Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia reports that Senator Marco Rubio said that he doesn’t think the U.S. Senate is ready to admit Puerto Rico as a state.
“Unfortunately, at this time most of my colleagues,” he said in an interview with Univision/Orlando, “do not support that. But that can change, that can be changed. And that is about working, explaining, teaching and educating the Puerto Rican reality and the reason why statehood is important.”
Rubio reiterated that he continues to support statehood, but doesn’t believe that his colleagues in the Senate understand the situation in Puerto Rico.
“So we must continue working in favor of the interests of Puerto Rico that exist at this time, the important issues that it is facing at this time. We always also continue at the same time explaining to them, educating our colleagues about the Puerto Rican reality and the reason why Puerto Ricans should have the opportunity to be considered if they decide to be accepted as a state.”
Puerto Rico voted for statehood in 2012, in 2017, and again in 2020.
Rubio supports statehood
Senator Rubio is a longstanding supporter of statehood for Puerto Rico, but his remarks, made in an interview with Univisión/Orlando, echo comments he made in 2018.
“Right now, to be honest, we do not have the votes in the Senate,” he told El Nuevo Dia then. “What I would like is to avoid a defeat. That would be regrettable because then people are going to say, ‘that was already voted in the Senate’ and unfortunately many of the people who would vote against still do not understand the issue.”
He went on to say, “I do not want people to be forced to make a decision until they know what they are voting for … Even after the hurricane I have colleagues who do not understand, it is not that they think that Puerto Rico is not part of the US, but in some cases until recently did not understand that the Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States. That’s unbelievable, but it is like that. I would never want an unnecessary defeat.”
Rubio is making essentially the same argument he made three years ago, as though nothing had changed in the meantime. In fact, there is much greater awareness of Puerto Rico as the home U.S. citizens since Hurricane Maria brought it to people’s attention.
The National Puerto Rican Equality Coalition (NAPREC) is holding a “patriot’s gathering” outside Rubio’s office today to persuade him that cosponsoring S 780, the Puerto Rico Statehood Admissions Bill, would make his message more powerful.
“The time for vague expressions of support is over,”the organization said in a statement. “We need Sen. Rubio and others to take action on our Puerto Rico statehood bill. Your support is essential to make sure that Sen. Rubio listens to and respects Puerto Rico’s statehood vote.”