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SECONDLY, WHEN PUERTO RICANS VOTE FOR STATEHOOD I TEČ 1998 PLEBISCITE, AS I HOPE THEY WILL, THE UNITED STATES CAR NCI

AFFORD NOT TO ADMIT PUERTO RICO INTO THE UNION AS THE FIZTY

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HISTORICALLY THE ISSUE OF STATEHOOD HAS NEVER SEEN Å BUSINESS DECISION. OR, AS MY GRANDFATHER SAID, “STATEHOOD * NOT A QUESTION OF DOLLARS AND CENTS BUT OF A DES DESKE FOR -LIBERTY."

DENIAL OF PUERTO RICO

STATEHOOD WOULE ONDERNE

AMERICA'S CREDBILITY AS THE WORLD LEADER I ROMOTI!:

LIBERTY ABROAD AND WOULD SEND A SIGNAL OF EXCLTSION TO THE 27 MILLION HISPANICS WHO POPULATE THE FITY STATES.

FINALLY, THE SELF-DETERMINATION PROCESS IN HR 856 IEADING

FULL SELF-GOVERNMENT FOR PUERTO RICO SHOULD

ALTERED,

INITIATIVES TO REWRITE THE BILL'S STATUS OPTION COTTON

MUST BE RESISTED. HR 856'S CONSTITUTIONAIS

DEFINITIONS HAVE BEEN PAINSTAKINGLY RESEARCH IN DED: ÓFFER VOTERS THE ONLY STATUS OPTIONS THAT FE VITEN

CONGRESS' POWER TO IMPLEMENT.

SIMILARLY, ATTEMPTS IN CONGRESS TO REDEFINE THE STATEHOOD

OPTION BY REQUIRING ENGLISH AS PUERTO RICO'S ONLY OFFICIAL

LANGUAGE MUST BE VIEWED AS AN ATTEMPT TO COMPROMISE THE

SELF-DETERMINATION PROCESS BY FORCING VOTERS TO CHOOSE,

REGARDLESS OF CONSTITUTIONALITY, BETWEEN RETAINING SPANISH

OR VOTING FOR STATEHOOD.

1-THE STATUS QUO MUST END

IT IS AXIOMATIC ALL OVER THE WORLD THAT WITHOUT THE VOTE

PEOPLE ARE NOT IN FULL POSSESSION OF ALL THEIR POLITICAL

RIGHTS. SIMILARLY, WITHOUT ALL THE BENEFITS AND DUTIES OF

THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION NO AMERICAN CAN PLAY A FULL

ROLE IN OUR SOCIETY OR REALIZE THE AMERICAN DREAM.

THIS IS JUST THE SITUATION WE FIND OURSELVES HERE IN PUERTO

RICO.

FOR NEARLY 80 YEARS WE HAVE BEEN UNITED STATES

CITIZENS BUT WE HAVE NO VOTE IN CONGRESS OR FOR THE

PRESIDENT WHO, AS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, HAS SENT OVER 200,000

OF OUR YOUTH INTO BATTLE DEFENDING A CONSTITUTION WHICH

THE COURTS HAVE DETERMINED IS NOT FULLY APPLICABLE TO US.

MOREOVER, CONGRESS CONTINUES TO MAKE LAWS THAT AFFECT

OUR DAILY LIVES WITH NO POLITICAL ACCOUNTABILITY TO ANY OF

THE ISLAND'S RESIDENTS.

IN FACT, MANY OF THESE LAWS ARE

DISCRIMINATORY. ADDITIONALLY, MANY FEDERAL PROGRAMS AND

BENEFITS ARE EITHER INAPPLICABLE HERE OR ARE FUNDED AT

LEVELS BELOW THOSE OF THE STATES.

WHILE IT IS TRUE THAT WE DON'T PAY FEDERAL INCOME TAXES OUR

ISLAND TAXES ARE ALL THE MORE HIGHER TO COMPENSATE FOR

INEQUITABLE FEDERAL FUNDING.

HOWEVER, FEW PUERTO RICANS WOULD NOTICE ANY CHANGE IN

THEIR OVERALL TAX BILL IF STATEHOOD CAME SINCE FEDERAL

OUTLAYS WOULD CAUSE THE LOCAL TAX BURDEN TO BE REDUCED

PROPORTIONATELY.

