Vol. 3 No. 16

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A Place At U.S. Table For Latinos In 2001?

The Information Center at El Yunque National Forest
The Information Center at El Yunque National Forest, operated by the U.S. Forest Service, will be 3 years old next month. Inside this intriguing structure, about 45 minutes from San Juan, are educational exhibits and cultural events that help explain the exotic mysteries of the rain forest.


The recent exchange of views on U.S. citizenship in Puerto Rico is precisely the kind of dialogue about citizenship and nationality that the Citizens Educational Foundation seeks to foster. To carry the discussion forward on its merits a few additional points should be made.

U.S. citizens born in Puerto Rico face a problem similar to…all persons born outside the states of the union with U.S. statutory citizenship. In the absence of the statute granting our citizenship, we have no constitutional right to that citizenship. If the current statute granting U.S. citizenship to persons born in Puerto Rico (8 U.S.C. 1402) were repealed, relation to Puerto Rican born U.S. citizens would not create a constitutional right to U.S. citizenship for future Puerto Ricans.

Unlike the foreign born…those of us born in Puerto Rico to U.S. citizen parents have no separate or dual nationality to fall back on unless we have acquired it in another country. Thus, Congress would have a heavier burden to demonstrate a compelling purpose to take away citizenship already granted. However, if Congress were to accept Puerto Rico as a separate nation with its own citizenship as some in Puerto Rico propose, the door would be open to modification or even withdrawal of U.S. citizenship for Puerto Ricans.

As long a Puerto Rico's current status continues, Congress will retain the power to repeal or modify our already less than equal statutory citizenship rights.

It…is why we need to continue rather than curtail this discussion if our people are ever set aside local politics and fully understand the nature and limitations of their U.S. citizenship. Herbert W. Brown III, President, Citizens Educational Foundation

A Place At U.S. Table For Latinos In 2001?

I keep finding myself increasingly intrigued by what's going on in the GOP…it has to do with the possibility that the party just might nominate the first Republican to attract a very large number of non-Cuban American Latino votes.

That person could be… [Gov. George W.] Bush, but it could also be Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

What makes Bush and McCain so different from previous GOP presidential candidates who have courted Latinos is not so much what they have done about Latino issues, but what they have said and not said.

Rather than criticize immigrants, both talk of their importance. Neither is a welfare basher… They don't trash affirmative action and bilingual education… Both oppose English-only proposals, and both love to address crowds in Spanish.

Latinos in Texas and Arizona have voted with comfort for these men because they understand that in doing so, they are not being traitors to their fellow Latinos and their causes.

If either man gets elected with strong Latino support, once in office he would be foolish to ignore Latinos the way we have been ignored for so long.

[T]he year 2001 could end up being the first year that Latinos have a genuine place at the American table. Juan R. Palomo, USA Today


On Status: Who's Telling What To Whom?

Voters may want Sila Calderon and no status for 2000. But... compare the following two statements, and learn:

  1. "Since 1952, Puerto Rico has exercised local self-government under the sovereignty of the United States and subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the United States and other Federal laws applicable to Puerto Rico."

  2. "The present commonwealth relationship was created in 1952... the unpopular colonial regime was replaced by a new form of government... that gave us sovereignty similar to that of a state, but with broader control over local affairs under the terms of a compact."

Which is true? Who is telling to whom?

The first statement was approved unanimously by the United States Senate in Senate Resolution 279 of the 105th Congress, 2nd Session, on Sept. 15, 1998.

The second statement was made by San Juan Mayor Sila Calderon on March 13, 1999.

It states that our female denizens are more concerned about "status of Caimito" (Caimito being one of our rural barrios that is doing ok) than about the colonial status of Puerto Rico, so precisely defined by the United States Senate in September, 1998.

Exit polls published after the plebiscite show only 29% of the voters want to "keep thing as they are". Those are the "happy colonials." Those are the Caimito lovers. Those are Sila's. The rest may be wary of status, but they do not have mentality of the "happy colonials."

However, Calderon has transformed 29 percent into a majority, by displacing party president Anibal Acevedo Vila in Washington.

