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Puerto Rico Democratic Party Rejects Proposal by Velazquez, Ocasio-Cortez

The Puerto Rico Democratic Party has come out in opposition to legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress by two Democrats of Puerto Rican heritage who represent areas of New York.

Representatives Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) introduced a self-determination bill for Puerto Rico. In response, they received a letter from the Democratic Party leadership in Puerto Rico.

The letter began with an appreciation for Congresswomen Velazquez and Ocasio-Cortez’s leadership, stating “[w]e commend the fact that you have taken steps to pursue a resolution to Puerto Rico’s centuries-old colonial problem by introducing legislation that addresses this issue. We agree with you that Puerto Rico’s current unequal and undemocratic status is simply unsustainable.”

However, it immediately went on to point out problems with the bill:

  • “Self-determination is a democratic process by which the people determine their own future political status. The proposed legislation allows a group of delegates to decide and impose an option. In a democracy, we should trust the people to make their own decisions rather than rely on a selected few to decide for the people.”
  • “The proposed bill ignores the most recent electoral events of self-determination, held in Puerto Rico in 2012 and 2017, whose legal and constitutional legitimacy have never been challenged in court.”
  • “In the end, the proposed bill creates a convoluted process which would ultimately delay a status resolution, as Congress would not have any commitment to act on the results, thus perpetuating current unincorporated territorial status.”
  • “The proposed legislation fails to establish clear timelines for approval of a status option by the Delegates to the Convention, a subsequent referendum for the people to vote on that option, or even for Congress to act upon those results.” In fact, the bill calls for annual reports, a clear indication that it is expected and intended to usher in a lengthy process.
  • “Many on the island fear that this vehicle would allow those who, knowing that their preferred option would not have majority support in a referendum or those who want to offer an option that is not constitutionally possible, to use the Status Convention as an instrument to further delay Puerto Ricans’ right to self-determine their future political status.”
  • This bill has no chance of being approved in the current congressional session. Furthermore, Adam Sarvana, spokesperson for the House Committee on Natural Resources, explained to a local newspaper on the island that the upcoming hearing will be used simply as: “…an opportunity to receive expert recommendations on how Puerto Rico’s decolonization process should move forward and how Congress can address this issue.” The implication here is that the bill is presented insincerely, in an effort to avoid the expected YES vote on statehood.

Questioning motivation

This last point is supported by another piece of news included in the letter: “Last week, former Congressman Luis Gutiérrez appeared in a local television show and spoke of a recent conversation had with Rep. Velázquez that raised some eyebrows regarding the alleged real purpose behind filing this bill: “… I spoke to Nydia today… I think they (Rep. Velázquez and Ocasio-Cortez) also did it right now to counter and tell people to vote no on November 3, 2020.”

The vote in question is the planned plebiscite, a yes/no vote on statehood scheduled on election day similar to the votes taken in Alaska and Hawaii before they were admitted as states.

The authors of the letter encouraged Velazquez and Ocasio-Cotrez to support the plebiscite already planned in Puerto Rico. “The one and only mechanism that would allow Puerto Rico to achieve equal treatment under U.S. laws and to enjoy full voting rights is statehood,” they wrote. “Let us be clear, statehood is not a culmination of colonization, but rather a LIBERATION from its century-old chains. Statehood is recognized as a means for a territory to reach full measure of self-government and equality, as provided by the U.S. Constitution and by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV) of 1960.”

They continued, “We urge you to encourage voter participation in the upcoming referendum called by the elected officials on the island who ran on a platform that guaranteed the people their right to vote to determine their future political status. The upcoming referendum will provide a voice to our people and constitutes a valid form of self-determination.”

Signers of the letter included Charles A. Rodríguez, the Chair of the Democratic Party of Puerto Rico; María “Mayita” Meléndez-Altieri, the National Committeewoman Puerto Rico Democratic National Committee; Johanne Vélez-García, the Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Puerto Rico, Luis Davila-Pernas, the National Committeeman for Puerto Rico of the Democratic National Committee.

Read the full letter.

Updated on September 14, 2020

3 thoughts on “Puerto Rico Democratic Party Rejects Proposal by Velazquez, Ocasio-Cortez”

  1. This is on another issue, I am just wondering when the public is going to demand an official audit of the monies collected and spent just from the autopista system. That system has increased the toll charges, and are now charging in both directions, while eliminating almost all of the toll workers. The amount of money collected has to be in the high millions. Wonder where it is going.Remember, all of the electronic improvement expenses, that eliminated those toll jobs, are tax deductible.

