Dick Thornburgh on Puerto Rico

Now that there is a path for the people of Puerto Rico to express their self-determination on Puerto Rico’s political status, there are some who seek to block that path.– Dick Thornburgh

Dick Thornburgh was Governor of Pennsylvania from 1979 to 1987 and served as the U.S. Attorney General from 1988 to 1991. He served in the U.S. Justice Department under five presidents. He was also Undersecretary of the United Nations.

He wrote a book about Puerto Rico’s status in 2007: The Future of Puerto Rico: A Time to Decide.

It was certainly time to decide in 2007, but Thornburgh’s book argued that the legal and political complications of the Insular Cases and the problems with the current status of Unincorprated Territory made it difficult to settle the territory’s status. The problem with the current status, he said, is that it is not permanent.

In fact, Thornburgh wrote in an article in the Puerto Rico Herald that U.S. citizenship for the people of Puerto Rico isn’t truly permanent, and would certainly be lost if Puerto Rico chose independence.

It is only as a state that Puerto Rico will have permanent 10th Amendment powers over its non-federal affairs, as well as voting power in Congress. — Dick Thornburgh

Independence has never received more than a handful of percentage points in any status vote in Puerto Rico. The “enhanced commonwealth” option has been rejected repeatedly by the United States and is not a viable option. Statehood is the only realistic option for Puerto Rico.

But there are still some who seek to block that path for Puerto Rico. We are closer to statehood than ever before. Let your legislators know that you are not willing to stop now.

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