Who is right? The United Sates Senate or the mayor of San Juan? How can any political party in Puerto Rico, with the millennium almost here, nominate such an anachronism for any position? JM Garcia Passalaqua, The San Juan Star


Puerto Rican Statehood is a Wrong-Headed Idea

For reasons largely political, the U.S. Senate will convene a hearing May 6 to study Puerto Rican statehood. It's an exercise to placate Puerto Rican "statehooders" who, in a referendum in last December, lost their quest to become America's 51st state. The December referendum was the second time in six years that Puerto Ricans have rejected statehood.

[F]or understandable reasons. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens but do not pay federal income tax. They also receive $10 billion annually in federal social benefits. It's not a bad package.

But "statehooders" insist it smacks of colonialism. They call themselves "second class citizens" because they cannot vote for the U.S. president or Congress.

Yet the island's 3.8 million people are perfectly free to declare independence.

But Puerto Rican Gov. Pedro Rossello, a statehooder, refuses to accept defeat.

[I]f statehood is a bad idea, independence would be fine. Then, statehooders would have to stop braying they're second-class citizens. Greensboro News & Record, Editorial

Murkowski to Hold Hearing on Puerto Rico Plebiscite Results

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Following through on a promise in a Senate resolution last year, Chairman Frank H. Murkowski announced he will hold a hearing on Thursday, May 6, 1999, to review the results of the December 1998 plebiscite.

In September 1998, the Senate by voice vote passed S.Res. 279, which conveyed the sense of the Senate that the chamber supports the right of Puerto Rico, through referendum or other means, to communicate its desires on future political status to the federal government, and that the federal government will consider such communication.

"[W]e should provide a forum for our fellow citizens in the territories when they have taken the initiative to express their views," said Murkowski, who is Chairman of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. "Recognizing the legitimacy of their aspirations and the validity of their actions, this hearing will allow the Governor of Puerto Rico, in accordance with local law, to formally present the result of the plebiscite."

Self-Determination: Origins and Meaning


Making IRS Section 30A Permanent for U.S. Firms Operating in Puerto Rico is Not the Best Way to Stimulate Sustainable Development on the Island

U.S. Presidential Contenders Realize Importance of Winning Over Hispanics

No One Has Established That There Is Any Limitation On The Power Of Congress To End Conferral Of U.S. Citizenship If It Determines That Puerto Rico's Ultimate Status Should Be Based On Separate Nationhood And Sovereignty

Nation's Governors Call on Congress to Pass Puerto Rico Self-Determination Legislation

Puerto Rico Vote Not So Puzzling After All

By Dick Thornburgh

U.S.' State, Justice Departments Say Puerto Rico Remains A Territory


The Statehood Movement
100 Years of Evolution

by Gonzalo F. Cordova

by Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer


Former Governor's Son Says PDP Being Unfair

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The latest salvo in the war within the opposition Popular Democratic Party came in a three-page letter…Jose Hernandez Mayoral, the son of a former governor, fired off… to PDP President Anibal Acevedo Vila, accusing him of using the party's employees, phones, cars and polls to explore a run for resident commissioner.

Hernandez Mayoral wants that job, but he has been left out of the party's internal evaluation process for a slate of candidates for the 2000 election.

He says the process should be "fair, transparent and the same for everyone so that no one benefits from the party's institutional resources."

An incensed Acevedo Vila shot back, calling Hernandez Mayoral an "undisciplined" member of the party who is seeking personal political gain at the expense of the party's need to win back both chambers of the Legislature and put San Juan Mayor Sila Calderon in the governor's spot.

Political commentators and callers to radio talk shows warn of a possible rebellion by the "rafaelistas," those loyal to former Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon, who brought Acevedo Vila and Calderon into politics. Ivan Roman, Orlando Sentinel

Statehood Proponents Make A New Run On Washington

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - When Puerto Ricans rejected a proposal last year to become the 51st U.S. state - the second statehood setback in six years - it looked like the century-long fight would stop for many years to come.

