Congressman Pedro Pierluisi made a statement to the U.S. Congress this week to explain the upcoming plebiscite in Puerto Rico. The ballot will begin with the simple question of whether Puerto Rico should continue in its present status or not.
The second question gives Puerto Ricans a choice among three governmental options which have been accepted by the U.S. government as valid options:
- free association
Previous plebiscites have sometimes included proposals that were rejected by the White House and the Congress.
“True self-determination is a choice among options that can be implemented, not an exercise in wishful thinking,” said Pierluisi.
If the majority vote against the status quo but there is no clear majority in the choice of governmental option, there will not automatically be a change in status for Puerto Rico.
Pierluisi expressed confidence that Congress would “respect the choice made by their fellow American citizens if they express a clear desire to change the island’s status.”
Pierluisi said that independence and Free Association were “worthy options,” but that he felt they would threaten U.S. citizenship and support for Puerto Ricans.
“We should aspire to perfect our union, not to sever it,” Pierluisi said. “Statehood…would deliver to Puerto Rico what all free people deserve: full voting rights, full self government, and full equality under the law.”