PO Box 669
Gurabo, PR 00778
Friday, January 4, 2013
THE CONGRESS OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Honorable Members Of Congress:
As you are probably aware, the US Citizens of Puerto Rico held a plebiscite in the recent
elections of November 6, 2012, in which they made two important decisions: First, they
expressed their wish not to continue under the actual territorial relationship. Second, they
expressed their wish to resolve their political status problem by means of full statehood.
I am writing to you asking for assistance in implementing the results of that two-phased
plebiscite and in which the US Citizens of Puerto Rico have expressed their desire to put a halt to
our territorial condition and become the 51st State of the United States of America.
In previous plebiscites, the People of Puerto Rico, natural born US Citizens, were led to
believe that it was possible to live in “the best of two worlds” under the American Flag.
The United States Citizens of Puerto Rico have finally realized that there is no such thing
as a “special form of statehood” for Puerto Rico, wrongly called “enhanced commonwealth.”
Many of them have further learned that our real political status is not “Estado Libre Asociado,”
separate from the United States, but with US Citizenship. Thus, they have voted for full
statehood in this plebiscite.
Contrary to previous plebiscites, in this instance the People were exposed to a true free
determination process with clear questions that would produce non-confusing results. Such a
process should have been held a long time ago in order to allow the US Citizens in Puerto Rico
full democratic participation in their national government and the end of what has been called a
colonial status which has been the shame of the United States.
Further, such a valuable process would have allowed the US Citizens in Puerto Rico to
spare a lagging economy which drags 50% of its population into the nightmare of poverty. The
promise of a “special form of statehood” which could not be, disallowed the full integration of
the economy of Puerto Rico into the economy of the United States. Such stalemate has been
detrimental to the quality of life of the US Citizens in Puerto Rico for too long.
I can recognize that the US Citizens of Puerto Rico have been responsible for their
precarious situation by voting the way they have in the previous plebiscites. So an important
question is why they voted that way. And the answer is: They were misled to believe in a fantasy
called “Estado Libre Asociado” as our political status, which is detached from the United States,
and can be improved to produce “the best of two worlds.”
Congress is not at fault; Congress could only follow the wish of the People by allowing
the territorial status to continue its course. And in that same spirit, Congress should now
respond, without delay, to the results of this plebiscite which has produced uncontested results:
The People of Puerto Rico, Natural Born US Citizens, have voted to give birth to the 51st State
of the United States Of America in a true free determination process.
The People of Puerto Rico went a step further in this plebiscite: They expressed their
dissatisfaction with the actual territorial status and asked not to continue in that status. It was a
historical decision which Congress must attend promptly.
An excellent process of free determination has been implemented in Puerto Rico and
the results are there for Congress to act upon.
The word from Congress has been that the solution of the political status of Puerto Rico is
problematic because there is no consensus on the Island on the issue. And Congress has been
correct, given the confusing information it has received from Puerto Rico. After all, when you
include as options political status formulas that offer pies in the sky, and the people believe in
those offers, the only result can be confusion. (See Appendix A).
But the structure of this plebiscite has cleared the way to solve the problem by Congress.
The Task Force provided the decisive tool through the two phased plebiscite that answered
fundamental questions of free determination: If and How to solve the issue. And Congress now
has a perfect “compact” upon which it can act to admit Puerto Rico as the 51st State.
The huge participation of over 95% of signed-up voters for the elections in the first
question of the plebiscite clearly shows the desire of the People of Puerto Rico to solve the
political status issue with permanent status options. 54% of participants in the first question
expressed their wish not to continue under the territorial condition.
The second question was answered by 56.13% of registered voters and 72.36% of signedup
voters. 61.11% of participants in this question expressed their desire for full statehood for
Puerto Rico. As a comparison, in the plebiscite held during the elections of 1952, in which
Congressional amendments to the local constitution were finally ratified, 54.19% of registered
voters took part and 71.97% of the signed-up voters participated. The final Constitution was
completed with that vote.
The process suggested by the Task Force provided the necessary tools to lead to a solid
solution of Puerto Rico’s political status problem by providing a basis for a real discussion of the
issues. It was a perfect decisive process with clear results.
