Colonialism & Segregation is Not an Option to 3.6 Millions American citizens in Puerto Rico
By Franklin D. López
“An Open Letter to Congressman Rob Bishop (R-Utah)”
Equality is the essence of liberty. Equality is a fundamental human right. The Fathers of our Nation’s Constitution and in the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence wrote it so clearly; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Abraham Lincoln successfully led our Nation in a civil war against slavery. He planted the seeds of making
our Nation a beacon of freedom, equality and democracy for the World to emulate. His thoughts on the rights of freedom and equality were very pristine when he said: “Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.”
Every GOP President since Eisenhower has supported and endorsed the right for political equality of the 3.6 millions American citizens residing in the territory of Puerto Rico. Why? For the following reasons:
a) More than 275,000 have served our Nation in wars around the world, precisely defending the rights of freedom and equality that are denied to them (See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4vVT5WPEtA )
b) Puerto Rico pays more Federal taxes than Alaska; Vermont; Montana; Wyoming; South Dakota and North Dakota (See: http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/08/americas-fiscal-union )
c) Puerto Rico has been for many years among the ten largest buyers of United States goods and services creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the states of the Union.
d) There are more than 5 million American citizens from Puerto Rico living in the 50 states because the present political condition denies them the opportunity of seeking the American dream. In fact, since 1952, the year of the “establishment” of the so called “commonwealth status” up to 2012 more than 2.3 millions American citizens left the Puerto Rico to live in our Nation. This trend, according to the U.S. Census will continue and the Island will have in 2050 the same population it had in 1952.
In the edition of Sunday, March 15, 2015 Congressman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said that the territorial status of “commonwealth” should be an option in a process of self-determination in resolving the colonial status we have been living since 1898. The people of Puerto Rico in a referendum held on November 6, 2012 expressed the following on the the status question: Puerto Rican voters were asked two questions: (1) whether they agreed to continue with Puerto Rico’s territorial status and (2) to indicate the political status they preferred from three possibilities: statehood, independence, or a sovereign nation in free association with the United States. 970,910 (54.00%) voted “No” on the first question, expressing themselves against maintaining the current political status, and 828,077 (46.00%) voted “Yes”, to maintain the current political status. Of those who answered on the second question 834,191 (61.11%) chose statehood, 454,768 (33.34%) chose free association, and 74,895 (5.55%) chose independence.
Congressman Bishop ignores the democratically expressed in the ballot electoral mandate of the People of Puerto Rico against the territorial, the segregated colonial status. He also ignores the 61% of the votes requesting political equality. Our 275,000 Americans, yes Congressman Bishop, American citizens from Puerto Rico sacrificed in battlegrounds through out the World defending liberty, freedom and democracy, and thousands paid the ultimate price by giving their lives since World War I, it is bizarre to continue with the old policies of the past of defending colonialism. Denying equality to those who protected your rights Congressman Bishop to the freedom and liberty you enjoy, is nothing short but endorsing the segregation and a neo-apartheid colonial regime in Puerto Rico.
When you read that Puerto Rico contributes more Federal taxes to the Nation than more than 6 states of the Union and we have no representation with vote in Congress and we cannot vote for our President and Vice president is like revisiting the roots of the American Revolution when in Boston the voice of “Taxation without Representation” was first heard in the World. Puerto Rico is going through it’s most defining moment with an economic crisis of biblical proportions. In the last two years 200,000 have moved to the South; Atlantic and Midwest states. The massive population exodus will increase further when the colonial government implements a Value Added Tax during a depression making Puerto Rico the most expensive area to live in the 50 states of the Union.
Congressman Bishop to support colonialism in the 21st century is to support inequality; segregation and taxation without representation. Would you be willing to ask the People of the Great State of Utah to resign their statehood and equality status and become a territory of the United States like Puerto Rico is today? Would you? The only path for Puerto Rico is political equality. The Hawaiian statehood experience is our model.
We want for our 3.6 millions American citizens the same rights and obligations of any of the 50 states of the Union. We want to have the same rights of equality and freedoms that Martin Luther King so gallantly fought for when he said; “Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.” Equality now for Puerto Rico! End colonialism and segregation in Puerto Rico!