This episode of the new PR51st podcast features an exclusive interview with Governor Pedro Pierluisi and a discussion between George Laws Garcia and MartinRivera. The conversation begins with a discussion of the 125th anniversary of the Treaty of Paris, which took place this month. With a quick and lively overview of Puerto Rico history and political status, the podcast catches listeners up. Discussing national security and supply chains — both of which involve Puerto Rico intrinsically — George and Martin introduce the Puerto Rico Status Act.

The podcast dives into the interview with the governor, asking how to improve and perfect the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

“Last Congress, the Puerto Rico Status Act passed the House,” George said. “Can you speak to us about the progress…and how we can continue to overcome the hurdles that remain to achieve statehood for Puerto Rico?”

“You need to convince the majority of the members of both houses of the Congress to admit Puerto Rico as a state,” the governor said. “It’s important that we keep informing the members of Congress about what Puerto Rico is all about, because there’s a lot of disinformation.”

Pierluisi remembered that it used to be common for legislators not to realize that Puerto Ricans are American citizens. “Some probably have forgotten,” he suggested. Since Congress changes every two years, some members still need to be educated.


Pierluisi also stated that Puerto Rico is discriminated against in Social Security, Medicare, and similar federal programs. “The key,” he explained, “is to make sure that members of Congress do the right thing, that they follow the founding principles of this nation.”

“This is a nation where the vote is a sacred right, where the Congress represents the citizenry at large,” he continued. “That’s not happening for the citizens of Puerto Rico.”

“It makes no sense to treat them differently,” the governor said. “As a territory, Congress has plenary power over Puerto Rico, which means Congress can do pretty much anything…In terms of our political rights, we simply are disenfranchised.”

“How can you be a citizen of a nation, and you cannot vote for the president of that nation?” Pierluisi asked. “How can you be a citizen of a nation and you do not have voting representation in the legislature of that nation? That is the very essence of a colony.”

Upcoming action

Pierluisi pointed out that Puerto Rico has been an American territory for 125 years and that Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917. This is longer than any of the territories which have now become states waited. “We’re ready,” he said. “And that’s why we keep pushing for bills.”

The governor suggested that Republicans might have their own status bill for Puerto Rico — as governor, he would be open to any bill that gave Puerto Rico a choice of non-territorial status options.

The podcast also pointed out that Puerto Rican voters living in the states will be paying attention to how the stateside legislators treat Puerto Rico. “Elected officials need to be responsive to the needs of their constituents,” Pierluisi said. “It makes no sense for elected officials, if they’re thinking of their own electability, to ignore Puerto Rico.”

Listen to the entire conversation!



No responses yet

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up for our newsletter!

We will send you news about Puerto Rico and the path to statehood. No spam, just useful information about this historic movement.