Which is why I am asking from the Members of Congress to ponder over an opinion from
the Congressional Research Service in their report “Analysis of HR 856” on the status process of
Rep. Don Young in 1996:
The only way to secure Constitutionally-protected citizenship is to complete the
process of Constitutional integration so that people born in Puerto Rico also will be born
in a State of the Union for purposes of the 14th Amendment.
Why does the CRS refer to a process “ to complete the Constitutional integration?’’
Puerto Rico started the “process of Constitutional integration” a long time ago.
Principally and specifically since 1947 when the US Constitution was extended to the
People of Puerto Rico by means of US Public Law 362 of 1947. As a result of that action, Puerto
Rico became an incorporated territory of the United States.
With this plebiscite, the People have expressed the firm intention to complete the process
of full integration, as suggested by the CRS, with the help from Congress. The path has been
cleared in this plebiscite and Congress has a clear mandate to act accordingly.
The admission process of Puerto Rico as the 51st State has been started. Now it is in
the hands of Congress. And Congress has the obligation to “complete the process.”
A typical admission process goes as follows as found in the history of the United States:
THE CONGRESS OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
“Historically, Congress has applied the following general procedure when
granting territories statehood:
* The territory holds a referendum vote to determine the people’s desire for or against
* Should a majority vote to seek statehood, the territory petitions the U.S. Congress
* The territory, if it has not already done so, is required to adopt a form of
government and constitution that are in compliance with the U.S. Constitution.
* The U.S. Congress – both House and Senate – pass, by a simple majority vote, a
joint resolution accepting the territory as a state.
* The President of the United States signs the joint resolution and the territory is
acknowledged as a U.S. State.” Quote from the Internet.
We have already implemented the initial steps:
* The territory held a referendum in which 61% of the voters expressed their desire
* The Legislature of Puerto Rico has submitted a Concurrent Resolution to Congress
requesting admission of Puerto Rico as the next State of the Union.
* Both our form of government and constitution are in full compliance with the US
Constitution. After all, our actual Constitution is a Law of Congress.
However, we respectfully ask Congress to examine our present Constitution to determine
if any cosmetic changes are required to be made in recognition of the sovereignty of the State and
the full intergation of Puerto Rico into the constitutional system; also, Congress should make the
necessary amendments for that purpose, produce the necessary Enabling Act and submit both
documents for final approval by the US Citizens of Puerto Rico.
Should there be a need to negotiate with the People of Puerto Rico anything related to its
final admission as the next State of the Union, a Special Status Commission should be created for
that purpose and elected by the direct vote of the People. Our elected officials do not have such
authorization from the People; neither were they elected for that purpose.
In this plebiscite we even went beyond the above process by explicitly voting against
maintaining the territorial condition as our political status. The “consent of the governed”
principle applied to the territorial status has been formally rejected by a majority of the US
Citizens in Puerto Rico. Such a rejection, of such an important principle in our constitutional
system, imposes upon Congress the responsibility to act immediately according to the will of the
US Citizens in Puerto Rico.
Thus, I urgently request from you, Members of Congress, through your Resources
Committees, to take the necessary steps to admit Puerto Rico as the next State of the Union. The
process was started a long time ago by Congress and what remains to be done is very simple:
Amend the local Constitution and prepare an Enabling Act for whatever is needed, have both
documents approved by the People of Puerto Rico and admit the new State.
Please welcome Puerto Rico as the New State of the United States of America. We
should have done this a long time ago.
Mario E. Porrata
Alliance For Full Statehood For Puerto Rico
THE CONGRESS OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
ABOUT THIS PLEBISCITE
The structure of this plebiscite was suggested in the President’s Task Force Report of
2005 with the objective to produce a clear and unbiased result on the solution of the political
status problem of the People of Puerto Rico.
