Just In.. Hurricane hammers home need for Puerto Rican statehood – By José M. Saldaña

Just In..

Hurricane hammers home need for Puerto Rican statehood

Hurricane hammers home need for Puerto Rican statehood
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For the last decade, Puerto Rico has been experiencing a severe economic, financial and demographic crisis. Among other things, this crisis is related to our current shameful territorial (colonial) status.

Because of this undignified status, we lack full representation in Congress except for a resident commissioner who has voice but cannot vote on the floor. This is primarily responsible for the unequal treatment the U.S. citizens of the island receive under federal laws.

As U. S. citizens since 1917, we have proudly served in all major and minor conflicts of our nation, and thousands of Puerto Ricans have perished defending our democratic way of life. As stated in the 2011 Report by the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status: “Resolving the island’s political (colonial) status is essential to restoring the health of Puerto Rico’s economy and to improving our security.”

On top of this financial crisis, recent hurricanes Irma and María have unmercifully and severely hit Puerto Rico. Maria, a category 5 hurricane  — the worst in history — smashed all of Puerto Rico for 12 hours with winds over 200 mph.

This catastrophic hurricane has devastated the island to the extreme that less than 20 percent of the electric system has been restored and roughly one-third of the 3.5 million population is still without reliable drinking water.In most of the island rural areas, the picture is that of a bomb-blasted area. The estimated damage to the island runs higher than $60 billion.

After recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma, federal assistance for Texas and Florida immediately flowed. However, for Puerto Rico, it was somewhat delayed. I would like to believe that it was because we are an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and not because of our present colonial status.

This delay produced additional chaos. Finally, after a few days of mayhem and uncertainty, federal funds started to flow to the island. President Trump, Vice President Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan and several congressmen visited the island and promised to grant the much-needed federal assistance until the island has fully recovered.

This catastrophic situation and the lack of certainty over whether it will be normalized in a reasonable period has acutely intensified the migration process of our population to the mainland, particularly to Florida. A substantial number of these U.S. citizens will require social assistance, creating a financial problem for the different states to which they move.

At the same time, if this situation is not promptly and reasonably restored, Puerto Rico will become a ghetto of poor elderly people and, for all practical purposes, an unviable and shameful U.S. colony.

In the short run, the present federal assistance will undoubtedly help, but reconstructing Puerto Rico to the dignified condition 3.5 million U.S. citizens deserve, will require a federal, Marshall Plan-like effort. Given Puerto Rico’s current territorial (colonial) political status, Congress holds the ultimate power to make such a decision.

It is up to congress to help Puerto Rico out of this catastrophic situation and to provide the conditions for the island to become a state with the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities as all the American citizens who reside in the other 50 States.

We want statehood or incorporated territory status now. Five centuries as a colony is enough. Puerto Rico does not deserve this unfair and morally reprehensible treatment.

José M. Saldaña is the former president of the University of Puerto Rico. He is the vice president of Igualdad, Futuro Seguro, a pro-statehood organization.

The Puerto Rico Report info@puertoricoreport.com via mail69.atl11.rsgsv.net 

Oct 19 (6 days ago)

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Having just returned from Puerto Rico, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) offered compelling remarks about his visit and explained that our fellow U.S. citizens “need our help.” READ MORE (https://puertoricoreport.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=9a8967c21c5bc76ae60a575b9&id=d16a6fd18d&e=9a4fa4873b)

As reported in Politico two former chiefs of staff  to Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL), Cesar Conda and Alberto Martinez, made the case as to “why Washington should finally make Puerto Rico a state.” READ MORE  (https://puertoricoreport.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=9a8967c21c5bc76ae60a575b9&id=0abdd46c4e&e=9a4fa4873b)

By approving the $36.5 billion relief bill, the House of Representatives made progress in upholding the pledge of several Members of Congress who said they would treat U.S. territories as equal to states in terms of disaster assistance. READ MORE (https://puertoricoreport.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=9a8967c21c5bc76ae60a575b9&id=f8302f83fc&e=9a4fa4873b)

The financial oversight and management board in Puerto Rico is assessing how the 10-year fiscal adjustment plans should change in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. READ MORE (https://puertoricoreport.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=9a8967c21c5bc76ae60a575b9&id=deb12cdb72&e=9a4fa4873b)

According to early estimates, Puerto Rico lost some 8,000 acres of vegetables in the destruction brought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. READ MORE (https://puertoricoreport.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=9a8967c21c5bc76ae60a575b9&id=293b4a3c8a&e=9a4fa4873b)

President Trump stated on Twitter that the federal government cannot be in Puerto Rico “forever.” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reassured that the federal government will “stand with those American citizens in Puerto Rico until the job is done.” READ MORE (https://puertoricoreport.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=9a8967c21c5bc76ae60a575b9&id=88b069b9c2&e=9a4fa4873b)

On October 5, 2017, Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) introduced legislation to exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act for five years. READ MORE (https://puertoricoreport.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=9a8967c21c5bc76ae60a575b9&id=10ad73f6cd&e=9a4fa4873b)

Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) sent a letter to his colleagues expressing his concerns regarding the disaster relief legislation that ultimately passed in the U.S. House. READ MORE (https://puertoricoreport.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=9a8967c21c5bc76ae60a575b9&id=875ba15c16&e=9a4fa4873b)
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PUERTO RICO: A U.S. TERRITORY
Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. It became a U.S. territory in 1898, when it was acquired from Spain
READ MORE (https://puertoricoreport.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=9a8967c21c5bc76ae60a575b9&id=a66311f52d&e=9a4fa4873b) WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO U.S. CITIZENSHIP IN A NEW NATION OF PUERTO RICO? THE WORD FROM WASHINGTON

READ MORE (https://puertoricoreport.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=9a8967c21c5bc76ae60a575b9&id=27b91a4086&e=9a4fa4873b) WHAT’S A FREE ASSOCIATED STATE?
Historically, there have been three political parties in Puerto Rico, each one associated with a political status:
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