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View from a Veteran for the June 24 Congressional Hearing on Status

This is a guest post by Dennis O. Freytes

Honorable Members of the US House Natural Resources Sub-Committee and other American patriots: My name is Colonel Dennis Freytes. I’m a statutory born U.S. Citizen (with an un-permanent US Citizenship); a patriotic American Veteran, U.S. Army Retired- former Commander of Infantry, Special Forces, Airborne and other units in worldwide defense of our noble U.S. flag and humanity; now serving as a Community Servant Leader for the good of all.

The June 24 hearings on the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico status are vital to advance liberty and justice:

  • Equal and fair application of the U.S. Constitution weighing more the Amendments/ Bill of Rights of a U.S. citizen (which the Constitution serves)–over the conflicting outdated Territorial Clause that focuses on the federally undemocratic control of U.S. property and people.
  • Ensuring the essence of our representative democracy through “Consent of the Governed” with protected individual civil rights for all under US jurisdiction, preventing a tyranny of a majority.
  • Equal treatment under just laws by ending second class U.S. citizenship and Puerto Rico’s 117 years federally undemocratic territorial status.

“Canto claro como un Gallo de Manati!”

I write on behalf of my parents, and millions of other statutory second class US Citizens. My mother, Gloria E. Gonzalez Marrero, worked hard as a teacher and social worker; my Father, Celio Freytes Menendez, is a combat war veteran who fought with the famed U.S. 65th Infantry Regiment (Borinqueneers) from Puerto Rico. These hardworking and loyal American citizen patriots are among millions of who live in the archaic U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. They paid their dues, and deserve all rights of equal US Citizenship, including a vote to end the territorial status!

President Obama and many Democrats and Republicans preach equal individual civil rights, say that all U.S. citizens should have the right to vote, call for “the consent of the Governed,” and stand for a fair, non-discriminatory, “We the People” constitution under our noble American flag.

Yet Federal Government hypocrisy has reigned for over 117 years. How can America be a just representative democracy when millions of its loyal citizens, including American veterans, can’t vote for their President and Head of State, don’t have fair representation in the U.S. Congress that determines their destiny, don’t receive full benefits or entitlements (that have been fully paid) as other U.S. citizens, and don’t have a permanent U.S. citizenship?

The Federal Government controls Puerto Rico, under the undemocratic, outdated Territorial Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This control includes the economy/market, currency, security, borders, shipping, taxes, benefits, oversight of all local laws; the Congress can even cede Puerto Rico to another nation. Plus, Puerto Rico has no power in Congress and has only one Resident Commissioner (without a vote) that represents millions of U.S. citizens, doing the job of 6 U.S. Representatives and 2 U.S. Senators!

Millions of patriots of true grit are up in arms because the Federal Government desperately treats American Hispanics — loyal Puerto Rican US Citizens subjugated under the will of Congress — by denying full civil rights and discriminating in many Federal programs, like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and SSI funding for the poor,where Puerto Ricans pay fully and receive less than the States.

Also, it excludes Puerto Rico from Federal Code 9-Debt Restructure (which all States have) and yet doesn’t exempt Puerto Rico from the 1920 Jones Act (monopolized Shipping Law) that hurts Puerto Rico’s economy and the macro U.S. economy. The Feds must be fair: help, not sink, Puerto Rico!

This un-American wrong (discrimination against Hispanics/Puerto Ricans) strikes at the soul and essence of our evolved constitutional U.S. representative democracy, which we now own. We demand “Consent of the Governed” with protected individual civil rights for all!

Besides, the Puerto Rican U.S. citizens voted to end the territorial status in November 2012. The results:

  • End Territorial Status: 54% (958,915)
  • Statehood: 61+% (824,195)
  • Independence 5% (74,812)-(Independence has never received more than 5% in the past)
  • Total Voted: 78+%

The plebiscite results were clear: a non-territorial status through Statehood won as duly ratified by Puerto Rico’s Elections Commission…Puerto Ricans cherish their U.S. Citizenship!

Let’s advocate, illuminate the truth, and stand up for a just cause. Don’t fall trapped to political excuses, distortion, generalizations, speculation, or stonewalling by close-minded closet chauvinists, or support actions that leads to impasse that results in voter segregation of loyal U.S. citizens. Don’t abet discrimination!

The Federal Government must respect the local vote of its U.S. citizens residing in Puerto Rico, do Right, and stop institutional discrimination!

Take action:

  • Pass (on a non-partisan basis) H.R. 727, the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Process Act— STATEHOOD: YES or NO. This bill has over 108 Congressional Co-Sponsors, but US Senate Sponsors are needed to support equal U.S. citizenship.
  • Alternative–the Federal Government conducts a sanctioned referendum between constitutionally defined non-territorial Options: Statehood vs. Independence
  • Puerto Rico will keep its own Boricua identity and have sovereignty like other States upon becoming a full and equal member of the “Union of States” of our noble United States.

3 thoughts on “View from a Veteran for the June 24 Congressional Hearing on Status”

  1. Great letter Col. Freytes … I greatly admired your work in the Borinqueneers Gold Medal campaign as well!

    I also strongly support your statehood vs independence referendum proposal. I don’t understand why Pierluisi dident go that route.

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