The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is in charge of Puerto Rico. They hold hearings on Puerto Rico’s status every few years. The most recent hearing included testimony from the leaders of the three main political groups on the Island, representing statehood, independence, and “commonwealth.”
Chairman Wyden opened with comments including this clear statement:
There is no disputing that a majority of the voters in Puerto Rico — 54 percent — have clearly expressed their opposition to continuing the current territorial status. The “New Commonwealth” option continues to be advocated as a viable option by some. It is not. Persistence in supporting this option after it has been rejected as inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution by the U.S. Justice Department, by the bipartisan leadership of this Committee, by the House, and by the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations undermines resolution of Puerto Rico’s status question. The rejection of the current territory status last November leaves Puerto Rico with only two options: statehood under U.S. sovereignty, or some form of separate national sovereignty.
The leaders of the statehood and independence parties explained the options they preferred and asked for simple votes. A yes/no vote on statehood was one option, and a vote between statehood and independence was another. The governor was not willing to accept either of these suggestions.
He said firmly that the enhanced commonwealth option should be on the ballot, even though it was clear that it would not be accepted by the U.S. government.
“What I’m trying to understand here is what exactly enhanced commonwealth is,” Sen. Murkowski said at one point. Governor Garcia Padilla was not able to clarify this option. The hearing ended without resolution.
This post was originally written in English and may be being auto-translated by Google.