But Puerto Rico 's "statehooders" are still in the ring.

Through renewed lobbying, fund-raising and involvement in Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign, the movement led by Gov. Pedro Rossello is raising the issue again.

"It's obvious that Rossello is trying to convince the leadership of the Congress to hold another plebiscite ," said Anibal Acevedo Vila, head of the rival Popular Democratic Party.

So far, the Senate has scheduled hearings for May 6 to examine the result of December's nonbinding referendum , and President Clinton has met with Rossello and issued a statement saying he is "strongly committed to enable the people of the islands to choose Puerto Rico 's status . ... I recognize the need to further clarify these options."

Rossello also met last month with Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Congressional leaders to push statehood . CHRIS HAWLEY, AP Online


Puerto Rico's People Have Fought to Defend America

Being a Puerto Rican, I took interest in your April 5 editorial about statehood for Puerto Rico. Your editorial left many issues untouched.

You stated that Puerto Ricans rejected statehood in the last referendum, but you failed to mention that the island is about 50 percent pro-statehood. Independence has never been an option, as it is supported by only about 3 to 4 percent of the voting public.

Isn't it ironic that we cannot vote for president or have a full voting member in Congress, but our young men and women are an integral part of the U.S. Army? My father was one of the few survivors of the 65th infantry in the Korean War.

He did not fight for Puerto Rico. He fought as a U.S. army officer, as many Puerto Ricans did in the Vietnam and now in Kosovo.

A bad idea? Take a look at the whole picture. Language difference, yes. Cultural differences, yes. But then again, wasn't this true in Hawaii and Alaska? Raymond Natal, Greensboro, NC

Controversy Disrupts Popular
Democratic Party

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Puerto Rico 's opposition Popular Democratic Party, optimistic about wresting the governor's office and legislature from a government touched by scandals, is caught up in a controversy of its own.

Jose Alfredo Hernandez Mayoral, son of former three-term governor Rafael Hernandez Colon, has begun campaigning to be the party's candidate for resident commissioner, the island's nonvoting representative in the U.S. Congress.

According to press reports, San Juan Mayor Sila Calderon, who everyone expects will be the party's gubernatorial candidate, said that if Hernandez Mayoral is the resident commissioner candidate, she will not run.

That touched off a firestorm within the party that favors commonwealth status over statehood . The leadership has tried to fight off criticism that the selection process is closed.

[S]ome think the controversy has less to do with party procedures than with Hernandez Mayoral's father and what he represents. His father served as governor from 1973 to 1977 and from 1985 to 1993, when the PDP party's candidate Victoria "Melo" Munoz lost to Rossello when he ran for his first term.

"Some may think that (with Hernandez Mayoral) we would be going back to a time in 1992 when the people booted us out because they were not satisfied with our work," said PDP Rep. Francisco Zayas Seijo. Ivan Roman, Orlando Sentinel

Rossello Opposes Young Federal Tax Proposal Unless Accompanied By All Statehood Benefits

Rossello, Businesses To Seek Federal Tax Break

Puerto Rico Changing Even As It Seeks To Stay The Same

White House: "None Of The Above" Win Not A Clear Status Choice
Vote Said To Give Little Guidance On Ultimate Outcome

Gutierrez Urging Independence For Puerto Rico Lives Paradox

Dangers of PDP "US" Versus "THEM" Opposition to Statehood:
An Ideology Premised on Misunderstanding of What Culture Means and of What Puerto Rican and United States "Culture" Are

By Jaime Pieras, Jr.
United States District Judge
Zappa v. Cruz




Write your Member of Congress in Support of Puerto Rico Self-Determination!

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Write Your Representative

Write your Senator


Under Statehood All Puerto Ricans
Would Have Been

American Taxpayers
Have Forked Over

Wealthier Today, and
Commonwealth is Costing Them
$6,000.00 More Every Year!
Subsidizing Puerto Rico Commonwealth, and It's Costing Them $22,821,918.52 More Each and Every Day of the Year!

Puerto Ricans Earning Their Own Way
Puerto Rico Paying Its Own Way

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