12 November 2015

Commentary: The problem with Puerto Rico is its colonial status

"An admirable plea to eliminate the political inequality through U.S. statehood. But the U.S. has been never been willing unwilling to give serious consideration to political integration of the island where the people would exercise full political equality.   Are they any more willing to do so in 2015 amid the economic crisis on the island, and the U.S. analyses indicating an exponential increase in  costs to the U.S. budget of Puerto Rico statehood?"  - a Latin American economist

By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz 

You should know that my beautiful Island of Puerto Rico, where I was born and grew up, is going through a very difficult financial crisis with a historic deficit of $72 billion dollars. 

Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz is a US politician and an ordained minister. A member of the Democratic Party, Díaz represents the 32nd District in the New York State Senate

You should also know that...on Thursday, November 5, there was a huge march in Puerto Rico demanding the United States of America’s government headed by President Barack Obama and the US Congress to help solve Puerto Rico’s problem. 

Almost every elected official from New York, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz, Jr., State Assemblymen Marcos Crespo and Luis Sepulveda, and many, many others – black, Hispanic and white legislators – traveled to Puerto Rico to join Puerto Rico's Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla in this march. 

It is important for you to know that there are some who say that, because Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States, the problems of Puerto Rico will only be solved by one of two ways: (1) The federal government issues financial help – which they have refused to do; or (2) Puerto Rico declares itself bankrupt. 

The problem with the second point is that, because Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States, it is not allowed to declare bankruptcy and receive bankruptcy protection as 50 states and their municipalities are all allowed to do. 

As you can see, this puts Puerto Rico in a huge predicament: the federal government refuses to help financially, and the federal government refuses to allow Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy. What else is there for Puerto Rico to do? 

You should already know that, as a colony, the federal government can dictate and impose all United States federal laws on the island and the people who live in Puerto Rico, and all are obliged to comply with those laws. 

The United States federal government can take the Puerto Rican youth – men and women – and send them to fight in wars and shed their blood for the United States of America. The United States federal government can take the best piece of land in Puerto Rico. The biggest US defense satellite – to protect the United States of America, is located in the town of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. And Puerto Rico is a very strategic place for the defense of the United States. 

I, for one, believe that the problems of Puerto Rico will not be solved by the November 5 march, regardless of the well intentions and good will of the organizers and the participants, which we Puerto Ricans will be forever indebted. But the march will only put a bandage, if anything, on this big problem facing Puerto Rico. 

I appreciate and feel in debt to all of the elected officials who traveled to Puerto Rico and defend my beloved island. As a veteran who loves this United States of America to death, I believe that the only way to solve the fiscal problems of Puerto Rico, and many others, will be for Puerto Rico to become the 51st state of the United States. This way, the problem will be solved forever. 

If Puerto Rico becomes a state, it will have the opportunity to elect seven members to the US House of Representatives and two United States senators, who will have the opportunity to represent them and fight for the State of Puerto Rico, as every other member of Congress does for their state. 

You should know that the NY elected officials traveled to Puerto Rico joined Puerto Rico's Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla and more than 50,000 people on that day, but I am afraid that they will have to keep traveling back and forth to Puerto Rico and to keep marching as long as Puerto Rico continues to be a colony of the United States of America. This is because as long as Puerto Rico remains a colony, Puerto Ricans will continue to be denied all of the benefits and opportunities that everyone in the other states has. 

While those 50 other states of the nation have their representatives to fight for them, Puerto Rico is at their mercy because it doesn't have anyone with a vote on the Floor of Congress. 

So, ladies and gentlemen, therefore the problem of Puerto Rico will not be solved with this youth march because the problem with Puerto Rico is its status of colony.

No comments: