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Congress takes up matter of Puerto Rico statehood: Yesterday the Senate approached the question of Puerto Rico's 112 year relationship with the United States, debating whether a path should be opened for Puerto Rican statehood, or independence for the long-time protectorate.

In 1898, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was invaded by U.S. military forces, and entered the 20th Century under U.S. military rule. The Foraker act of 1900 gave Puerto Rico a modicum of self-governing rights, and in 1947 they were granted the right to elect their own governor. Shortly thereafter, they drafted their own Constitution, as well. Currently, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a self-governing, unincorporated territory of the United States, meaning that the Island is under U.S. "protection", but self-governing.

Since 1917, all Puerto Ricans born on the island are granted all the rights and privileges of U.S. Citizenship, and, IF they enter mainland America, can vote in our elections. However, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, while subject to U.S. law, does NOT currently have a voice in U.S. politics or government, as do our 50 States. As such, while on Puerto Rican territory, Puerto Ricans have no voice in American legislation, while they are subject thereto. They pay U.S. Federal income tax, too. Yes. That means "taxation without representation", which was one of the main reasons the United States declared independence from England 234 years ago.

The question of Puerto Rico's relationship with the U.S., no surprise, has long been a matter of debate, both with in the U.S., and on the island of Borinquen. Should Puerto Rico become a U.S. State, and, thus, have full voting privileges and a voice in the government that imposes law upon its citizens, and continue to enjoy U.S. citizenship with all the advantages that entails? Or, should Puerto Rico cut it's bonds to the United States, and become an independent nation?

Opinions on the question are probably nowhere so divided as they are in Puerto Rico, itself, of course, where many, many families have members on the mainland, and enjoy open travel between the island and the remainder of the U.S. for a myriad of reasons, many of which provide great economic advantages to Puerto Rico, while others feel that Boricua is stifled or oppressed by colonial rule int he current situation.

For my part, I have family from Puerto Rico, and, I hope that both the U.S. government and the Pueblo Boricua (Puerto Rican People) can reach an agreement to bring Puerto Rico fully into the fold, with a full voice and participation in the United States.



posted with Xpostulate

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December 2013

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