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Puerto Rico State of Secretary says June 11status referendum will be held

By on May 17, 2017

SAN JUAN – Flanked by a strong security presence after his intervention in an activity organized by the Chamber of Commerce, Puerto Rico Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marín said Wednesday that the June 11 political status referendum will be carried out.

“On June 11, Puerto Ricans have two options, either stay as as a colony or to choose among the final solutions-constitutionally valid under international law-that are independence or statehood,” Rivera Marín said, adding that he is in constant communication with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Puerto Rico State Secretary Luis Rivera Marín affirmed the NPP-endorsed political-status plebiscite is still on force, despite opposition from minority parties. (Agustín Criollo/CB)

The secretary said he was confident that U.S. Congress would obey its own directive that orders Gov. Ricardo Rosselló‘s administration to revise the status definitions after the local government decided to leave out the commonwealth option from the referendum, established by the Immediate Decolonization Act.

Rivera Marín said that several weeks ago he personally presented the definitions to the U.S. Justice Department. Previously, the deputy U.S. attorney general had ordered the administration to include the present territorial option. The secretary, however, he said he disagrees with the commonwealth’s inclusion on the ballot, because he believes it doesn’t solve Puerto Rico’s status, which he claimed is the root of many of the island’s problems.

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“The legislature immediately amended the law to include the federal Justice Department’s comments, which, among others, required to include the current territorial status and not offer any guarantees of U.S. citizenship,” he said. There is no room in the referendum for an “improved” commonwealth or an improved territory because it was ruled out constitutionally, he added.

Rivera Marín said the State Department is also in constant communication with the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission (CEE by its Spanish initials), and the referendum’s campaign continues to be promoted. The official also encouraged voters to exercise their right to self-determination.

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