President Bill Clinton, News Conference in Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, February 16, 2000. Q. [D]o you believe in your heart that Puerto Rico’s colonial status is the root of this problem [the local discontent with Navy bombing and military exercises on the island] or is [it] related to Puerto Ricans’ ambivalence to issues of national security?
A. I think the root of the problem [includes] the unwillingness of the Congress to give a legislatively sanctioned vote to the people to let them determine the status of Puerto Rico….I want the people of Puerto Rico to decide this….I wish they could decide their status. If it were just up to me, if I could sign an Executive order and let them have a sanctioned election, I would do it today.