LGF: Doing What is Right for Puerto Rico and the Nation

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/opinion/2013/02/20/luis-fortuno-doing-what-is-right-for-puerto-rico-and-nation.

Luis Fortuño: Doing What is Right for Puerto Rico and the Nation

By 

Published February 20, 2013

Fox News Latino

  • Obama-Puerto-Rico-VisitThe year that the next president of the United States takes office will mark the centennial of Puerto Ricans being a part of our nation as citizens. But after 24 presidential elections and 17 presidents, the American citizens of Puerto Rico are still waiting to cast their first ballot in a presidential election or have proportional and voting representation in Congress.

Because Puerto Rico is a possession of the United States, the Constitution’s Territory Clause gives Congress ample power to legislate over the island. Ending the anomaly of depriving a community of American citizens of the most basic political rights will require not only action from Congress, but also principled leadership from the president.

The major advances that Puerto Rico has made in its slow progress toward full self-government within the union did not result from sudden initiatives in Congress but reflected the policies of each administration. In 1898, President McKinley declared war against Spain and ordered the occupation of Puerto Rico. Woodrow Wilson asserted in 1916 that favorable Senate action on the bill that would confer American citizenship to the residents of the Island was a matter of “capital importance.”

He followed the policy of Theodore Roosevelt who recommended that Puerto Ricans be made U.S. citizens. Harry Truman brought about legislation to make the governorship of Puerto Rico an elected office beginning in 1948. He also pursued that the people of Puerto Rico adopt a constitution which, according to President Truman, “will virtually put them on a statehood basis, except they won’t have two Senators and Representatives in the Congress.” It became effective in 1952.

Other presidents have taken a keen interest in the civil rights of the American citizens of Puerto Rico.

Gerald Ford proposed “that the people of Puerto Rico and the Congress of the United States begin now to take those steps which will result in statehood for Puerto Rico.” Ronald Reagan thought that the president should “take the lead in persuading the people of Puerto Rico” and all Americans “that statehood would be good for all of us.”

Moreover, during his first State of the Union address, George H.W. Bush, while expressing that he favored statehood, asked “Congress to take the necessary steps to let the people decide in a referendum.”

However, for too many years people at the Hill and the White House have stated that it is up to the people of Puerto Rico to seek a change in the island’s political status, as if our Constitution sanctioned the consent of citizens to subordination and inequality.

With the plebiscite held on November 6, 2012, the American citizens of Puerto Rico withdrew any plausible consent to Congress ruling over the island by virtue of the Constitution’s Territory Clause.

The ballot had two questions. Voters were first asked if they wanted Puerto Rico to remain a territory. Of 1.8 million voters, 54 percent said they do not want the current status to continue. Voters were then asked to express their preference among the non-territorial status options.

Of the 1.4 million people who chose an option, 61 percent voted for statehood. Moreover, the total number of votes for statehood on the second question exceeded the number of votes for the current status on the first question. Clearly, more people want Puerto Rico to be a state than to continue as a territory.

The choice of the people of Puerto Rico deserves action. But ultimately, we as a nation must decide if our Constitution recognizes the same rights to all Americans. The answer was “yes” when the Civil War was fought to end slavery, when women were recognized the right to vote, and when the Supreme Court decided that separate was not equal. And the answer should be clearly and unequivocally the same for the American citizens of Puerto Rico.

Our forefathers never envisioned that the United States would keep territories indefinitely, as imperial powers sought to keep colonies, thereby denying fundamental rights to some citizens.

Given the intent of the framers of the Constitution, the residents of Puerto Rico must either preserve their American citizenship with all its rights and obligations under statehood or renounce it to govern themselves separately as a nation. There is no provision in the Constitution for second-class American citizenship.

Whether the centennial of the American citizenship of the residents of Puerto Rico is cause for national celebration or embarrassment may depend on the stance taken by the President. Puerto Rico’s territorial status is morally wrong and constitutionally unacceptable. Bringing it to and end will require principled leadership and the ability to work with Congress.

The residents of Puerto Rico have already endured 95 years of unequal citizenship. But it is never too late to do what is right.

Luis Fortuño served as the 10th Governor of Puerto Rico.

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22 de febrero de 2013

Fortuño alega debate de status necesita liderazgo de la Casa Blanca

Publica un artículo de opinión

Fortuño es presidente del comité de status del Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP), delegado ante el Partido Republicano y socio del bufete Steptoe & Johnson, en un artículo de opinión en FoxNewsLatino. (Archivo)

Por ELNUEVODIA.COM

WASHINGTON – Para el exgobernador Luis Fortuño, terminar con el actual status territorial de Puerto Rico requiere no solo acción del Congreso, sino que el presidente Barack Obama ponga en marcha un “liderato con principios”.

Fortuño sostuvo que los “grandes avances” que ha tenido Puerto Rico en torno al status político -entre los que incluyó la invasión estadounidense de la Isla, del impulso hacia la ciudadanía estadounidense y la formación del gobierno local- han surgido del Ejecutivo estadounidense.

“Con el plebiscito celebrado el 6 de noviembre de 2012, los ciudadanos estadounidenses de Puerto Rico le quitaron cualquier posible consentimiento a que el Congreso controle la Isla por virtud de la cláusula territorial de la Constitución”, indicó Fortuño, presidente del comité de status del Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP), delegado ante el Partido Republicano y socio del bufete Steptoe & Johnson, en un artículo de opinión en FoxNewsLatino.

En los últimos días, los estadistas de la Isla que se vinculan con el Partido Republicano han sido especialmente críticos de la falta de iniciativa del presidente Obama en torno al status después del plebiscito del 6 de noviembre.

En la consulta, el 54% de los electores de Puerto Rico rechazó el status actual y un 61% favoreció la estadidad frente a la independencia y el Estado Libre Asociado Soberano. Pero, el porcentaje a favor de la estadidad se reduce al 45 cuando se toman en cuenta los votos en blanco solicitados por el ahora gobernador Alejandro García Padilla.

Sectores del PNP tuvieron la falsa esperanza de que el presidente Obama incluyera el tema del status en su mensaje sobre el estado de la unión.

Al otro día, sin embargo, la encargada de los Asuntos Domésticos en la Casa Blanca, Cecilia Muñoz, quien fue copresidenta del grupo interagencial de la Casa Blanca sobre Puerto Rico, expresó que la “acción congresional va a ser determinante para decidir cuál va a ser el próximo paso” en torno al status político de la Isla.

El comisionado residente en Washington, Pedro Pierluisi, quien hace caucus con los demócratas de la Cámara baja federal, ha indicado que también hubiese querido escuchar a Obama hablando del tema del status en la Isla, pero ha pedido a sus colegas estadistas que no hagan sus críticas a base de su afiliación política en Estados Unidos Pierluisi dijo que llevará ante el comité de status del PNP el debate en torno a la legislación federal que debe impulsarse para que el Congreso responda a los resultados del plebiscito.

Para trabajar por la Estadidad: https://estado51prusa.com Seminarios-pnp.com https://twitter.com/EstadoPRUSA https://www.facebook.com/EstadoPRUSA/

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Para trabajar por la Estadidad: https://estado51prusa.com Seminarios-pnp.com https://twitter.com/EstadoPRUSA https://www.facebook.com/EstadoPRUSA/
Para trabajar por la Estadidad: https://estado51prusa.com Seminarios-pnp.com https://twitter.com/EstadoPRUSA https://www.facebook.com/EstadoPRUSA/