NPP demands US Speaker Ryan to act on status referendum results
SAN JUAN — The New Progressive Party (NPP) House delegation addressed a letter Thursday to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), requesting he act on his commitment regarding the June 11 political-status plebiscite’s results.
The letter, signed by Puerto Rico House Speaker Carlos “Johnny” Méndez, stresses that Puerto Ricans have selected admission as a U.S. state as an alternative to solve its colonial condition at the 2012 status plebiscite and the 2016 general elections, in which voters elected Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González and the NPP legislative majority. Since statehood was a pivotal campaign message, their victory, he argued, is “evidence” that Puerto Ricans want annexation.
“The message of the people of Puerto Rico is clear: We want statehood now. It is time to end what President Woodrow Wilson and the 64th Congress began a century ago [with the Jones Act]. The NPP House delegation encourages members of the 115th Congress to act over Puerto Rico’s admission to the United States immediately after the people reaffirm that desire in the June 11 plebiscite. We will end the trajectory that began in 1917 together. It is time to bring justice to the U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico,” Méndez said.
The letter is part of the NPP House delegation’s “One Voice, One New Star” campaign, which seeks to advocate for statehood in the June referendum and establishing direct communication with Congress and the White House.
The initiative surfaced on the same day as the Jones Act’s centennial, which bestowed U.S. citizenship to all island-born Puerto Ricans.
Among other things, the act also developed Puerto Rico’s bicameral system by creating the Senate, and established the resident commissioner position to represent the island before Congress.
“For all effects, we are second-class U.S. citizens, marginalized by geography and politics. This political limbo has limited our economy and society. Simply stated, we don’t have the political tools to shift our economy, to provide our people with a world-class health system or to offer better education,” Méndez added.
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The letter to Ryan says the Jones Act was signed as a transitional step toward a firm and definitive political status, such as statehood.