George Laws Garcia, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Statehood Council, talked with Rep. Gonzalez-Colon on the issue of territory status.

Gonzalez-Colon is the Resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico, the only representative of Puerto Rico in the U.S. Congress. She expressed frustration with the limitations of her role.

“We do not have a proportionate delegation representing the Island,” she said. “I don’t have the power of a vote on the floor of the House.” This is incontrovertible evidence of the unequal treatment of Puerto Rico in the federal government. She went on to describe her role as “begging.”

Rep. Gonzalez-Colon pointed out that the Supreme Court has given Congress permission to discriminate against Puerto Rico, denying the Island benefits and rights “just because we are a territory.”

As Resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico, Gonzalez-Colon is the only voice the Island has in Congress. Without a vote, she has to rely on her ability to influence other — voting — members of Congress. “The only way we can make a difference here is by going directly to each member.”

Gonzalez-Colon identified another real problem. “You will have a lot of people that will self-proclaim that they are representing the Island and they will do many things just to score points at the national level and not necessarily helping the people that live on the Island.”


The conversation touched on the inequalities experienced by people living in Puerto Rico, regardless of where they were born. Residents of Puerto Rico do not have full representation in Congress, they cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections, they do not receive the same benefits as residents of states, and they are not granted the same rights as other U.S. citizens.

Gonzalez-Colon pointed out that people sometimes call for changes in the laws that keep Puerto Rico in an unequal position. The problem, she said, is that Congress can change the law and the next Congress can change it again. As a state, Puerto Rico will have equal rights and responsibilities with the other states.


Gonzalez-Colon also pointed out that the lack of stability created by territory status interferes with investments and entrepreneurs in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has the potential to be a bridge between the United States and Latin America and to bring manufacturing back from China and other offshore locations. Yet the territorial status interferes with this impressive potential.

“For some federal laws we are treated like a state and for some we are a foreign country. This is crippling our economy, because some companies don’t know how to deal with that,” she explains. “That’s the lack of stability that this territorial position of the Island is impeding a lot of Puerto Ricans to succeed, to thrive.”

Gonzalez-Colon reminded listeners that Hawaii’s economy tripled after statehood. Just imagine, she suggested, what that would mean for Puerto Rico.



One response

  1. Take Civic Action/support: the Puerto Rico Status act Plebiscite, based on- EQUAL US Citizenship for ALL; END PR’s Federal UNDEMOCRATIC Status! (Summary)
    Since 1898 (for over 125+ years), the Federal Government has kept the US Territory of Puerto Rico (PR)-(with more US Citizens than 21 States) under undemocratic control (with NO Federal “consent of the governed”) as we demand Equal Rights-Fairness for all “WE THE PEOPLE”; revocation of unjust Laws; a NON-Territorial Status!

    Focus on FACTS–Today, millions of 2d class US Citizens-US Veterans (part of “We the People”) in PR have—
    NO Vote for US President; NO just Representation in US Congress; NO Parity in Federal Laws, Programs, or Funding (like for Veterans, Social Security, MEDICARE, MEDICAID, Infrastructure, Education, SSI, and other programs) that other US Citizens fully get; NO permanent statutory US Citizenship (even if moving to a State)…!

    Plus, the Federal Government unfairly controls PR’s Borders, Currency, Laws, Security, Economy, Trade, etc.—under the old Territorial Clause (of 1787); unjust racist Insular Cases (of 1901-1925+); other biased Laws—where, incongruently, the US Constitution is not fully applied to US Citizens-US Veterans in Puerto Rico!

    Besides, Puerto Ricans face a magna CRISIS; Exodus to the States–which major ROOT components are: Jobs, Economy, Security, Infrastructure, and unfair Territorial Status—where each PART affects the other. The Federal undemocratic Territorial status affects everything; brings instability…; ties PR’s Hands to fairly compete-grow the Economy; limits progress; goes against our US Democratic core values & principles; is Un-American!

    “The Federal Government should be the Servant of ALL the People; NOT the Master of some!”
    This is a Patriotic just cause! The People with Equal US Citizenship/ Rights come first, not a “separate & unequal” biased Status! In our US Republic, the power should reside with all “We the People” (made up by Individuals)–per our Declaration of Independence that calls for “Consent of the Governed”; noble US Constitution that calls for Equal Rights-Fairness, and a Republican form of Government or a Representative Democracy!

