Self Determination for Puerto Rico

Statements by National, State and Grassroots Leaders on the Need to Honor Self Determination for Puerto Rico

The obligation of the United States to honor a Puerto Rican status choice has been recognized many, many times over the years, from presidents of the United States to local veterans groups, whose members historically stood together with their fellow soldiers from Puerto Rico in demanding equal treatment under the laws that protect the freedom they fight for around the world.  State legislators and city councils have endorsed statements of support for Puerto Rican self determination, and Hispanic groups across the county have shown support for Puerto Rico.


United States Presidents

President William Jefferson Clinton

  • Executive Order 13183, Establishment of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status, December 23, 2000.
  • News Conference February 16, 2000.

President George H.W. Bush

President Ronald Reagan

President Jimmy Carter, State of the Union Address, 1981

President Gerald Ford, Letter to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate Submitting Proposed Puerto Rico Statehood Legislation, January 14, 1977.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the First Meeting of the United States-Puerto Rico Commission on the Status of Puerto Rico, June 9, 1964.

President John F. Kennedy, White House Statement on Proposed Legislation on the Relationship Between the United States and Puerto Rico, May 20, 1963

Other Executive Branch Statements

Report by The President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status, December 2007, pp. 5-6.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, Memorandum to Belize Embassy concerning “possible Puerto Rican Requests for Recognition,”  May 16, 2003

Jeffrey L. Farrow, Co-Chair of President Clinton’s Interagency Group on Puerto Rico.

Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, Statement before the Senate Energy Committee, February 7, 1991, pp. 188-89.

Acting Deputy Attorney General Edward S. G. Dennis, Department of Justice, Statement before the Senate Energy Committee, July 11, 1989, p. 22.

Former Executive Branch Officials

Attorney General and Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh, Puerto Rico’s Future:  A Time to Decide, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2007, pp. 5-6.

Attorney General and Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh, as quoted by Pedro Rosselló, Governor of Puerto Rico, Testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, May 6, 1999.

Ambassador Fred M. Zeder, President Ford’s Director of Territorial Affairs and President Reagan’s Personal Representative for Micronesian Status Negotiations  and chief negotiator of the historic compact of Free Association.

International Treaties

Treaty of Peace, Kingdom of Spain and the United States of America, upon the transferring of Puerto Rico from Spain to U.S. sovereignty, December 10, 1898, Article IX.

Political Party Platforms

Democratic National Platforms

Republican National Platforms

 

Legislative Branch Resources

Congressional Research Service, Political Status of Puerto Rico:  Options for Congress, May 29, 2008, pp. 20 and 25.

 

United States Congress

Committee on Natural Resources Report, Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2007 (H.R. 900), Report No. 110-597, April 22, 2008, pp. 5, 9 and 11.

Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY), Statement, House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs Legislative Hearing, March 22, 2007, p. 15.

Representative Don Young (R-AK), Statement, House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs Legislative Hearing, March 22, 2007, p. 55.

Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall, Opening Statement, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs Legislative Hearing, March 22, 2007, p. 10.

Chairwoman Donna M. Christensen (D-VI), Opening Statement, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs Legislative Hearing, March 22, 2007, p.2.

Congressman Jerry Weller (R-IL), Statement, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs Legislative Hearing, March 22, 2007, p. 16.

Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL), Statement before the Senate Energy Committee, November 15, 2006, p. 3.

Statement by Rep. Robert Underwood (D-GU), Statement before the House Natural Resources Committee, October 4, 2000, p. 32.

Chairmen Don Young (R-AK, Resources Committee), Ben Gilman (R-NY, International Relations Committee), Elton Gallegly (R-CA, Subcommittee on Native American and Insular Affairs) and Dan Burton (R-IN, Western Hemisphere Subcommittee), letter to Hon. Charlie Rodriguez, President, Senate of Puerto Rico and Honorable Edison Misla-Aldarondo, Speaker, Puerto Rico House of Representatives, April 5, 2000, as printed in the Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report, Political Status of Puerto Rico:  Options for Congress, May 29, 2008, p. 13.

Report by Chairman Don Young and Senior Democratic Member George Miller,The Results of the 1998 Puerto Rico Plebiscite,Committee on Resources, Serial No. 106-A, November 19, 1999, pp. 6-7.

Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), Statement before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, May 6, 1999.