CLEARLY, TIE CURRENT POLITICAL STATUS CAN NO LONGER BE

TOLERATED. AMERICANS IN PUERTO RICO MUST EITHER BE FIRST

CLASS CITIZENS PARTAKING EQUALLY OF THE AMERICAN DREAM AS

RESIDENTS OF A FIFTY-FIRST STATE OR MUST EXCHANGE THEIR

UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP FOR THAT OF AN INDEPENDENT PUERTO

RICO, THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND.

AND, I TRUST THAT WHEN THE TIME COMES, WE WILL CHOOSE

GUARANTEED UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP, THE UNITED STATES HOW COULD THE UNITED STATES CONTINUE TO PREACH SELF

CONSTITUTION AND STATEHOOD.

2-AMERICA MUST ADMIT PUERTO TO THE UNION

ONCE STATEHOOD IS ENDORSED BY OUR VOTERS THE UNITED STATES

HAS NO OTHER CHOICE THAN TO HONOR THAT EXPRESSION OF SELF

DETERMINATION.

DETERMINATION TO THE REST OF THE WORLD YET FAIL TO

IMPLEMENT A DECISION DEMOCRATICALLY REACHED BY 3.7 MILLION

OF ITS OWN CITIZENS AT HOME?

WHAT CREDIBILITY WOULD BE ATTACHED TO AMERICAN FOREIGN

POLICY SUPPORTING HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRATIC LIBERTIES

AMONG ITS SPANISH SPEAKING NEIGHBORS IN THIS HEMISPHERE IF IT

DENIED THESE SAME BASIC CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES TO

PUERTO RICO SIMPLY BECAUSE OF ITS HISPANIC ORIGINS?

WHAT CHANCES WOULD EXIST FOR CANDIDATES AT THE NATIONAL,

STATE AND LOCAL LEVELS TO IN KEY STATES SUCH AS CALIFORNIA,

TEXAS, ARIZONA AND FLORIDA, WHERE THE HISPANIC VOTE IS

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REQUIRES PUERTO RICO TO GIVE UP SPANISH AS ONE OF ITS OFFICIAL

LANGUAGES AS A CONDITION FOR STATEHOOD?

THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS ARE SELF-EVIDENT. THE UNITED

STATES COULD ILL AFFORD NOT TO ADMIT PUERTO RICO TO THE

UNION IF THAT IS THE STATUS CHOSEN IN 1998 BY THE PUERTO RICANS

LIVING ON THIS ISLAND.

AMERICA'S WORLD LEADERSHIP DEPENDS ON SUCH EVEN HANDED

UNIVERSAL TREATMENT ABROAD AND AT HOME.

AMERICA'S FUTURE SUCCESS IN NURTURING HUMAN DIGNITY AND

EQUALITY THROUGHOUT HISPANIC AMERICA MUST REST ON

SPREADING THESE RIGHTS TO HISPANICS IN AMERICA AND TO PUERTO

RICO.

AND POLITICAL SUCCESS IN AMERICA AMONG HISPANICS, WHOSE

NUMBERS WILL SWELL TO OVER 20 PERCENT OF THE UNITED STATES

POPULATION BY 2010, WILL GO TO THOSE WHO SEEK TO BE INCLUSIVE

OF AMERICA'S LARGEST MINORITY BY RECOGNIZING PUERTO RICO'S

CLAIM TO STATEHOOD AND THE PRESERVATION OF ITS LANGUAGE

AND CULTURE.

RONALD REAGAN PUT IT BEST WHEN HE SAID, "IN STATEHOOD,

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MR. CHAIRMAN, AS YOU AND CHAIRMEN BURTON, GALLEGLY AND

GILMAN WROTE ON FEBRUARY 29, 1996, IN RESPONSE TO THE RESULTS

OF THE 1993 PLEBISCITE, "[THERE IS A NEED FOR CONGRESS TO

DEFINE THE REAL OPTIONS FOR CHANGE AND THE TRUE LEGAL AND

POLITICAL NATURE OF THE STATUS QUO, SO THAT THE PEOPLE CAN

KNOW WHAT THE ACTUAL CHOICES WILL BE IN THE FUTURE."

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