    “NO Federal VOTE or just Representation; results in NO Democracy or a Tyranny of a Majority!”
    Our Federal Government can end this unjust inequity now, but, has not done so! It, incongruently doesn’t act to end PR’s Federal undemocratic Territorial Status; or amend/ revoke unjust-unequal Laws that limit Progress. Instead, some generalize; politically distort; provide biased/racist EXCUSES that blame the Victim; create double standards not applied to Other Citizens-resulting in confusion & stalemate that perpetuates Federal subjugation!
    Puerto Ricans Sacrifice & Contribute to our USA since 1513!

    Hispanic US Puerto Ricans (PR) are about 10m strong (most live in the States) as they are integrated; greatly sacrifice, and loyally contribute (in all fields of endeavor) to our diverse USA; have patriotically shed sweat, blood, and tears for our US Flag (WWI; WW-II; Korea; Vietnam; Global War on Terrorism). Also, PR has a better GDP than 14 States; pays more Federal taxes than 6 States; is a US Market that creates about a million US Jobs…
    PR Ancestors (1st Governor of PR/Crew) came from PR to Florida (in 1513)-107 years before the Pilgrims; others fought in the US War of Independence (1776); brought Christianity and other good things to our now USA.

    “Silence to discrimination; supports injustice!”
    US Citizens in PR have voted to END the Territorial-Colonial Status, per local Plebiscites (2012, 2017 & 2020) where Statehood won; Independence got only 2-5% of the Vote… Puerto Ricans have proven loyalty to our US; cherish their US Citizenship! Yet, Congress doesn’t do Right for Equal Citizenship!

    FIX: Take Civic ACTION-get our Federal Government to: ensure Equal US Citizenship-Rights; END Federal undemocratic control of PR; do a PR Plebiscite on viable Non-Territorial Options which only are:
    STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE (Without or With a Free Association Pact)
    Our US (a diverse Union of Sovereign States) is the best in the World—where each State complements each other; is stronger than by itself …! UNITED, under US Constitution/Flag, brings more Progress–for the Good of All!

    “En la UNIÓN está la Fuerza!”
    Only Statehood guarantees a permanent statutory US Citizenship (even if residing in a State)! Thus, all statutory US Citizens have a Stake in the Fight as our US Congress must also, protect them in any Plebiscite!
    “Equality for a more perfect UNION!”

    Hispanic-Puerto Ricans are being treated unjustly by their Federal Government-Legislative, Executive & Judicial-that, at times, misinterpret our US Constitution that today, WE OWN! Plus, some Politicians say: “All People are Equal” but, mean: “Some People (in power) are more Equal than Others”! In our US Republic– the power should reside with “a Government of the People, by the People, and for the People” (President Lincoln)!

    “Patriots call for EQUALITY; FAIRNESS; JUSTICE!”
    You can’t have both ways (either support Equality or discrimination)! THE TIME IS NOW for Civic ACTION: demand our Federal Government ensures Equal US Citizenship-Civil Rights; a Representative Democracy for all:
    1. Short Term-Let the People VOTE-Do a PR Plebiscite on properly defined/viable Non-Territorial Options:
    *STATEHOOD-MEANS: Admission to our diverse “UNION of STATES”– under US Constitution/ Laws/ Democracy; EQUAL US Citizenship with full Rights, Benefits, and Responsibilities; with PR-STATE Identity, Constitution, Flag, Sovereignty… as other States & other US Citizens have…
    *INDEPENDENCE- MEANS: Puerto Rico National Sovereignty; PR Constitution/Laws, PR Citizenship…; with loss of US Constitution & statutory US Citizenship, Rights, and Benefits…
    *INDEPENDENCE with Free Association PACT-MEANS: Puerto Rico National Sovereignty; PR Constitution/ Laws, PR Citizenship…; with loss of US Constitution & statutory US Citizenship, Rights, and Benefits… But, with a negotiated PACT between Independent Nations on Terms (like trade, defense, etc.) that can be terminated by either side.
    2. Revoke un-just Laws (like the racist “Insular Cases”, 1920 Jones Act…); Incorporate Puerto Rico.
    3. Amend US Constitution (USC); adopt: “US Citizens’ Equal Rights-Protection Clause” that treats all US Citizens equally-no matter the residency, under our noble US Flag! (Enclosed Draft)
    4. Revoke or Amend the “Territorial Clause” with a “Status” limit; more rights, etc. (Enclosed Draft)
    UNITED-with Truth, Reason, and Civic Action for the Good of All-Family, USA, and Humanity!

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