After much debate and deliberation, the Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2010, also known as the HR 2499 law, has passed the House of Representatives and now moves to be approved by the Senate of the United Sates. Yet as of this moment most of the people of the island of Puerto Rico don’t know what the act offers or what benefits it will bring them. A common theme in PuertoRican politics, which the leaders inform what the course to take is and the people like mindless puppets follow. It our duty to inform ourselves, to make clear what is best for the island. But to do so we need to know our options, to understand what will happen if we choose on or the other. As of this moment there are four options for our future: Independence, Statehood, Sovereignty in Associationwith the United States, and Commonwealth. However the act has been met with criticism from many fronts, due to the inclination the law takes to statehood. Given its author, Pedro Pierluissi the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, and member of the New Progressive Party, the main supporters of statehood, it comes to no surprise. But given the history the island has with referendums andplebiscites it is clear that if a decisive one is made, we will finally be able to continue with our future and not dawdle in an indecisive status.
The island of Puerto Rico has for centuries tried to solve its colonial problems. Since Spain, Tainos and Criollos fought their rule to try and seek independence from the only to be martyred or exiled. Others found creative ways to ensure their voice beheard and created the sovereigns and loyalists movements. The sovereigns wanted a sort of Free Association or Associated Republic with Spain and the loyalist wanted equal treatment as other Spanish citizens. In fact loyalists wanted Puerto Rico to become a part of Spain. This story sounds familiar to many Puerto Ricans; it is the same story all over again. We have a New Progressive Party, which wantsannexation with the United States of America. There is also the Puerto Rican Independent Party, whose name clearly states it wants Puerto Rico’s independence. And then there is the Popular Democratic Party who supper the Commonwealth clause; however some support the Associate Republic of Free Association.
But to even think of change we must first know how we will achieve it, hence the HR 2499act. It’s sole purpose; solve once and for all the status of Puerto Rico. The first part indicates that a major plebiscite should run asking whether the people want their present political status, yes or no. If yes wins then the government should run a plebiscite every eight years to see whether or not the people want to remain in the present status. If a majority choose no, there shall be anotherplebiscite for the following four options: Independence, Statehood, Associated Republic or Free Association, and Commonwealth.
Independence, perhaps the most logical option, is the total separation of a colony from its oppressor. It is the right of our people to rule in their own homeland empowered by a constitution which will set the framework for our democratic government. The independence ofPuerto Rico will lead to the negotiation of a treaty of cooperation with the United States which will stay in effect throughout a transition period. Such treaty will include economic aid for Puerto Rico which will enable the country to transform its present dependent economy into a productive and sustainable economic model. The treaty will also dictate free commerce between Puerto Rico and theUnited States, in addition to guaranteeing free transit between both nations. Finally, said treaty will include a process of negotiation which will lead to the withdrawal of all U.S. Military personnel from Puerto Rico and achieve the eventual demilitarization of the country.
Statehood is by definition, the annexation or union of Puerto Rico to the United States. If so the island would become...