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U.S. approves funds for referendum on Puerto Rico's status

PUERTO RICO STATUS | 16 de enero de 2014

Puerto Rico is a U.S. commonwealth, a regime that means it is subject to federal law but has broad autonomy in handling its internal affairs. EFE/File

San Juan, Jan 16 (EFE).- The U.S. House of Representatives' approval of a budgetary line item to provide funding for a referendum supervised by Washington on Puerto Rico's status is considered historic by pro-statehood parties here.

Puerto Rico's representative in Washington and the head of the main opposition PNP, Pedro Pierluisi, told Efe on Thursday that this is "an unprecedented act."

Pierluisi, whose party is in favor of making Puerto Rico the 51st state, said that late Wednesday evening the House approved the allocation of $2.5 million to organize the referendum.

The funding has no deadline or time limit and is subject to the requirement that the funds also be used to inform and educate the Puerto Rican public about the different options among which they will be allowed to choose.

It is expected that the Senate will approve the budget bill sometime later this week.

The referendum will consult Puerto Ricans about their opinions on the island's relationship with Washington and will be conditional upon the federal Justice Department giving its approval, so that it can be guaranteed that the phrasing of the questions adheres to the Constitution.

Pierluisi made clear in an interview with Efe that if the current Puerto Rican government does not take advantage of the funding allocation to hold the referendum, his party will do so if and when it comes to power.

Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who is also the leader of Puerto Rico's other main party, the PPD, favors maintaining the island's status as a Free Associated State, or commonwealth, of the United States.

The United States invaded Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War.

Island residents were granted U.S. citizenship in 1917 but they cannot vote in presidential elections, though Puerto Ricans living in the continental United States can.

Since 1952, the island has been a Free Associated State of the United States, an unincorporated territory with broad internal autonomy.

Fifty-four percent of Puerto Rican voters supported a change in status in a non-binding referendum coinciding with the November 2012 gubernatorial election.

The ballot consisted of two questions.

Sixty-one percent of those who answered the second question favored statehood over the other two choices: enhanced commonwealth status - the PPD's proposal - or independence.

But more than 460,000 Puerto Ricans who voted on the first status question did not respond to the second question.

Pierluisi is of the opinion that the only possible options for Puerto Rico's future status are U.S. statehood or independence.

  • 19 de diciembre de 2014 - 23:36 GMT #4. Jose M Lopez Sierra
    [ contestar ]

    Descolonizacion de Puerto Rico

    Not true that there are 3 political status options for Puerto Rico

    The United States (US) government has made Puerto Ricans believe that there are 3 political status options for Puerto Rico. That is a lie. The purpose for that is to have Puerto Ricans fight amongst themselves. The plan has been a huge success! Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States for 116 years, and judging by the 80% voter turnout in the colonial elections, the majority of us has not realized that we have been lied to.

    In reality, there is only one option. The United Nations (UN) in 1960 determined that colonialism is a crime against humanity. Therefore, the only thing that Puerto Rico can do is to become her own nation. That means that the US must give Puerto Rico the sovereignty that the US illegally took away from her by virtue of the July 25, 1898 military invasion.

    Thus far, the US government has ignored the 33 UN resolutions asking it to immediately decolonize Puerto Rico. Instead, it has tried to hide these petitions, and at the same time appear to believe in democracy by pushing for plebiscites so that Puerto Ricans could decide between colonialism, being a US state, or independence (decolonization as required by the UN).

    The problem with the US pushed plebiscites are that they:

    1. don’t comply with international law that prohibits a nation to have a colony.
    2. don’t comply with international law that requires the empire to give the sovereignty it illegally took away to its colony.
    3. don’t comply with international law that requires that to have free elections, that country must be free first.
    4. have 2 options that are not permitted by international law- continuing being a colony and becoming a state of the country that has the colony. For the option of becoming a state of the country that has the colony to be considered, the colony must first become her own nation (decolonized).

    This is why we have to peacefully protest 3 times a year until the US government complies with the UN resolutions for Puerto Rico decolonization.

    José M López Sierra
    www.TodosUnidosDescolonizarPR.blogspot.com
  • 06 de agosto de 2014 - 19:13 GMT #3. Jose M Lopez Sierra
    [ contestar ]

    Puerto Rico decolonization

    Dear Partner,

    Since the United Nations determined in 1960 that colonialism is a crime against humanity, there is no longer a need for plebiscites. The solution is to give Puerto Rico her sovereignty.

    But being the United States government does not want to, it continues to advocate the use of plebiscites to find out what Puerto Ricans want. Even if 100% of Puerto Ricans would want to continue being a US colony, Puerto Rico would still be obligated to accept her sovereignty to then decide what she wants to do.

    The only thing these plebiscites are good for is to divide Puerto Ricans. A Puerto Rican didn’t invade us to make us a colony. When will we understand that we need to unite?

    This is why we must peacefully protest at least 3 times a year until Puerto Rico is decolonized!

    José M López Sierra
    www.TodosUnidosDescolonizarPR.blogspot.com
  • 24 de julio de 2014 - 20:28 GMT #2. Jose M Lopez Sierra
    [ contestar ]

    3 protests 4 PR decolonization

    Dear Partner,

    This tactic is to make the US appear that it is interested in decolonizing PR. If it were, it could ask the United Nations run the process.

    After the approval of the 33rd United Nations’ resolution by consensus on June 23, 2014 asking the United States (US) to immediately decolonize of Puerto Rico, we should work together to force the United States government to comply with it.

    The facts that the United States government has maintained Puerto Rico as its colony for 116 years, has had Oscar López Rivera in prison for 33 years for fighting for Puerto Rico decolonization, and has ignored 33 UN resolutions to decolonize Puerto Rico, confirm that the US government has no intentions of ever decolonizing Puerto Rico. Therefore, we need to form a tsunami of people to force the US to comply with the 33 resolutions.

    We should peacefully protest at least 3 times a year until we achieve our goal. The first one will be a march up to the US Courthouse in Puerto Rico on the Abolition of Slavery Day on March 22. The second will be another march in Puerto Rico on a day before the UN’s Puerto Rico decolonization hearing. The third one will be a protest in New York City on the same day the UN holds its Puerto Rico decolonization hearing.

    These 3 protests are indispensable, because those who have colonies don’t believe in justice for all.

    Sincerely,
    José M López Sierra
    Jlop28vislophis@gmail.com
    Comité Timón del Pueblo
    United Partners for the Decolonization of Puerto Rico
    www.TodosUnidosDescolonizarPR.blogspot.com

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