The structure of this plebiscite was first suggested in the President’s Task Force Report on
the Political Status of Puerto Rico of 2005. :
The Task Force recognizes that the authority under the U.S. Constitution to establish a
permanent non-territorial status for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico rests with
Congress. Although the current territorial status may continue so long as Congress
desires, there are only two non-territorial options recognized by the U.S. Constitution
that establish a permanent status between the people of Puerto Rico and the Government
of the United States. • One is statehood. Under this option, Puerto Rico would become the
51st State with standing equal to the other 50 States. • The other is independence. Under
this option, Puerto Rico would become a separate, independent sovereign nation. The
democratic will of the Puerto Rican people is paramount for the future status of the
territory. Ideally, the process should begin with an expression from the people of Puerto
Rico on whether to maintain current territorial status or establish a permanent nonterritorial
status with regard to the United States. The popular will of the people should
be ascertained in a way that provides clear guidance for future action by Congress.
Therefore, the following are the recommendations of the Task Force: 1. The Task
Force recommends that Congress within a year provide for a Federally sanctioned
plebiscite in which the people of Puerto Rico will be asked to state whether they wish to
remain a U.S. Territory subject to the will of Congress or to pursue a Constitutionally
viable path toward a permanent non-territorial status with the United States. Congress
should provide for this plebiscite to occur on a date certain. 2. The Task Force
recommends that if the people of Puerto Rico elect to pursue a permanent non
territorial status, Congress should provide for an additional plebiscite allowing the
people of Puerto Rico to choose between one of the two permanent non-territorial
Once the people have selected one of the two options, Congress is encouraged to
begin a process of transition toward that option. 3. If the people elect to remain as a
territory, the Task Force recommends, consistent with the 1992 memorandum of President
Bush, that a plebiscite occur periodically, as long as that status continues, to keep
Congress informed of the people’s wishes. ( My emphasis).
The Task Force realized that the results of previous plebiscites were confusing because
the option chosen by the People would be operational under the territorial condition, in which
case the status problem would not be solved. So, the Task Force devised a two phased plebiscite
which set out to determine, first and foremost, if the people really wanted to solve the problem;
if so, there had to be an explicit disapproval of the territorial condition, which was never
discussed in previous plebiscites and was the cause of the problem. Thus the question whether
the People wished to maintain its territorial political status was essential to the process.
The plebiscite just held was also structured as a two phased process, with a small
variation from that recommended by the Task Force, in which two questions were asked: In the
first question, the People were asked if they wished to maintain their actual territorial status. The
People were asked to chose between two answers: YES or NO. This question had the intention
of determining whether the People of Puerto Rico wished to solve their political status stalemate.
THE CONGRESS OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The results of previous plebiscites did not answer this question, though they implied that the
answer was in the negative. The Task Force wanted an explicit response.
In the second question of this plebiscite, if the People wished to solve their political status
situation with permanent formulas, they could express their preference for either full statehood,
full independence, or independence in association with the United States.
The validity of the results of the second question depended on the results of the first
question. If the People opted to remain under the territorial condition, the second question
became merely a survey, with no legal mandate. However, if the People opted for an end to the
territorial condition, then the results of the second question became a mandate to pursue and
implement its results.
The Task Force of 2005 was well aware that the People of Puerto Rico were
manipulated to vote in such a way that the plebiscites previously held would be useless.
The results of the previous plebiscites did not produce a solution to the political status
problem of Puerto Rico, because they were structured to be useless, by offering unconstitutional
options, over which Congress could only act in an unconstitutional manner. The Task Force
Report of 2005 stated the following:
Some have proposed a “New Commonwealth” status. Under this proposal, the island
would become anautonomous, nonterritorial, non-State entity in permanent union with
the United States under a covenant that could not be altered without the“mutual consent”
of Puerto Rico and the federal Government. The U.S. Constitution, however, does not
allow for such an arrangement. For entities under the sovereignty of the United States,the
only constitutional options are to be a State or territory. As the U.S. Supreme Court stated
in 1879, “All territory within the jurisdiction of the United States not included in any
State must necessarily be governed by or under the authority of Congress” (First Nat.
Bank v. Yankton County, 101 U.S. 129, 133 (1879)).
The structure of this plebiscite has been attacked by the enemies of a status solution as
being pre-ordained to produce a result against, not the actual territorial status, but against the
“Estado Libre Asociado mejorado” which they called “enhanced commonwealth.” Those that so
argue, however, have proven to be anti-statehood citizens who have held the status issue on hold
until their desire for independence materializes.