  2. So let’s say you get an Andit? If it proves some Fraud?? Then what? Will. The DOJ follow Up? Or Ok you got your Audit? Does anyone. Follow Up?? Nothing nothing is ever Accomplished! Sheer Rhetoric? Status Que thats way The Island is in Dire STRAITS

  3. –“Silence to discrimination; supports injustice!”—
    *Puerto Rico Status Convention is Deceptive!*
    The US REPs Velazquez and Ocasio proposal for a “Puerto Rico Status Convention” has some deception (is a “Pig with lipstick—Puerca de Juan Bobo”); fails constitutional muster with Options not in the US Constitution; will delay Fair Treatment-Equal Rights for US Territory of Puerto Rico (since 1898-with more US Citizens-American Veterans than 22 States); leaves to Elites a decision the People should directly make! The only Constitutional non-Territorial-Equality options are: Statehood or Independence (without or with a PACT-called “Free Association”).

    The US Congress is not above the US Constitution to relinquish its powers (under the outdated–Federal undemocratic Territorial Clause: 1787 or discriminatory/racist Insular Cases: 1901-1925+); or let Puerto Ricans consider unconstitutional non-territorial Options, like the PPD (Partido Popular Democratico) “ELA-Soberana” (Sovereignty with US Citizenship and Benefits). Also, the PPD and some Others try to cover up that “Free Association” is “Independence” with a Pact; is not a STATUS… A Nation can’t be Independent with the Citizenship of another Nation! (Our US Constitution doesn’t allow it)! A PR Status Convention is a waste of time because it is Congress that determines Puerto Rico’s fate, per the US Constitution, not based on a made-up status…

    FACTS: Puerto Ricans (integrated born US Citizens-American Veterans)– cherish their US Citizenship; have voted in CERTIFIED Plebiscites (that Constitutionally count) for STATEHOOD (2012 & 2017); are against Independence (which only got 2-5% of the vote) in the last 6 Plebiscites; elected a Government for Equality through Statehood…; have made many valuable contributions to our USA, since 1513-when their Ancestors came to the now US—107 years before the Pilgrims; fought in the US Revolutionary War… until Today. Puerto Ricans sacrifice; shed sweat, blood, and tears for our noble US! Plus, Polls (Gallop…) show majority support for Statehood (both in the States and Territory).

    Puerto Ricans want admission to our “UNION of STATES” with– permanent US Citizenship, Benefits and Responsibilities; State—Identity (Boricua traditions, customs, and heritage); Constitution, Flag, and Sovereignty (like other States have). In the US UNION– each State complements/strengthens the others; UNITE for the Good of All!

    FIX: After 122+years of Federal discrimination–All should support Fair Treatment-Equal Rights for ALL “WE THE PEOPLE”; get the Federal Government to provide Puerto Ricans—
    *NOTE: An Alternative: Congressional sanctioned Plebiscite between the only Constitutional non-Territorial Options: Statehood vs Independence (without or with a PACT); not keep providing Excuses that discriminate.

    UNITED with Truth, Reason, Courage, and Civic Action for the Good of ALL!
    Dennis O. Freytes (MPA; MHR; BBA)-Florida Veterans Hall of Fame; Community Servant Leader
    *Velazquez, Ocasio; PPD- try to sell another “Pig with Lipstick”!*
    Velazquez fails to mention her previous support for the PPD (“Partido Popular Democratico”) where they disguised Territory as “Commonwealth” or “ELA-Free Associated State” to fool People as to the true Constitutional Status! Besides, Ocasio has supported PR “Sovereignty” which deceitfully means “Independence” for Puerto Rico (por la cocina).

    The only non-territorially Options, un our US Constitution are—STATEHOOD (keep US Citizenship/Benefits) or INDEPENDENCE (without or with a PACT—can be called Free Association; loss of US Citizenship/Benefits).

    Today, the PPD is again trying to deceive People by its Candidates, for Governor and Resident Commissioner, opting for Puerto Rico “Soberano”/ “Sovereignty” but, without calling it “Independence”; want to keep US Citizenship with benefits… which it is unconstitutional; the Federal Government has rejected.

    Velazquez, Ocasio, and the PPD want to sell another Pig with Lipstick (“Puerca de Juan Bobo”) to fellow US Citizens in the US Territory of Puerto Rico by wanting a PR Status Convention that will further delay Puerto Rican EQUALITY!

    Puerto Ricans are integrated; cherish their US Citizenship; have voted against Independence 6 times (which never receives more than 2-5% of the Vote)! The best OPTION is for the Federal Government to provide Puerto Ricans:

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