In a guest post for El Nuevo Dia, Antonio Quiñones Calderón reflected on the five plebiscites Puerto Rico has held so far on its political status.
In 1967, the “commonwealth” option received 60.4% of the vote, a clear majority. At that time, many people still believed that “commonwealth” would evolve into some special legal status which would be different from territory status.
In 1993, the “commonwealth” option received 48.6% of the votes, while statehood received 46.3%. Neither of these options received a clear victory in that referendum. The author pointed out that former governor Romero Barceló said in that plebiscite, “Congress lost the ‘consent of the governed’ in its current exercise of sovereignty over Puerto Rico and is again sovereign only by virtue of right of conquest.”
In 1998, the “commonwealth” party called for a “None of the above” option, which received 50.3% of the votes. Statehood’s support increased again, to 46.5% of the votes.
The 2012 vote, says Quiñones Calderón, meant “The end of ‘ELA’.” ELA is the “commonwealth” idea — the myth of enhanced commonwealth. 54% of voters rejected it in the first question on the 2012 ballot. On the second question, 61% of voters chose statehood.
In 2017, 97% of the voters chose statehood. “The people who voted, which counts, overwhelmingly supported the statehood option,” said Quiñones Calderón, calling this “a highly significant step in the fight against colonialism.”
Quiñones Calderón continued, “The planets are aligned: Congress, the Federal Supreme Court, the White House, the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Federal Justice, the Legislature and the anti-colonialist people. The writing is on the wall. Let him who has eyes to see it, let him see it. Those who do not, continue in denial.”
The series of plebiscites shows a clear and steady rise in the popularity of statehood as the permanent political status of Puerto Rico. The federal government has made it clear that the idea of “enhanced commonwealth” is a fantasy. Few people in Puerto Rico want independence. Statehood is the remaining option.
Statehood is also the best option. Most of the changes that have been proposed for the economic improvement of Puerto Rico would come naturally as part of the rights Puerto Rico would gain as a state. A voice in the federal government would come with voting members of Congress. It’s time.
**Amend US Constitution on FAIR Treatment-Equal Rights for ALL “WE THE PEOPLE”**
TODAY, millions of 2d Class US Citizens-American Veterans, in US Territories, don’t have all Individual Civic Rights (like Puerto Ricans) or PARITY in Federal Laws, Programs or Funding…because of wrong interpretations of our noble US Constitution (where the Individual is the building block of “WE THE PEOPLE”)– that today we own (not the founding Fathers, hundreds of years ago…)!
The INDIVIDUAL (US CITIZEN) is the building block of our US Republic (a Government by/ for the People) with a “WE THE PEOPLE” US Constitution, and a Representative Democracy system. It is incompatible or incongruent or a dichotomy that most US Citizens-American Veterans have all RIGHTS; are treated fairly, but, millions others are not!
The Federal-US Supreme Court has wrongly interpreted the Amended US Constitution in the “Insular Cases” (1901-1925 when Racism was in vogue; should be revoked) to allow the Federal Government to “…discriminate in applying the US Constitution to some American Citizens-Veterans in “unincorporated” Territories (term not found in US Constitution…)!
Thus, the Federal Government-States must do RIGHT; not leave it to interpretation; make a “PEOPLE’S FAIRNESS-EQUALITY Amendment” to our US Constitution to reflect—FAIR TREATMENT-EQUAL RIGHTS for ALL WE THE PEOPLE, not just some (like millions of EXCLUDED Puerto Ricans/Others)! Also, the Territorial Clause (1787) must be revised with more Individual Rights and Just Representation until transition to Statehood or Independence (in a limited Time period)!
NO Territory, like Puerto Rico (since 1898—with more US Citizens-American Veterans than 22 States), should suffer Federal discrimination permanently! This is WRONG; Un-American! UNITED—with Truth, Reason, Courage, and CIVIC ACTION for the Good of ALL!
Very well chosen and cherrypicked, especially for the last two plebicites!