rican descent. Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans have served
our nation with distinction in every U.S. military conflict of
this century, earning numerous decorations, including four posthumous
medals of honor, and rising in several instances to the ranks
of general and admiral. Without admission to the Union, the residents
of Puerto Rico have sustained many combat casualties defending
U.S. interests in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and
the Persian Gulf. Athletes, scholars, artists, entrepreneurs,
professionals, and laborers of Puerto Rican origin have been contributing
throughout this century to the spiritual and socioeconomic enrichment
of the United States.
It is essential that the final, permanent political status
of Puerto Rico be democratically selected by the American citizens
who reside there. The Southern Governors' Association recognizes
and endorse the right of the people of Puerto Rico to freely exercise
political self-determination by majority vote on options ranging
from U.S. statehood to sovereign independence.
An absolute majority of Puerto Rico's voters supported a platform
seeking congressional sponsorship of a political status plebiscite
for Puerto Rico. The responsibility for making "all needful
rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property
belonging to the United States" is vested in the U.S. Congress
by Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution.
Therefore, in harmony with its long-standing acknowledgement
of the importance of self-determination by the people of Puerto
Rico as to the status of Puerto Rico, the National Governors'
Association urges the 106th Congress to enact legislation
that will, no later than the year 2000, provide a mechanism for
political self-determination by the American citizens who reside
in Puerto Rico.
Time limited (effective WINTER MEETING 1999-WINTER MEETING
Adopted Annual Meeting 1978; revised Winter Meeting 1989; revised
and reaffirmed Winter Meeting 1993; reaffirmed Winter Meeting
1995; revised Winter Meeting 1997 (formerly Policy A-6).