Aside

ALLIANCE FOR FULL STATEHOOD FOR PUERTO RICO

 

 

PO Box 669

 

Gurabo, PR 00778

 

787-637-9452

 

alianzaestadidad@aol.com

 

Friday, January 4, 2013

 

THE CONGRESS OF

 

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

Washington, D.C.

 

Via Internet

 

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.

 

1

 

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:

 

2

 

THE CONGRESS OF

 

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

Washington, D.C.

 

“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

 

statehood.

 

* Should a majority vote to seek statehood, the territory petitions the U.S. Congress

 

for statehood.

 

* 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

 

for statehood.

 

* 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.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Mario E. Porrata

 

Alliance For Full Statehood For Puerto Rico

 

THE CONGRESS OF

 

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

Washington, D.C.

 

3

 

APPENDIX A

 

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

 

options.

 

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.

 

4

 

THE CONGRESS OF

 

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

Washington, D.C.

 

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.”

 

5

 

THE CONGRESS OF

 

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

Washington, D.C.

 

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

 

reality.

 

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

 

advocate independence.

 

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

 

6

 

THE CONGRESS OF

 

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

Washington, D.C.

 

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

 

Independence.

 

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.”

 

7

 

THE CONGRESS OF

 

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

Washington, D.C.

 

Mario Esteban Porrata Colón

 

Statehood Advocate For

 

Puerto Rico

 

PROFILE

 

EDUCATION:

 

High School:

 

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

 

Boston, Massachussetts

 

EXPERIENCE

 

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.”

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