Concerns about Puerto Rican Statehood

Puerto Rico voted in favor of statehood in November of 2012 and again in June of 2017. Statehood will provide benefits in economics, security, and full democratic rights.

That is not to say that there are no concerns. Here, let’s examine some of the concerns expressed in the media:

  • Redesigning the flag   While this might have been an issue in the past, modern design technology makes the creation of a flag with 51 stars very easy.  Click here to see one possible arrangement for 51 stars.  A new flag could also provide a boost to the economy as millions of new flags are sold — and perhaps the old flags would become collectors’ items.
  • The language question  The United States has no official language.  Puerto Rico lists English as an official language. Spanish is the island’s other official language. If Puerto Rico becomes a state, it could follow the lead of Hawaii and keep two official languages. The United States does not have an official language, but there are people on the mainland who worry that bringing a largely Spanish-speaking state into the Union would cause problems in communication. While some U.S. states currently have 25% Spanish speaking populations, Puerto Rico’s population is about 90% Spanish speaking. At the same time, some Puerto Ricans are concerned that becoming a state will pressure the island to use English more. There is no reliable data on just how many people in the world speak only one language, but one educated guess from Stockholm University is that the average person in the world speaks 1.58 languages. Bilingualism is not a problem; it may soon be the norm.
  • The culture question Since the early 20th century, there has been concern that Puerto Rico is simply too different, culturally, from the rest of the United States. There is a fear that Puerto Rico will be too foreign to be assimilated into the nation overall, or that Puerto Rico’s special cultural identity will be lost. Other territories have prompted the same concerns: Hawaii, Alaska, Utah, Arkansas, Louisiana, Arizona… This has in fact been an issue many times in our history. Looking back now, we generally see the objections of the time as outdated bigotry. The United States has not only managed to assimilate all 50 states thus far, but has also managed to respect and celebrate the diversity of our culture — including the millions of Puerto Ricans now living on the mainland.
  • The welfare question It is possible that there might be some initial costs to the United States in adding Puerto Rico as a state, beyond the taxes Puerto Rico would bring into the government coffers, although it would be possible to mitigate costs though the same legislation that authorizes statehood for Puerto Rico. The examples of history, however, show that impoverished territories that come into the Union do not continue in poverty. Puerto Rico’s resources include good agricultural land, minerals, excellent opportunities for tourism, and an educated population. Without the drawbacks of its current territorial relationship with the United States, Puerto Rico might follow Hawaii’s and Alaska’s examples in prosperity.
  • The Olympics and the Miss Universe pageant Puerto Rico is currently allowed to compete separately in the Olympics and in the Miss Universe pageant, although many Olympic athletes choose to participate through U.S. teams.  Although the entities that govern these contests could theoretically choose to accommodate Puerto Rico separately, they would likely not do so.  Puerto Rico would then participate in these contests as a full member of the United States, building U.S. Olympics teams and enabling all Americans to share in Puerto Rico’s success.
  • Political power Puerto Rico will be entitled to approximately five seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and two in the Senate.  There has been debate over where these seats would come from and which political party would gain power.  The answers to both questions are simply unknown at this time. Congress set the maximum number of seats for itself and could presumably change that. In terms of the balance of power, Puerto Ricans on the mainland have not, however, voted in a predictable block, favoring, for example, Gov. Jeb Bush (R) in Florida while voting for President Obama.  At its core, the Puerto Rico political issue is actually a component of the broader Hispanic political issue:  Republicans will have to make strategic reforms to remain competitive nationwide.

Of these six concerns, which are worrying to you?

One Comment

Dennis O. Freytes

TO: US Congress; US President Obama; US Supreme Court; American Patriots; MEDIA
RE: End 2 Class US Citizenship/ Inequality; Puerto Rico’s Un-Democratic Territorial Status!

The complex US Territory of Puerto Rico’s equal rights quandary, that affects millions, is not only about a “Group” Vote on the status question, but, more important, it’s about protecting individual civil rights in our representative democracy-where the US Citizen should be the epicenter of our Republic, not the US Government’s un-democratic territorial control of the land & People… Join American Patriots to do right; help get the Federal Government to advance our American Democracy; end 2d Class US Citizenship.

Our factual history states: in 1898, the U.S invaded Puerto Rico (PR), as part of the Spanish American War, and forcefully took it as a spoil of combat…made it a US Territory (Colony) that falls under the absolute un-democratic control of the Federal Government (per the *U.S. Constitution Article 4, trite Territorial Clause that states: “The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory…or property belonging to the U.S.”)

In 1917, Congress erred in imposing on PR- a statutory “2d Class US Citizenship” (without all rights responsibilities, & benefits) that doesn’t permit loyal US Citizens (including fighting US Veterans) to vote in Federal elections nor have just representation in the Congress that determines their destiny nor permanent US Citizenship, under our USA Flag–actions that conflicts with the spirit of our democracy; constitutional amendments!

