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Commonwealthers Asked for Vote on Statehood They Now Oppose

Puerto Rico ‘commonwealthers’ quickly opposed the bill by 35 U.S. House of Representatives members Wednesday for a referendum on statehood and a transition to the status if Puerto Ricans vote for it.

For example, the “commonwealth” party’s most reliable spokeswoman in the House, Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), said that the bill, which provides for a ‘Statehood: Yes or No’ referendum, “fabricates a superficial majority in favor of statehood.” (She did not explain how it would ‘fabricate’ a majority for statehood instead ‘fabricating’ a majority against the status.)

But “commonwealth” party leaders repeatedly asked Congress for a statehood referendum bill as recently as three years ago.

At the time, party leaders were opposing a bill for a vote on the islands’ current status and, if a majority opposed it, a choice among various options for the territory. These were statehood, independence, and nationhood in a non-binding association with the U.S. in the bill initially, and the current territory status, popularly — but misleadingly — known as “commonwealth,” as well as the other options in the bill after an amendment.

“Commonwealth” party President Hector Ferrér asked a U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing May 19, 2010 “…why not propose a straight Yes or No vote on statehood?”

Speaking for the party, Ferrér also testified to a U.S. House Natural Resources Committee hearing June 24, 2009, “I propose only one simple plebiscite. Let the people of Puerto Rico decide, Statehood: Yes or No.”

Ferrér was not alone in the party in calling for a Statehood: Yes or No vote like that proposed by the bill introduced in the House Wednesday. “Commonwealth” party Senate Leader Jose Dalmau urged the Natural Resources Committee in the June 2009 hearing “… put in the bill, Statehood: Yes or No … present to the people of Puerto Rico and the Congress, Statehood: Yes or No.”

And current party president Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla is also said to have urged a Statehood: Yes or No vote.

But Ferrér is the only party leader who has publicly stuck with the position since nearly three dozen members of Congress accepted the challenge Wednesday.

Other party leaders — like leaders of all of Puerto Rico’s political status factions — think that support for statehood will increase in the islands if the U.S. Congress clarifies that equality is an option for the territory by authorizing an insular vote on statehood.

A major argument against statehood made by commonwealthers in particular is that a racist United States would never grant statehood to Puerto Rico because of Puerto Ricans’ Hispanic culture. This argument would be shattered if Congress authorizes a vote in Puerto Rico on statehood.

Puerto Rican doubts about the availability of equality within the United States stem from Federal decisions and statements during the first quarter of a century after the United States took Puerto Rico from Spain in 1898. The message was that the territory would not necessarily become a State.

Prior to this, statehood was the clear ultimate status for U.S. territories.

The reason for the statements regarding statehood and Puerto Rico primarily related to the Philippine Islands, however, rather than to Puerto Rico. The United States also took the Philippines (and Guam) from Spain through the Spanish-American War.

Federal officials felt that Filipinos were too different culturally from most Americans at the time to make the Philippines a State. They did not have the same concerns about Puerto Ricans. But they feared that confirming that Puerto Rico could become a State would lead to demands for statehood from the Philippines as well and make it difficult to explain rejecting the Philippines while accepting Puerto Rico.

The Philippines became an independent nation in 1946, during the administration of President Harry S Truman. Truman and every president since has said that statehood is an option for Puerto Rico.

But, although Congress has indirectly agreed and the U.S. House has stated that statehood is an option for Puerto Rico three times, the Congress as a whole has never clearly said so.

Statehood has far more support in Puerto Rico than any of the islands’ other status options. “Commonwealth” party leaders fear that the support will mushroom if Congress as a whole clarifies that statehood is an option for the territory.

0 thoughts on “Commonwealthers Asked for Vote on Statehood They Now Oppose”

  1. Commonwealth supporters and believers have been under the illusion that Congress would never go along with granting Puerto Rico STATEHOOD. Now that this possibility is growing near…you will hear more lies and twisted truths from their leaders (?).


  2. Those are people without a defined position regarding the status of PR, and mentioned individuals that their credibility equals ZERO. They get paid admistering a colony, so being a state will attempt against they wages.

  3. Nydia Velazquez is still a member of the PPD, she does not support statehood but is a member of the House. If she favors Commonwealth why doesn’t she mov back to PR?

  4. Dalmau is pro Independence NOT pro “Commomwealth”. He ran for his party (Puertorrican (Pro)Independence Party or PIP in spanish)as candidate for Governor of the Island in the last election. That is why he favored a Plebiscite of that kind then. I remember he said Statehood will not win the vote in a Plebiscite like that one. That is the reason why He made those expressions public. Those who favor the actual political “status quo” do not want Statehood to win to keep PR being a Colony of the United States of America. As you know we have citizenship and hold passports however we do not vote directly for the President. Our people serve in the Armed Forces many pay federal taxes here (it is ok) and more than half of our population has ALREADY moved to the mainland and the exodus continues with the New Progressive Party (or PNP in spanish) having lost the 2012 elections to the DPP. Our economy is inexorably tied to the Nation’s. Many companies of the mainland have offshoots here…the problem is how the finances are managed. The predecessor of our actual Governor managed to salvage our credit however the new one is not faring well as sadly predicted if his party won as it happened. Please verify better next time with your sources next time. That is all I ask as being born and living here in Puerto Rico. You are read all over remember that and keep it in mind. Whatever happens next will be seen and known certainly to everyone paying attention. Thanks for reading this.

  5. Hypocrites are what “Commonwealthers” are. Their very founder, Luis Munoz Marin, stated clearly,many times, that he was not “pro-American”….. he WAS AMERiCAN !!!!!!Their platform has always been “permanent union with the USA”. Well, what more “permanent union than Statehood? Only Statehood will provide us American Citizens in Puerto Rico with Equality, Dignity, and Sovreignty. Present status is colonial territory, an embarrassment for the USA and we Puertoricans.
    Those hypocrites are shameless and only want to keep on liming their pockets with the $$$$$ that some exceptions granted to this colony mistakenly provide. Statehood will end forever such racketeering.Puerto Rico needs to be the 51st Sovereign State of the USA …… and the USA needs to end this shameful colony.

  6. I am thoroughly ashamed of having as fellow Puerto Ricans persons of the caliber of both Nydia Velazquez and Luis Gutierrez. They are the epitome of hipocresy and cheap politicking. How in heavens name can they justify the enjoyment of full citizenship while it is denied to all the Island residents. In the meanwhile for political purposes and monetary gains they fight for the rights of illegals from foreign countries and political hacks on the Island. What should they be classified as? Miscreants or just “rats”?

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