There is a trick to this argument that has worked in the past and needs to be denounced.
The trick has consisted of offering an unconstitutional territorial condition under the disguise of
an “enhanced commonwealth” that cannot be, (which did not solve the status problem), against
full statehood and independence, (which did solve the status problem). The offer takes the form
of a “special form of statehood” under the territorial status that appeals to the voters and
provokes a favorable vote in plebiscites. The result is a vote for an unconstitutional political
status that only leads to confusion, voids the plebiscite and creates a stalemate. In the end, the
plebiscite is rendered useless and the territorial status remains. ( In the plebiscite of 1993, the
territorial status, under the disguise of “enhanced commonwealth,” or better – “Estado Libre
Asociado,” won with a plural majority of 49% of the vote, against statehood and independence,
where 51% of the voters opted for non-territorial options).
Another issue involved partisan politics. Previous plebiscites were conducted along
political party lines, ignoring the real issues surrounding the political status. The People voted
according to the orders given by the political parties and their leaders, without any concern for
the consequences. Such attitude explains why many people voted for an unconstitutional option
called “enhanced commonwealth.”
THE CONGRESS OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Task Force of 2005 understood these situations and decided on a more decisive and
conclusive process as explained before. So, t
he truth is that this plebiscite was the product of the
Task Force of 2005 and not of a local design. The Task Force did not have a pre-ordained result
in mind. They really wanted to know the truth: Do they want to solve the status issue by
abandoning the territorial condition? If so, how?
The structure suggested by the Task Force of 2005 was adopted by the Puerto Rico
legislature in this recent plebiscite of 2012 with little variation. Everyone had the chance to vote
in both questions; therefore, those that primarily wished to maintain the present territorial status,
could still vote for a permanent solution in the second question, just in case their territorial
preference lost in the first question. It was an all inclusive and decisive process.
The first question in this plebiscite allowed the People to discuss their real status under
the territorial condition. And a significant sector of the People finally understood their
By inserting a reference to our real political status as a territory of the United States in the
first question, the People began asking “what’s that”? The People also asked “where is our
Estado Libre Asociado”? For the first time in the history of Puerto Rican plebiscites, the People
started to discuss our real political status as a territory of the United States.
As the People of Puerto Rico have come to realize that such a “special form of statehood”
does not exist, and that Puerto Rico has never ceased to be a territory of the United States, in the
first question of the just conducted plebiscite 54% of the voters explicitly decided that, as
American citizens, they did not want to maintain the territorial condition as their political status.
This decision is an explicit mandate from the People to reverse the principle of the
“compact,” that is, a territorial status “with the consent of the People”, under the territorial clause
of the US Constitution. As citizens who cherish their US citizenship and are loyal to the Union,
they want to be treated in the same fashion as any US citizen in the several States.
In the second question, the People of Puerto Rico were asked to express their preference
for a permanent solution to the political status among permanent options: Statehood or
Independence. Statehood was presented as such. But independence was presented in two
variations: Full independence, or independence under an option of free association. This second
variation of independence was wrongly called “Estado Libre Asociado Soberano,” which
confused many people: They thought this option meant a vote for their “enhanced
commonwealth.” Had they been properly instructed that such a vote required independence first,
the 33% vote this option got would have been drastically reduced because Puerto Ricans do not
Sixty one percent (61%) of the voters opted for full statehood as it applies to all the
Citizens of the several States.
In this plebiscite there were no gimmicks or promises of unconstitutional nature. An
important sector of the population did not allow itself to be dragged into oblivion by lies and
false claims like “the best of two worlds.”
In this plebiscite the People finally rejected the offer of a “super status” under the
American flag. In other words, most of the People in Puerto Rico have learned, the hard way,
that they cannot have a territory of the US with “irrevocable US Citizenship,” yet with sovereign
powers that properly belong in the Constitution of the United States and not in the Constitutions
of the several States (like the power to conduct international relations on its own, in violation of
the US Constitution).
That is how the People of Puerto Rico, natural born US Citizens, were induced to vote for
THE CONGRESS OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
in previous plebiscites. Such unconstitutional options, under the territorial condition, were
presented to the People of Puerto Rico during the plebiscites of 1967 and 1993. The political
status formula was called “enhanced commonwealth” and was portrayed as better than full
statehood or full independence. It was also called “the best of two worlds” (meaning the best of
independence and statehood, combined).