During 1901-1922, the “Insular Cases” were decided by Federal Courts- that wrongly interpreted the US Constitution in shaping PR’s un-democratic political relationship and 2d Class US Citizenship; stated Balzac– the US Constitution did not apply equally to all US Citizens in the un-incorporated Territory… (“…because of different origin and language …”; couldn’t govern themselves…– which is bigotry…).

This iconic American Hispanic Civil Rights issue that strikes at the Soul of our Democracy-“consent of the governed”– has not received the National attention it merits! But, now we must be fair; soar above political rhetoric, demagoguery, lies, misinformation, excuses…; educate the gullible and all on the truth; advance our democracy; ensure equality; break Puerto Rico’s trite Territorial un-democratic shackles.

President Obama said: “We commit to moving the resolution of the status issue forward with the goal of resolving it expeditiously.” Well, now it’s time for bold leadership! We must ensure the Equality Dream of our beloved Dr. Martin Luther King comes true; apply the US Constitution equally-protect all US Citizen’s individual civil rights no matter where they reside under our gran Flag!

A representative Government should serve the People, not be their Master; unfairly subjugate them with no right to just representation in Congress. There is no true democracy without equal representation; protected individual civil rights. We must end political oppression with truth & fairness (no political rhetoric, distortion or spin)! Even if one US Citizen can’t Vote…it is one too many!

Per US Constitution–PR can only be: a State or Territory under the sovereignty of the US. Besides, the only two Non-Territorial Statuses are: Statehood or Independence, period. We need to stop using, when referring to PR’s Status: “Commonwealth” or as translated in Spanish-ELA (Free Associated State) because these are terms not found in the US Constitution that distort the truth and fool People. They are esoteric political names for a local government allowed under the will of Congress.

PR held an internal plebiscite (Nov. 2012). About 78%+ voted–resulting: 54% (958,915) want to end the current Territorial Status (ELA-Free Associated State)…; 61+% (824,195) voted for Statehood; and only 5.55% (74,812) for total Independence. (ELA Soberano-which wasn’t properly defined- got 33%).

However, the political cover-up, misinformation, and misinterpretation of the results have begun; some are trying to discredit a democratic Plebiscite where everyone had the opportunity and duty to vote; the results are clear (even if some Voters left some questions in blank… The Governor got elected with 47%): a Non-Territorial Status through Statehood won! The democratic vote must be respected!

After 115 years of non-action, the Federal Government must not obfuscate nor provide discriminatory excuses, but, educate, and promptly intervene to protect all individual civil rights; end an un-democratic Federal Territorial Status that goes against the grain of our American democracy; start the transition process (which should not take more than 3-5 years) to admit Puerto Rico as the 51st State of our Union or conduct a sanction Federal Plebiscite between only Non-Territorial Options (Statehood or Independence.)

In the final analysis, the duty of the Federal Government (Congress) is to: end political subjugation through a non-territorial self-determined Plebiscite with constitutionally defined Options that don’t distort the truth or fool People; let all that have “standing” Vote (born in PR with nonpermanent US Citizenship). Honest PR Plebiscite option definitions are:
3. Statehood allows: US Constitution; permanent US Citizenship-all rights, responsibilities & benefits; State Sovereignty and Identity…
4. Independence allows: PR Sovereignty; PR Constitution; PR Citizenship; ends protection and full benefits of US Constitution…
• Associate Independence (Free Association/ ELA Soberana)…is a form of Independence with Pact. It should be carefully explained (…with PR Citizenship, PR Constitution…)
• Remember: A Nation can’t be sovereign or enact a pact when under the loyalty, Citizenship & Constitution of another Nation.
• A Pact can contain certain benefits, but, it comes with responsibilities; ceding of certain sovereign rights until the Pact is terminated by either side; with no opportunity for Statehood/ permanent US Citizenship.
*The undemocratic US Territory Option should not be in play because it contains a repressive statutory 2d Class US Citizenship (no vote/just representation) that Puerto Ricans rejected; and conflicts with equal civil rights amendments of the US Constitution; runs against the heart of our representative democracy…But, if it is to be an option, use a constitutional definition not Commonwealth or ELA:
3. US Territory: Limited un-permanent US Citizenship under the will of Congress (no right to vote in Federal Elections; have just Representation in Congress); un-equal application of the US Constitution; no State Sovereignty…, but, Congress will continue allowing a local Government under the Territorial Clause that states…

Besides, the Federal Government/Justice Department should move to overturn the US Supreme Court Balzac decision (1922) which is to US Citizens in Puerto Rico what Plessy v. Ferguson (“separate but equal” doctrine) was to African Americans before Brown v. Board of Education. Let’s not be incongruent-the US Constitution should equally apply to all US Citizens residing in PR; under our grand USA Flag! If not, there is discrimination; voter segregation…– no Federal consent of the governed!

We must overcome the un-fair oppressive tactics of the misinformed, closet bigots… hidden agendas; not discriminate or provide poor age old excuses (consensus, language…) to keep PR an un-democratic US Territory. We are dealing with born US Citizens… More Spanish is spoken in the States than in Puerto Rico or Spain! (US is the 2d largest Spanish Nation in the World.)

Puerto Ricans are born US Citizens-the 2d largest American Hispanic segment of our US population- about 9 million strong with most residing in the States (5m) & 4m in PR– whose Ancestors (roots/ heritage) led to the discovery of Florida; brought advance civilization (of the times), Christianity, Horses, Cattle, Pigs… to the settlement of the USA– 107 years before the Pilgrims landed… Plus, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Cubans fought together in the US War of Independence with General George Washington.

Puerto Rico (with more population than 24 States) is the oldest Territory in US History; has bravely defended the US Flag (since 1898) to include the US 65th Infantry Regiment (Borinqueneers) that suffered segregation, discrimination, and un-equal US Citizenship, yet, bravely fought for all of us. Its Colors were passed to the PR National Guard which is serving, along with other Patriots from PR, in the Global War on Terrorism. They loyally sacrifice; fight… shed blood in defending the US–for the good of all.

NOTE: General of the Armies (5 Stars) Douglas MacArthur once said: “…the Puerto Ricans…of the gallant 65th Infantry on the battlefields of Korea by valor, determination and a resolute will to victory give daily testament to their invincible loyalty to the United States…They write a brilliant record of achievement in battle and I am proud indeed to have them in this command. I wish that we might have many more like them!”

PR is a valuable US Territory, with an educated work force, that serves, among other things, as a unique open market that fuels about one million American jobs; buys $20.4 billion in US Goods & Services; is the US world’s eighth trading partner and 4th largest purchaser of goods, an important defense outpost, a big pool for military personnel…; buys more products from the U.S. mainland than many larger countries such as Italy, Russia or China; is a pharmaceutical, Microsoft Computer Programs…center of Excellence!

Our Nation is formed by the union of States (focused on Equality, Justice, Liberty…for all)-with own State sovereignty, identity, uniqueness, diversity… US Citizens in PR, like other States, are a very complex group of people that are legally born US Citizens- part of our US multi-ethnic and beautiful “Tapestry” of vibrant colors that is united and bonded together by common values and purpose for the good of all. They are very proud of their roots, linage, and heritage as part of the shared macro Western culture. Plus, as most enlighten US Citizens, they believe in: God, love, truth, fairness, justice…; are hard workers, family oriented; community servants…– US values engrained!

Abraham Lincoln & Martin Luther King (which stood for a government of the People and equality) would be appalled at this wrongful status of affairs! US President Regan said: it was an “un-natural” state (favored statehood); is among other US Presidents, Gov. Jeb Bush, Rep. Serrano, Attorney General Thornburg…and Others that favor ending a 2d Class US Citizenship; un-democratic Territorial Status.

The original Territorial Clause was written in another era…when the founding Fathers (with no Women, Blacks, or Hispanics participation; some had slaves…) were more focused on uniting sovereign States…forming a representative democracy under a Federal Government…, organizing the boundaries of the US… not on an equal US Citizenship. But, our democracy has evolved with its amendments! Today, US Citizenship equality (per the US Constitution’s Amendments/Bill of Rights) is more important.

We now own our Constitution; not our fore Fathers! If there are constitutional contradictions–conflict between the old un-democratic Territorial clause (land domain laws) and the Bill of Rights and other amendments, the Federal Courts should favor individual civil rights…; ensure the US Citizen is the focus of our democracy…Plus, the 14th Amendment states that you are a US Citizen if you are born in a State or Naturalized… The only Status that can guarantee an equal and permanent US Citizenship is Statehood.

My Father (Celio Freytes Menendez) and Mother (Gloria E. Gonzalez Marrero) asked me to take on this righteous quest that affects millions of 2d Class US Citizens– that want to have equal civil rights as other Citizens do. My Father has the Combat Infantryman’s Badge-with star (World War II & Korea); fought with the Hispanic segregated US 65th Infantry (The Borinqueneers). My Mother was a Teacher and Social Worker. They deserve better treatment! On their behalf, and millions of other patriotic loyal US Citizens— join me in this just cause!

“Canto claro-como Gallo de Manati”: Individual Civil Rights are totemic to our democracy; must be protected against “Federal political oppression” or like former US Patriots said, the “tyranny of a majority”! Territories are undemocratic dinosaurs of our trite colonial past! Congress with truth, fairness, & justice must promptly do right: ensure equal US Citizenship; admit the US Territory of Puerto Rico as the 51st State of the Union or give them Independence!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.