Still skeptical over Puerto Rico?


To the editor:

If the Puerto Rico Political Status Act becomes law, the island will cease being a territory of the United States. It will become the 51st state, or perhaps the Associated Republic of Puerto Rico, or the Republic of Puerto Rico.

“The Puerto Rican people do not want to be a colony, and the United States of America does not want to be a colonial power,” said House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland. “This legislation seeks to address that issue.”

But Power 4 Puerto Rico, a New York-based “national coalition of the Puerto Rican diaspora” remains skeptical.

“Our coalition remains extremely concerned about the lack of clear details around the consequences and transitions in each of the status definitions in the proposed decolonization legislation,” said Power 4 Puerto Rico director Erica Gonzalez.

Under the guise of “clarifying details, consequences and transitions,” in the status debate, Power 4 Puerto Rico is actually trying to obstruct, discredit, confuse, derail and delay any legislation that leads to permanent decolonization.

And they are using the platform of statehood to do it as state residents and coalition members work against permanent decolonization with the votes of two U.S. Senators and a House member in Congress.

This gives them an outsized advantage when lobbying in Washington. As a territory, the island’s 3.2 million U.S. citizens are represented by one non-voting congressional delegate.

Does that mean that the decolonization of Puerto Rico does not deserve a rigorous examination of the details that would forever change its political status?

Absolutely not.

But that scrutiny has been provided by dozens of House and Senate hearings examining five separate decolonization proposals since 1997.

Congress’s research and investigative arms have also reviewed the implications of the various status options on citizenship, taxes, federal social safety net programs, language and economic development.

All of the statements by Power 4 Puerto Rico implying a lack of transparency by Congress are a ploy aimed at political misdirection.

The suggestion that Congress has not been transparent with island residents is false.

Statehood advocate Antonio Jo Seis offered the following reply to Power 4 Puerto Rico:

“If you guys hadn’t been so busy sabotaging the building of an anti-colonial consensus and wasting time boycotting compromise efforts, maybe you could have used that time and effort to prepare and participate like every island group in the public hearing (on the Puerto Rico Status Bill) held in San Juan in June.”

Gene Roman

Gene Roman, Puerto Rico, statehood, republic, territory, Power 4 Puerto Rico