Esta página no está disponible en español.

Puerto Ricans Have Shown They're Happy With Status Quo… People Of Puerto Rico Deserve To Determine Their Own Status

Puerto Ricans Have Shown They're Happy With Status Quo

From Carlos M. Vazquez:

Letters to the editor

July 13, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp.. All rights reserved.

The Hill

In reading Dr. David Hill's June 29 column on Puerto Rico ("Puerto Rico deserves more attention"), one could be led to understand that the evolution of the economy of Puerto Rico into a high-tech model will somehow give impetus for a pro-statehood vote in a referendum. He also intimates that because we Puerto Ricans, here in the mainland, and there in "our" island are bilingual, we are ripe to become a state.

The fact that we use American brands of automobiles, fast foods, and bargain shopping and cellular communications, according to Dr. Hill, also means Puerto Ricans yearn to become a state. He also believes that the opinions of people living in the other 50 states will somehow influence the minds of Puerto Rican voters to want to become a state. Not so. All these things occur in Puerto Rico because survival in the global sense requires it.

Yes, we Puerto Ricans are American citizens at birth, and we have proved to be worthy of the label. We are proud to be American citizens. We have fought in every important war or conflict and our boys have given their lives for this country and the freedom it represents. We cherish that same freedom that has allowed us by our own democratic choice to remain "Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico" - Free Associated State of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

On at least three occasions in my 52 years, the people of Puerto Rico have spoken at the voting booths and have said no to statehood and yes to the status quo. The most recent vote on the political status of the island was for the "none of the above" line. The options/questions on the ballot were so tilted to statehood and written by the pro-statehood party that the pro-commonwealth supporters of the current governor, Anibal Acevedo Vila, chose not to support either of the options. They won!

As Dr. Hill says, our "unique cultural qualities will never be fully blended by America's melting pot." He is correct in saying that. We have not been totally influenced by mainland American opinions for more than 100 years. However, our economic prosperity, use of American (and Japanese) products and brands and eating American fast foods should not be taken as indicators that Puerto Rico is ready to join the other 50.

With all due respect to my adopted country - the U.S. of A. - some of us Puerto Ricans, here or there, still believe that the star on the Puerto Rican flag will not be added to the Stars and Stripes any time soon. We believe that even if some of us have chosen to live on the U.S. mainland. Living here does not make us less Puerto Rican than those we left behind. Neither does wishing our island to remain a commonwealth make us feel less American.

Meriden, Conn.

People Of Puerto Rico Deserve To Determine Their Own Status

By Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño:

Letters to the editor

July 14, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp.. All rights reserved.

The Hill

Thanks to your columnist Dr. David Hill for helping dispel some of the "ignorance" and "indifference" in the Congress and the American public about the territorial status of Puerto Rico ("Puerto Rico deserves more attention," June 29).

As the first Republican congressman elected in nearly a century to represent Puerto Rico, it has been my priority to explain to my fellow members how critical it is for all Americans to recognize the territorial problem we face and take a proactive stance to resolve it. I am happy to report that I have received enthusiastic support from most of my colleagues.

My peers are beginning to understand that the central problem facing the U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico is that they have been denied their most basic rights of self-determination by congressional inaction. More than a full century has passed, but Congress still has not implemented any political procedure to enable the residents of Puerto Rico to determine their form of self-government under a permanent, non-territorial alternative.

I believe that we have reached that important crossroads. We value our citizenship dearly, and over the years Puerto Ricans have honored it by making major contributions to our great nation in the arts, the sciences and sports. But most important, courageous Puerto Rican men and women have served our nation proudly, defending our valued principles of freedom since World War I to present-day Iraq and Afghanistan.

I am a firm believer in statehood for Puerto Rico, but I respect the right of my constituents to choose freely the status of choice of their preference, be it as a state of the Union, an independent republic or a republic associated with the United States. The important element has to be that all viable alternatives be permanent and non-territorial in nature. Until this process of free self-determination is completed, Congress will not have fully discharged its responsibility.

Congress soon will have a chance to address this egregious inequity when the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status issues its findings and report to President Bush. This report hopefully will contain a clear blueprint for achieving a final resolution of this century-old issue.

I encourage my colleagues to give the U.S. citizens who are residents of Puerto Rico the opportunity to make an educated, fair and democratic choice regarding their final status preference. After 107 years of territorial status and 88 years of being U.S. citizens, we are tired of waiting. The people of Puerto Rico deserve better. We have earned our right to be heard.

Washington, D.C.

Self-Determination Legislation | Puerto Rico Herald Home
Newsstand | Puerto Rico | U.S. Government | Archives
Search | Mailing List | Contact Us | Feedback