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NPP rep continues islandwide campaign for statehood

By on March 15, 2017

CANÓVANAS – Former Puerto Rico House Speaker José Aponte Hernández continued his campaign in favor of Puerto Rico’s decolonization via statehood by holding a discussion in the municipality of Canóvanas.

Several people, including Canóvanas Mayor Lornna Soto, gathered in home in the Loíza Valley urbanization to listen to the politician, who focused on the importance of equality in job creation, and Puerto Rico’s lack of parity in benefits and funding from federal programs, such as Medicaid.

Since early 2009, Aponte Hernández has travelled throughout the island to hold these sessions in order to promote statehood as the solution to what he calls “Puerto Rico’s centennial [political] status problem.” The New Progressive Party (NPP) legislator also emphasized the need to participate in the June 11 political-status referendum, established by the Immediate Decolonization of Puerto Rico Act, in which voters will choose between “statehood” and “free association/independence.”

“We are in the final stretch toward defining our political affiliation with the United States. The time has come for us to finally eradicate the colonialism virus, which has permeated and put a halt to the development of our beloved island throughout its entire history. Therefore, we [the NPP] are strengthening our campaign in favor of statehood, promoting the people’s mass participation in the June 11 plebiscite,” Aponte Hernández said in a written statement.

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Moreover, the representative scorned the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) for its efforts to amend or boycott the bill, such as former Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá‘s plea to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reject the plebiscite by questioning its legality.

He maintained that “our party’s reason for being is to advocate equality in all aspects, and that includes, chiefly, political equality that can only be achieved by statehood. The Popular Democratic Party has turned to the immobilism that always characterizes it. They would rather chain our people to poverty with their sights on continuing to manage the immoral colony, before all of us seeing a better future.”

PDP officials argue the status referendum is “unconstitutional” because it excludes “hundreds of thousands” of Puerto Ricans who identify with neither statehood nor independence. However, the two status options presented by the party for inclusion in the referendum, “sovereign” and “enhanced” commonwealth, didn’t meet with the non-territorial standards imposed by Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz, who authored the bill (S.B. 51). Meanwhile, the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) says it will participate in the referendum and campaign for decolonization via separation from the United States.

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