The Diaspora Should Care about Statehood for Puerto Rico

The Diaspora — people who moved from Puerto Rico to a state and their descendants — are “the face of Puerto Rico in the United States,” according to an opinion piece at ABC News.

There are more than 5.7 million Puerto Ricans living in the states now, compared with just about 3.4 million living in Puerto Rico.

All Americans should care about Puerto Rico’s struggle for statehood. As a nation devoted to democracy, we have no business governing without the consent of the governed in Puerto Rico. We can’t trumpet the importance of liberty and justice while we maintain an arguably colonial relationship with Puerto Rico. If we are champions of human rights, we can’t accept leaving millions of U.S. citizens without adequate healthcare, safe water, or passable roads.

The Diaspora has the chance to provide a greater voice for friends and family on the Island.

Puerto Ricans in Congress

There are four legislators in Washington who are members of the Diaspora:

  • Luis Gutierrez
  • José Serrano
  • Nydia Velázquez
  • Darren Soto

Serrano and Soto are both supporters of statehood and cosponsors of the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act, HR 6246.

Luis Gutierrez wants independence for Puerto Rico. “It’s easy to be against statehood when you live in a state,” Serrano pointed out, and this is true for Gutierrez. He has introduced bills for Puerto Rico independence in Congress, and has argued that the Diaspora should get a vote in Puerto Rico’s status.

But Gutierrez would not have to go through the hardships that would inevitably come with independence for Puerto Rico. He can be a romantic advocating for independence when he knows that only a tiny fraction of people living on the Island want independence.

Velazquez is aligned with the status quo in Puerto Rico. She can look at Puerto Rico’s experience as an unincorporated territory of the United States and feel confident that she will not have to deal with the consequences. She too lives in a state.

The political power of the Diaspora

The members of Congress whose families come from Puerto Rico have power. But all the Puerto Ricans who live in the States also have power. The power of their votes. The power to influence their representatives.

If you live in a state you have two senators and multiple members of the House whose job it is to speak up for you. Let them know that Puerto Rico’s status matters to you. Speak up for statehood.

2 Comments

Eddie

We are U.S. citizens, part of the same political system and a dependent U.S. territory. What the hell is the Diaspora?

So when an American citizen visit Puerto Rico are they consider the Diaspora from the United States? Do you realize how ridiculous you people sound using the term diaspora? We are not Jews from Israel you know!

Reply
Dennis Freytes

*Patriots cry for Justice-a Call to Arms (Civic Action)-for Fairness/Equal Rights!*
**FAIR Treatment-EQUAL Rights for US Puerto Ricans-US Veterans!**
SUM: Fellow 2d Class US Citizens-American Veterans (3.5 million) in the US Territory of Puerto Rico (PR), for 120+ years (since, 1898)-don’t have Federal “consent of the governed”; FACE unfair treatment-discrimination; a root caused– “Economic-Job; Fiscal; Infrastructure; Humanitarian; Status-Equality Crisis”- where each part affects the other; the Federal undemocratic Territorial (Colonial) Status affects everything–which ties Puerto Rican hands to compete fairly in a level playing field!

This not only a Group question on the Status, but, a Moral one for FAIR Individual Equal Rights-Justice-consent of the governed; as we guard against a tyranny of a Majority! Puerto Ricans are the 2d largest Hispanic Ethnic Group- 9+ million strong (5.6+ million live in the States; 3.4 million in PR). But, there is a big historic exodus to the States (that taxes local resources…).
FACTs- US Citizens-American Veterans in US Puerto Rico–
• Can’t Vote for their US President nor have just representation in the US Congress nor full blood earned Benefits nor Parity in Federal Laws (includes about 42 Programs, Health Care-MEDICARE, MEDICAID, Social Security, Education, Infrastructure, Security…); nor a permanent statutory US Citizenship (even if residing in a State…)!
• The US Federal Government undemocratically controls Puerto Rico (includes borders, currency, laws, defense, Territorial Government,..)–per trite Territorial Clause (1787); Insular Cases (1901-1925+) which state: “The US Congress can discriminate in applying the US Constitution to Territories …” (not applied to other Territories before Puerto Rico- which is discrimination)!
• Puerto Ricans pay unfair consumer fees, per 1920 Jones Act-Merchant Marine monopoly…
CONTRIBUTIONS- US Puerto Ricans have sacrificed; shed sweat, blood, and tears for our US Flag; cherish their US Citizenship; have integrated, and contribute in all fields of endeavor to our US “Union of States”- with STATE Identity; Constitution; Flag; and Sovereignty; united under our noble US Flag!
• US-PR American Veterans have loyally & bravely served; fought, since 1898, in WW-I, WW-II, Korea, Vietnam until Today for the Good of All: Family, Community, USA, and Humanity!
• PRs have earned many Battle Blood Awards, includes-the US 65th Infantry-was awarded the “Congressional Gold Medal” highest honor our US Congress, with US President, can bestow…
• US Puerto Rican-Hispanic Ancestors came from PR (Boriken) in 1513 to our now USA (Florida)-107 years before the Pilgrims; brought Christianity, advanced civilization of the times; other good things; fought in the US War of Independence…; helped develop our USA to be the best in Human History!
PATRIOTISM- It is incongruent with the essence of our Declaration of Independence (“consent of the governed”)–that fellow US Citizens-American Veterans from the US Territory of Puerto Rico–STILL face Federal Institutional discrimination! Plus, our US Constitution-“WE THE PEOPLE”-is made up by Individual Citizens with protected Equal Individual Rights…! We must guard against the “Tyranny of a Majority”! The Federal Government should serve the People; not be their Master; ensure Fair treatment-Equal Rights for ALL! The People should not suffer for the sins of their Federal Government!
SOLVE- The Federal Government, along with PR’s Territorial Government, must educate; concurrently FIX the root cause of PR’s “Economic-Jobs; Fiscal; Infrastructure; Humanitarian; & Status Crisis”- where each part affects the other; the Federal undemocratic Territorial Status affects everything!
**Puerto Ricans cherish their US Citizenship; elected a pro-Statehood Territory Governor, House, Senate, & Congresswoman; Voted Statehood-2012 & 2017 (Independence never gets 2-5% of the Vote…).
*ACTION-GET US Congress to do a Plebiscite with defined meanings*; grant STATEHOOD (Yes or No Vote); or do a Referendum on Non-Territorial options: STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE (without or with “Free Association” Pact). UNITED-With Truth, Reason, Courage, and Civic Action-for the Good of ALL! EQUALITY+JUSTICE+PROGRESS=STATEHOOD with DIGNITY!
PATRIOT QUESTION: Will you support FAIR Treatment-EQUAL Rights for fellow US Citizens-US Veterans–in the US Territory of Puerto Rico; or will you support those that, since 1898, use ageless excuses to keep Federal discrimination-political oppression; or are closet racists?
**You can’t have it both ways; you are either for FAIRNESS-Equal Rights or support discrimination!

CIVIC ACTION for Right: Share/Educate; CONTACT: US President & US Congress (Resolutions; Emails; Letters); plan/go to Forums/Town Halls; visit Congresspersons…Speak-up; make a difference!
• US Congress: https://contactingcongress.org/
• US President: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
“Canto Claro Como un Gallo Boricua de Manati-Monte Bello-the Time is Now- for Equality!”

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