Congressman Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR) released the English version of his 2012 Platform today. The 2-page document covers a full range of federal issues, including public safety (drug-related violence/tsunami and flood protection), economic development (taxes/transportation), health (Medicare/Medicaid), education and social justice.
The platform dedicates its final pages to Pierluisi’s support of statehood for Puerto Rico. Turning to the November 2012 status plebiscite, Rep. Pierluisi explains that part of the vote’s significance is that – unlike the 1967, 1993 and 1998 votes – it marks the first time that the ballot will include only those options identified as valid by the federal government.
Pierluisi devotes some of his platform to discussion of the Sovereign Free Associated State option, in which Puerto Rico would become a sovereign nation and that “[a]s with any agreement between sovereign nations, the agreement could be unilaterally terminated by either party – as denoted by the “free” in free association.” The platform emphasizes that residents of the current freely association states of the United States may enter and leave the country without restriction, but they are not U.S. citizens.
Congressman Pierluisi concludes his platform with a discussion of how Puerto Rico would fare better under statehood. In addition to citing numerous federal programs in which Puerto Ricans are disadvantaged, Pierluisi speaks more broadly of the social justice aspects of being a territory.
Speaking to the people of Puerto Rico, Pierluisi writes in his platform, “you have less political power and fewer political rights than the residents of any country in the Western Hemisphere, except for the people of Cuba, who live in a dictatorship. This should make you sad, angry and determined to make a change.”