Senate Resolution 279 (105th Congress), passed by unanimous consent on September 17, 1998

Statements Regarding Senate Floor consideration of S. Res. 279: Expressing the Sense of the Senate supporting the right of the U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico to express their desires regarding their future political status. (Quoted in “Congress Has an Obligation…”)

  • Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), Senate Floor consideration of S. Res. 279, September 17, 1998, Congressional Record, pages S10501-2.
  • Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), Senate Floor consideration of S. Res. 279, September 17, 1998, Congressional Record, page S10502.
  • Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), Senate Floor consideration of S. Res. 279, September 17, 1998, Congressional Record, page S10502.
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senate Floor consideration of S. Res. 279, September 17, 1998, Congressional Record, page S10505.
  • Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-AK), Senate Floor consideration of S. Res. 279, September 17, 1998, Congressional Record, page S10506.

The United States-Puerto-Rico Political Status Act (HR 856), as passed by the House of Representatives on March 4, 1998.

House Floor Debate on H.R. 856, United States Puerto Rico Political Status Act, March 4, 1998. (excerpts)

  • Representative Joe Moakley (D-MA), House Floor  Debate on H.R. 856, United States-Puerto Rico Political Status Act, March 4, 1998, Congressional Record, p. H765.
  • Rep. Jose Serrano, House Floor  Debate on H.R. 856, United States Puerto Rico Political Status Act, March 4, 1998, Congressional Record, p. H766.
  • Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), House Floor  Debate on H.R. 856, United States Puerto Rico Political Status Act, March 4, 1998, Congressional Record, p. H770.
  • Rep. Don Young (R-AK), House Floor  Debate on H.R. 856, United States Puerto Rico Political Status Act, March 4, 1998, Congressional Record, p. H774.
  • Rep. George Miller (D-CA), House Floor  Debate on H.R. 856, United States Puerto Rico Political Status Act, March 4, 1998, Congressional Record, p. H774.
  • Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO), House Floor  Debate on H.R. 856, United States- Puerto Rico Political Status Act, March 4, 1998, Congressional Record, p. H781.
  • Rep. Robert Underwood (D-GU), House Floor  Debate on H.R. 856, United States Puerto Rico Political Status Act, March 4, 1998, Congressional Record, p. H781.
  • Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Floor  Debate on H.R. 856, United States-Puerto Rico Political Status Act, March 4, 1998, Congressional Record, pp. H781-82.
  • Rep. Al Wynn (D-MD), House Floor  Debate on H.R. 856, United States Puerto Rico Political Status Act, March 4, 1998, page H782.
  • Rep. Peter Deutsch (D-FL), House Floor  Debate on H.R. 856, United States Puerto Rico Political Status Act, March 4, 1998, Congressional Record, p. H783.
  • Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), House Floor  Debate on H.R. 856, United States Puerto Rico Political Status Act, March 4, 1998, p. H785.
  • Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS), House Floor  Debate on H.R. 856, United States Puerto Rico Political Status Act, March 4, 1998, p. H785.
  • Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), House Floor  Debate on H.R. 856, United States Puerto Rico Political Status Act, March 4, 1998, page H786.

Committee on Resources Report on the United States-Puerto Rico Political Status Act (HR 856), June 12, 1997, Report Number 105-131, Part 1, pp. 10-12, 20-21, and 25.

Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), Committee on Resources Testimony, March 19, 1997, p. 19. (excerpt)

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), Statement, Committee on Resources, March 19, 1997, p. 80.

Committee on Resources Chairman Don Young and Ranking Member George Miller, Letter to Leaders of Each Political Party in Puerto Rico, February 27, 1997 (as contained in a Committee on Resources press release, March 3, 1997, and inserted in Resources Committee Hearing Transcript, March 29, 1997). (excerpt)

Chairman Don Young (R-AK), Committee on Resources Press Release, February 26, 1997. (excerpt)

Committee on Resources Oversight Plan for the 105th Congress, Adopted February 5, 1997. (excerpt)

Chairman Don Young (R-AK) letter to President William Jefferson Clinton, December 11, 1996.

Representative Don Young (R-AK), House Floor  Remarks, March 6, 1996, Congressional Record, p. E299. (p.3 of linked document)

Rep. Don Young (R-AK, Chair, Resources Committee), Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA, Chair, Subcommittee on Native American and Insular Affairs), Rep. Ben Gilman (R-NY, Chair, International Relations Committee), and Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN, Chair, Western Hemisphere Committee) letter to The Honorable Roberto Rexach-Benitez, President of the Puerto Rican Senate and The Honorable Zaida Hernandez-Torres, Speaker of the Puerto Rican House, February 29, 1996.

