Letter to Washington: Respect the Vote

A coalition of organizations supporting statehood for Puerto Rico have written to President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and Congressional leaders, urging them to respect the vote. The Congressional leaders included Speaker Pelosi, Senator McConnell, Representative McCarthy, Senator Schumer, Representative Grijalva, Senator Murkowski, Representative Westerman, and Senator Manchin.

“We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, urge [you] to respect the will of the majority of Puerto Rico’s voters who have requested admission as a state of the Union,” the letter begins. “Last month, for the first time in history, voters on the island were asked whether ‘Puerto Rico should be immediately admitted into the Union as a state’ and 52 percent of voters, over 620,000, said ‘YES.’ Now that Puerto Rico has spoken, Congress must begin acting on that mandate immediately.”

The letter reminded readers of the lack of representation and equal rights to Puerto Rico for more than a century.

“America’s core founding value of ‘government by consent of the governed’ has still not yet been applied to the more than 3 million U.S. citizens who live in Puerto Rico,” the letter continues. “As a result, island residents are being deprived of full equality under the law and full democracy in their government at both the local and federal levels.”

Consequences

The letter listed the consequences of Puerto Rico’s unequal treatment:

  • Disenfranchised citizenry with limited non-voting representation in the U.S. House, no representation in the U.S. Senate and no voting rights for President;
  • Lack of accountability and representation at the federal level to meet Puerto Rico’s needs, goals and aspirations;
  • Lower quality of life for island residents in critical areas including healthcare, nutrition, education, transportation, environment, and security;
  • Unequal playing field that limits economic development opportunities, promotes dependency, and denies clarity on long term economic development direction;
  • Underdeveloped interstate commerce and international trade potential;
  • Massive population exodus because relocation is the only way to enjoy the full benefits of U.S. citizenship, separating families and communities;
  • Large deficits and debt spending, and fiscal crisis due to ease of borrowing and underinvestment by the federal government;
  • Slow and inefficient response and recovery to natural disasters;
  • Denial to tens of thousands of military service members and veterans from Puerto Rico, who have fought in every US war since 1917, the right to vote for their Commander in Chief, even as they defended the American democracy they are denied at home;
  • Loss of America’s moral standing and credibility as a promoter of democratic governance at the global level; and,
  • Persistence of an unaccountable and non-representative form of governance under the U.S. Constitution that has weakened American democratic institutions and made them more vulnerable.

Signers

The following organizations and individuals signed the letter:

Hon. Jenniffer González-Colón President
Republican Party of Puerto Rico

Hon. José Aponte-Hernández Executive Director
Instituto Misión Estadista, New Progressive Party

Annabel Guillén President
Igualdad, Futuro Seguro

Hon. Charles A. Rodriguez President
Democratic Party of Puerto Rico

George H. Laws García
Executive Director
Puerto Rico Statehood Council

Irma R. Rodriguez
President
Puerto Rico Escogió Estadidad

Gabriela M. Medina Marrero President
Young Democrats of Puerto Rico

Elvin Méndez Rosa
President
Movimiento Revolución Estadista

José J. Díaz
President
U.S. Flag Task Force

Jorge Rodríguez Feliciano
President
Puertorriqueños Pro Unión Permanente

Ken Oliver-Méndez
Director
United States Council for Puerto Rico Statehood

Joel Salgado Spokesperson We The People

Josué E. Rivera
Chairman
Puerto Rico Young Republican Federation

Luis Matos
President
Renacer Ideológico Estadista

José Cabrera
Chair
Puerto Rico Star Project (Proyecto Estrella)

Victor Perez
Director
Organizacion Veteranos Progresistas, Partido Nuevo Progresisita

Wilfredo Rivera
President
Impulso 51 / Estado Igualdad

Ricardo Marrero Passapera President
Ahora Si Puerto Rico

Read the letter to Congress

Read the letter to Biden and Harris.

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