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Some leaders in the Puerto Rican community claim that Puerto Rico voters need more information about the various status options open to them. Here is an explanation of what statehood, one of the three viable options, would mean for Puerto Rico. The paragraph below is the way statehood was described on the 2012 referendum ballot…. Read more »

Sovereign Free Associated State

Some leaders in the Puerto Rican community say that Puerto Rico voters need more information about the various status options for Puerto Rico. Free association, a variant of independence, is one of the possibilities under the U.S. Constitution. Here is how it was described on the 2012 plebiscite ballot: (III) Sovereign Free Associated State: Puerto… Read more »


 (II) Independence:Puerto Rico should become a sovereign nation, fully independent from the United States and the United States Congress would be required to pass any necessary legislation to begin the transition into independent nation of Puerto Rico. If you agree, mark here:   As a sovereign country, Puerto Rico would sever all ties with the United States. 

Nick Rahall

Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall, Opening Statement, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs Legislative Hearing, March 22, 2007, p. 10.  In going back to the 1970s, at least 40 separate measures have been introduced in Congress to resolve or clarify Puerto Rico’s political status.  In addition, Congress has held at least 10 hearings, and four measures… Read more »

Richard Thornburgh

Richard Thornburgh, Attorney General, Statement before the Senate Energy Committee, February 7, 1991, pp. 188-89.  The administration’s goal is to assist in providing a fair and just vehicle through which the Puerto Rican people can express their will.

Edward S.G. Dennis

Edward S.G. Dennis, Acting Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Testimony before the Senate Energy Committee, July 11, 1989, p. 18.   So long as Puerto Rico remains under the sovereignty of the United States, it is essential that this fact be made clear beyond peradventure.  Any statements that the island is autonomous . . …. Read more »

Mary V. Mochary

Mary V. Mochary, Department of State Principal Deputy Legal Adviser, Testimony before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, July 11, 1989, pp. 153-155.  The proposal for an enhanced commonwealth . . . would create an unprecedented political status for Puerto Rico.  It would grant to Puerto Rico significant attributes of sovereignty which would be… Read more »

Robert Dalton

Robert Dalton, Assistant Legal Advisor for Treaty Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Oral Testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee and Written Testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee, October 4, 2000, pp. 19-21.  We are concerned about the foreign relations aspect of the [Enhanced Commonwealth proposal], particularly the proposed provisions regarding Puerto Rico’s ability to enter… Read more »

Jeffrey L. Farrow

Jeffrey L. Farrow, Co-Chair of President Clinton’s Interagency Group on Puerto Rico, Testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee, October 4, 2000, p. 15-16.  Although it is called a commonwealth proposal, it is for a very different governing arrangement than the present one.  It is also different from the commonwealth in the only other status… Read more »

Rep. Don Young

Rep. Don Young (R-AK), House Floor Statement upon the Introduction of H. Con. Res. 300, Expressing the Sense of Congress Regarding the Commonwealth Option Presented in the Puerto Rican Plebiscite, Friday, Sept. 30, 1994.  [On the November 14, 1993 plebiscite ballot], [t]he people were presented a mythical commonwealth option which proposed significant changes to the… Read more »