Representatives Robert Torricelli (D-NJ), Lee Hamilton (R-NY), Bill Richardson (D-NM) and Dan Kildee (D-MI) letter to Senator Charlie Rodriquez, Majority Leader, Puerto Rico Senate, June 28, 1996. (excerpt)

Sen. Paul Simon (D-IL), Senate Floor Statement upon the Introduction of S. Con. Res. 75, Relating to the Commonwealth Option in Puerto Rico, September 30, 1994. (full text)

Rep. Don Young (R-AL), House Floor Statement upon the Introduction of H. Con. Res. 300, Expressing the Sense of Congress Regarding the Commonwealth Option Presented in the Puerto Rican Plebiscite, Friday, Sept. 30, 1994.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), Senate Energy Committee hearing, January 30, 1991, p. 104. (excerpt)

Sen. James A. McClure (R-ID), Statement before the Senate Energy Committee, July 13, 1989, p. 226. (excerpt)

Legal Scholars

The Honorable Juan R. Torruella, United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, “The Insular Cases:  The Establishment of a Regime of Political Apartheid,” University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Winter, 2007, vol. 29, p. 346.

Thomas C. Goldstein, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and  Instructor of Supreme Court litigation at Harvard and Stanford Law Schools, Testimony before the House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, March 22, 2007, pp. 4 and 8.

State Executives

Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) Proclamation, March 1, 2004.

National Governors’ Association Policy:  Political Self-Determination for Puerto Rico; Winter Meeting, 1997. (excerpt)

State Legislatures

New Mexico Legislature, Senate Joint Memorial No. 34; 2004. (full text)

Florida Senate Memorial No. 1360; 2003. (full text)

Texas House Concurrent Resolution No. 199; 2003. (full text)

Wisconsin General Assembly Resolution No. 46; November 2001. (full text)

California Senate Joint Resolution No. 21; July 2001. (full text)

New York State Assembly, Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, Letter to Chairman Dan Burton, House Committee on Government Reform, September 20, 1999. (full text)

City Council and County Resolutions

Oakland, California City Council,  September 28, 1999. (full text)

San Francisco, California, City and County,  1999. (full text)

Austin, Texas City Council,  January 15, 1998. (full text)

Hispanic Organizations

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund  (MALDEF), Letter to Representative Luis Fortuño (R-PR), March 27, 2007 (full text)

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). (full text)

  •  Resolution: Equal Rights for Puerto Ricans, July 1, 2006.
    • Belen B. Robles, National President, League of United Latin American citizens (LULAC), Testimony before the House Committee on Resources, April 21, 1997, pp. 65-66.

Hispanic National Bar Association Resolution, January 31, 2004. (full text)

Puerto Rican Professional Association of South Florida (PROFESA) Resolution, 2001. (full text)

Hispanic Coalition for Puerto Rican Self-Determination, Declaration of Hispanic Organizations in Support of Puerto Rican Self-Determination, Published September 16, 1998. (full text)

The Americas Foundation, Resolution in Support of the Enactment of Federal Legislation Providing for a Congressional Mandated Process Leading Toward Self-Determination for Puerto Rico, November 19, 1997. (full text)

The Cuban American National Foundation, letter to the Republican National Committee (RNC), October 29, 1997. (full text)

Greater New York Hispanic Republican Council, Resolution in Support of Legislation Providing for a Congressionally Mandated Self-Determination Process for Puerto Rico,  October 7, 1997. (full text)

Republican National Hispanic Assembly. (full text)

  • A Resolution in Support of Legislation Providing for a Congressionally Mandated Self-Determination Process for Puerto Rico, April 26, 1997.
  • A Resolution Presented by the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Virginia, 1997.
  • Chairman José Rivera Letter to Rep. Richard K. Armey, July 15, 1997.

Veterans Organizations

Vietnam Veterans of America, Resolution, August 2, 2003. (full text)

The American Legion, Resolution, 2003. (full text)

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Resolution No. 432, August, 2002. (full text)

American GI Forum of the United States, Resolution, August 11, 2000 (full text)

American GI Forum, Puerto Rico Chapter, Resolution, July 5, 2000. (full text)

Other Organizations

B’nai B’rith, International President Tommy Baer, Letter to Governor Pedro Rossello, November 7, 1997. (full text)

The Young Republican National Federation, A Resolution in Support of Legislation by the Congressional Republican Leadership Providing a Self-Determination Process for Puerto Rico, July 11, 1997. (full text)

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