In those plebiscites the People were further assured that such an unconstitutional formula
could be easily obtained by convincing Congress that all that was required was “congressional
political will to grant it.” The theory was that the US Constitution applies to the States, but that
Congress has ample powers to do what it wants with the “Estado Libre Asociado,” including
decisions outside the US Constitution. Once those powers were granted, they claimed, the
territorial condition would not change and all benefits from Congress would remain intact.
And in the plebiscite of 1998, followers of the Popular Democratic Party boycotted the
process because their “enhanced commonwealth” was not included. (Many people also opposed
the plebiscite because we had just been hit by hurricane Georges. That’s why voters of all colors
opted for the None of the Above option).
It can be readily seen that “the commonwealth,” as is known in Congress, did not actually
win those plebiscites. In fact, the “commonwealth” as is known to Congress has never, ever won
a plebiscite in Puerto Rico. Rather, the option that won was a “special form of statehood” that
cannot be had because it is unconstitutional.
“If the quality of the process cannot be diminished, let’s diminish the results.” That’s
what followers of “Estado Libre Asociado” are now claiming after losing the plebiscite. So, a
new statistical parameter is born: the blank vote!
Actually, and realistically, a blank vote does not exist; a blank ballot does exist. First of
all, ballots are provided for every possible voter; and for every voter that does not sign-up to
vote, a blank ballot will result. Further, voters may sign up to vote and submit their ballots blank.
Still further, voters may invalidate their ballots by making illegal marks, in protest or by mere
acts of foolishness. To the best of my knowledge, such ballots have never been counted in Puerto
Rico to determine the winners/losers of a particular electoral event, be it an election or a
plebiscite. The only votes that have ever been unconditionally counted have been those explicitly
marked, irrespective of their quantities.
In this plebiscite the first question was answered by 1,798,987 actual voters, which
comprise 74.87% of registered voters (2,402,941). They also account for 95.74% of signed-up
voters (1,878,969). 54% of the actual voters (970,910) expressed their wish not to continue
under the territorial condition. Therefore, any future plebiscite could only include the two
options left under the Constitution of the United States for a territory: Statehood and
Such “future plebiscite” took place in the second question, which was answered by
1,363,854 actual voters, which comprise 56.76% of registered voters. They also account for
72.59% of signed-up voters. 61.16% of the actual voters (834,191) in the second question
expressed their wish to make Puerto Rico a State of the Union.
Statehood opponents have tried to dilute such an overwhelming vote in favor of statehood
by demanding that blank ballots be counted as part of the universe of the actual voters in the first
question. There were 435,133 less votes in the second question than in the first.This would
require that blank ballots be counted as votes, thus creating “ex post facto” a fourth option in the
second question because the will of those voters cannot be assigned to any of the three original
options. Such action would be clearly unconstitutional, unfair and a clear contradiction to the
principle of “one man, one vote.”
THE CONGRESS OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Mario Esteban Porrata Colón
Statehood Advocate For
Colegio Ponceño de Varones – Marianists School.
Bachelor’s Degree: BBA
Catholic University of Puerto Rico
Master’s Degree: MBA
St. John’s University, Queens, NY
Computer Systems and Programming:
Digital Equipment Corporation
1968-1970 Professor at Catholic University of Puerto Rico
1970-2012 Small Business Owner
PUERTO RICO POLITICAL STATUS DISCUSSION
1970-present Numerous letters to the editor in local media
1970-present Several articles on the political status of Puerto Rico
2001-2004 Participant in weekly radio program in WAPA Radio
2005-2012 Host in two weekly radio programs in NotiUno Radio
2001-2003 Directed the collection of 62,500 statehood petitions and delivered them to
Congress with a group of colaborators.
2002 Published first book: “Estado Libre Asociado, 50 Años de Engaños:
Nos robaron la estadidad y se la atribuyeron al ELA.”
2005 Published second book: “Puerto Rico 101: La Decisión Final.”
2010 Published third book: “El Engaño Del ELA Se Acabó.”