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by Franklin D. López, former United Press International  and The Associated Press News-writer. (former Ethnic Affairs director for the Carter-Mondale presidential campaign.)

The profile and the lifestyles of Hispanics or Latinos are more in line with the conservative political philosophy of conservatives. We are very religious, we treasured and protect the family and solidarity is part of our gene baggage. The United States government must see the admission of the territory of Puerto Rico as a matter o great importance to our national Security. The admission of the Caribbean territory will send a very strong constant wind that the “Lighthouse of Democracy” admits as equal a state with a majority Hispanic population. It is very relevant to mention that Puerto Rican registered voters give the highest intensity, in terms of electoral priority, to the admission of Puerto Rico as a state of the union than to any other political issue. Congresswoman Ileana Roth Lehsiten wrote a very revealing commentary published by the Orlando Sentinel which emphasizes the importante of the Central Florida corridor Puerto Rican voters in presidential election, here is a quote from that commentary:

“My party, the Republican Party, cannot win Florida without winning Central Florida. And we can no longer win Central Florida without carrying a high enough percentage of this Puerto Rican “diaspora” vote. Central Florida has been decisive for every Republican presidential candidate since 1992. In every election where the Republican presidential candidate wins 50% or more of a dozen key Central Florida counties, he wins the state and the presidency. When the GOP candidate for president fails to do so, he loses Florida and the White House.

As Central Florida goes, so goes the road to the White House. The margins can be razor-thin. Donald Trump won those dozen Central Florida with 50.2 percent in 2016, and therefore won the state and the presidency. Mitt Romney did very well with 49.8 percent in 2012, but that small difference cost him Florida where it did not for Trump.

We’ve also seen the importance of Central Florida and its Puerto Rican diaspora population in recent Florida statewide elections. In 2018, Sen. Rick Scott embraced the cause of Puerto Rican statehood and quickly made up the deficit among self-identified PuertoRican voters. While Sen. Bill Nelson was on the record in favor of Puerto Rican statehood, he had to temper that position given the overwhelming support he also had among those who were strongly opposed to statehood. Nelson paid the price for this in Central Florida, losing to Scott in the crucial dozen counties by a relative landslide — 2 full percentage points, 51-49.

The Puerto Rican “diaspora” voters of Central Florida have a strong preference and intensity for PuertoRican statehood. You can’t win Central Florida without clearing this hurdle with enough Puerto Ricans who live there. You can’t win Florida without winning Central Florida. And for Trump, you can’t win the White House without winning Florida.”

But the political force of Puerto Ricans in National elections is not limited to Florida: They could be the deciding voting block in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey Please see this revealing electoral data map: https://www.pewresearch.org/2020/09/23/the-changing-racial-and-ethnic-composition-of-the-u-s-electorate/ .

But besides the ever present political interest in ethnic voting blocks the admission of Puerto Rico as a state of the union brings many extraordinary attributes to the union of states. for Example:

  1. China has made formidable inroads with South American dictators with it “Open wallet China is building and Island in Venezuelan waters disguised as commercial port but  with capabilities for a strong Naval operation. In fact a Beijing law firm used by the Chinese government to acquire strategic properties Worldwide, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU)  with the Puerto Rican government under Ricardo Rosselló to”lease” the U. S Naval complex of Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba, Puerto Rico with 8,000 acres of facilities built by the U.S. Navy at a cost of more than  $ 800 million dollars of U.S.A. taxpayers monies. Puerto Rico’s admission to the Union will bring tons of trust from Latin American countries who mistrust United States Policies toward the region supporting military and dictatorial regimes. The Admission of Puerto Rico will send  strong and clear message of rebuilding trust.

2). Washington politicians have no idea the goodwill that will be generated by the facts of the United States admitting to the union of state a Spanish Speaking state. This “good will” will pave the road for a new relationship of the United States with Latin America which has a $4.3 trillions dollars economy. Just look at the urban transformation of southern  and central Florida generated by the billions of dollars invested by Latin Americans creating thousands of well paying jobs.

3) Based on the high intensity that the statehood cause has with Puerto Rican voters in Florida in the results of the poll done for the Orlando Sentinel and quoted by Congressperson Ileana Roth Lehtinen  “the national party that takes the leadership in moving the legislation in Congress admitting the territory as the 51st or 52nd state of the Union it will provide the party with two democratic or two Republican U.S. senators and 4 member of the House of Representaives” providing the occupant of The White House with enough votes in the senate to move his or her public policy agenda”.

4) The national goodwill that the national party that lead the fight for the admission of the territory huge with the 60.6 millions Latino strong population.

5) The National party that neglects handling this matter will have lethal consequences at the ballot box in 2022 and 2024.

6) The deep waters around  Puerto Rico are rich with nodules of manganese, listed as a vital national security mineral. Puerto Rico is rich with many vital minerals that will provide an advantage to our Nation in it’s national security.

7) Finally, the experience of Population gains of Hawaii should served as an example to be followed by Puerto Rico. The archipelago is currently suffering the devastation of two category five hurricane and sequence of earthquakes. Since 2009,  Puerto Rico lost 500,000 inhabitants that joined the 6 million plus in the lower 48. The massive exodus is continuing changing the national political, landscape, particularly in the so called “battle ground states.” When Hawaii entered the union in 1959 its had 400,000 inhabitants in 2015 Hawaii had a population o 1.415 million inhabitants a net gain of 1 ,000,000 million. The Gallup organization conducted several polls during the U.S. Senate Committee of Natural Resources in 1991 in Puerto Rico which revealed that 92% of the population of Puerto Rico would moved to the United States if Puerto Rico become a sovereign nation or an associated Republic. But if Puerto Rico becomes a state of the union the PuertoRican on the mainland will return by tens of thousands to their roots, stabilizing it’s economy and providing financial resource for a new PuertoRican economic renaissance. It cost U.S. taxpayers thousands of dollars in providing public services to American citizens from Puerto Rico living in the lower 48 than in Puerto Rico. The issue of Puerto Rico’ statehood should be carefully studied and must no be treated with benign neglect. The People of Puerto Rico have spoken clearly in three status plebiscite. The struggles for political equality  continues  and the cause endures!