- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 10, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The editorial on the Puerto Rico Democracy Act (“Puerto Rican run,” Editorial, Feb. 26), contrary to what one of the “statehood” representatives of the island wrote, did not miss the mark on overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation moving through the U.S. House.

Indeed, H.R. 2499 is the wrong way for Congress to address our political status issue because it is not a fair and democratic process of self-determination. The bill would set forth a predisposed process designed to get rid of the commonwealth option in order to steer the people of Puerto Rico toward a predetermined outcome in favor of statehood. H.R. 2499 is an unusual two-round process in which the first round is a yes-or-no vote limited to the commonwealth option. Although in theory, this might be a fair question, it allows the supporters of the historical second and third choices - statehood and independence - to consolidate their forces by voting “no,” thereby defeating commonwealth supporters. With the commonwealth option defeated, the second round would be limited to statehood, independence and the recently added option of free association, a nondescript “sovereignty in association with the United States.”

H.R. 2499 is unfair and undemocratic. This proposed legislation is truly an effort to disenfranchise Puerto Rican voters and obstruct a real democratic process to address the perennial controversy of the political status of the island. The so-called self-determination process is really a scheme designed by the pro-statehood leaders, a faction that has lost every previous status referendum on the island.

If anyone wants to propose statehood for Puerto Rico, let him come forward and propose it. Anyone who consciously favors H.R. 2499 has no historic memory or no shame. In electoral events held 1952, 1967, 1993 and 1998, our people defeated the statehood and independence options by a clear margin.

In Puerto Rico, there is no national support for this bill, as it is openly opposed by two of the three main political parties in the Island. Any information that has misled anyone to think otherwise is inaccurate.

As the senator who obtained the highest number of votes during the electoral process, as one of the main political figures of the Popular Democratic Party and as a member of the Senate Political Status Committee, I want to express my full opposition to H.R. 2499. I look forward to Congress acting fairly and responsibly in addressing this issue. It should not endorse a twisted voting process, nor allow for a statehood petition without first conducting the proper fiscal studies and analyses. Congress should allow that process to conclude before committing itself to H.R. 2499.

SEN. ALEJANDRO GARCIA PADILLA

Puerto Rico Senate

San Juan, Puerto Rico

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