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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.

  • 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

  • 18 de enero de 2014 - 18:45 GMT #1. Jose M Lopez Sierra
    [ contestar ]

    Decolonization of Puerto Rico

    Dear Partners,

    Join The First Oscar – Mandela Protest in Puerto Rico on Saturday, March 22, 2014, on the Abolition of Slavery Day, to peacefully protest for the decolonization of Puerto Rico and the release of our political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. It is the perfect day to protest the enslavement of Puerto Rico by the government of United States.

    We will march from the Roosevelt Avenue Urban Train Station at 2 PM to the United States Court in Puerto Rico on Chardón Street in Hato Rey.

    If you belong to any particular group, feel free to bring your flags and signs to our protest. We want it to be a collective effort involving everyone who believes that colonialism is a crime against humanity and a threat to world peace. We need to have as many people as possible, because those who practice or accept colonialism, don’t believe in justice for all!

    Un abrazo,
    José
    www.TodosUnidosDescolonizarPR.blogspot.com
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