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Puerto Rico status controversy spreads roots in Washington

By on February 12, 2017

SAN JUAN — The ongoing controversy regarding future political relations between Puerto Rico and the United States is spreading its roots in Congress, and both statehood and commonwealth advocates are sure they will prevail against the other.

Former governor and commonwealth supporter Aníbal Acevedo Vilá said that the federal senators he has spoken to are incredulous over the status referendum endorsed by Ricardo Rosselló’s administration, labeling it as exclusive for leaving aside a notable ideological sector from the island.

The Popular Democratic Party (PDP) affiliate affirmed he is confident that the plebiscite won’t be approved in Congress, and cautioned statehood opposers to mobilize against that status option because that would spark the beginning of a series of referendums that would give the U.S. the impression that statehood receives ample support locally, he said.

See also: Acevedo Vilá: Party presidency bid goes beyond status referendum

Meanwhile, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González told Caribbean Business that her government’s strategy has been carefully coordinated with sectors that are now in power at the U.S. government, and she is certain the referendum will be backed by Congress, “and that is what we are working for.”

She emphasized her good relations with federal legislators, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), whose presidential aspiration was approved in the local primaries for the Republican Party. González also stated she has good relations with leaders from important legislative commissions, including from her designation to congressional committees, such as the committee that attends veterans’ affairs and the U.S. House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs.

“Our plan has been carefully developed, and we have taken into account many recommendations from people who now hold key positions,” said the resident commissioner, in contrast to Acevedo Vilá’s statements.

See also: Rosselló emphasizes historic importance of status referendum act

The new administration approved the Law for the Immediate Decolonization of Puerto Rico, which establishes the rules for plebiscites that comply with the U.S. government’s proposal in the Public Act 113-76 of 2014, with status alternatives that are final, permanent, non-colonial, and non-territorial; compatible with the U.S. Constitution, laws, and policies, as the bill states.

If statehood prevails, there would be a transition commission to make efforts in Washington, D.C. so the federal government may activate a process in favor of annexation. This procedure would be accompanied by another bill filed by the resident commissioner in Congress to grant statehood to Puerto Rico.

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