On Puerto Rico’s Paradox

Luis A. Ferré Sadurní wrote an article called “The Puerto Rico Paradox” at the Penn-Warren Public Policy Initiative page.

The article speaks very honestly about the situation in Puerto Rico.

The island is a territory of the United States, a nation that throughout centuries has sought to espouse, both at home and abroad, its fundamental values of freedom, justice, and equality. Puerto Rico’s territory status, however, veils its existence as a modern-day colony, a condition that sharply contradicts all of the U.S.’s basic democratic ideals. A condition that deprives Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens, adequate representation in the Congress that makes the laws that govern life in the island, denies them the presidential vote, perpetuates unequal treatment in federal funding and is at the core of Puerto Rico’s longtime economic struggles.

The article goes on to discuss in depth one example of the way that Puerto Rico’s confusing status affects Puerto Rico: bankruptcy laws. Many more examples could have been chosen. The article concludes:

The answer to freeing the island of its colonial paradox lays in the transformation of that relationship, whether by perfecting the union with the U.S. or declaring independence. Only then will Puerto Rico, for the first time in its history, assert its dignity and be capable of shedding its colonial shackles to march towards a, currently unattainable, brighter future.

Who is the author? Is he simply a student in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania? He is, but he is also the great-grandson of Don Luis A. Ferré, former governor of Puerto Rico, founder of the New Progressive Party, and one of the longest serving state chairmen of the Republican National Committee.

Don Luis A. Ferré is recognized by many as the father of the modern statehood movement in Puerto Rico. He was quoted in an Associated Press story as saying, “I hope I will live to see a final meeting of the minds between Puerto Rico and statehood, but if I don’t live that long, I am certain it will happen.”

His son Antonio Luis Ferré ran El Nuevo Dia, now Puerto Rico’s largest newspaper, for many years. Albert Luis Ferré, son of Antonio Luis Ferré, now manages the newspaper. While he is not an advocate of statehood, it appears that his son, the author of the Penn-Wharton article, sees the value of statehood as his great-grandfather did.

“We don’t want to be a colony,” said Don Luis A. Ferré  in 1999, “We don’t want to be inferior. We want to be equal.”

Puerto Rico should be equal. The territorial status should end, and Puerto Rico should no longer live under the paradox described by Luis A. Ferré Sadurní. This did not take place during Don Luis A. Ferré’s lifetime. It should happen now. Puerto Rico is nearer to statehood than ever before. The Federal government has set aside funds for the first Federally-sponsored plebiscite, and it is time for the local government of Puerto Rico to schedule that vote and take the next step toward resolving Puerto Rico’s status at last.

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