Puerto Rico

 

The approved law 600 (P.L. 81-600) by the United States Congress granted the people of Puerto Rico the authority to develop their own State Constitution, like other states, giving them control of their internal governmental activities. Nevertheless, this law has left intact several of the articles under the Jones Law and the Foraker Law, as well as the Paris Treaty (1898). After the Constituent Assembly writes the Constitution, the people ratifies it by means of a referendum. The United States Congress, following the procedure required by the Federal Relations law, approved the Constitution which went into effect on July 25, 1952. During this year, the political community named Commonwealth was established.

It is important to clarify that, even though the Federal Congress has granted the people of Puerto Rico the power to create their local Constitution, it has not revoked the territorial status of the island of Puerto Rico, being until today subject to the plenary powers of Congress.

The republican format of the government mimics the United States Constitution. A governor is in charge of the executive branch, while the two legislative chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives comprise the legislative branch. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico is the last appellate court in the majority of the judicial cases.

Puerto Rico maintains its territorial status within the U.S. Constitution. The U. S. Supreme Court has indicated that Puerto Rico belongs to, but it is not part of the United States.  Therefore, Puerto Rico was constituted as a territory of the United States when the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was created.

The debate regarding the political status of Puerto Rico has been continuous in many local spheres, federal (United States) and international (United Nations). In 2007, a working committee from the White House concluded that Puerto Rico continues to be subject to the authority of the U. S. Congress under the territorial clause.

The new administration of President Obama has ratified in its more recent report, that Puerto Rico continues to be subject to the authority of the Federal Congress. Furthermore, it mentions that the present status does not provide any possibilities for the development of power due to the legal structure of the Federal Constitution, thus reaffirming that one of the options to decolonize is to become independent. The Popular Democratic Party, which founded the commonwealth, reiterates that in 1952 there was a pact between Puerto Rico and the United States that conferred Puerto Rico an autonomous government and excluded it from the list of colonies of the United Nations. The UN Decolonization Committee adopted in October 2008, as an humanitarian effort, a resolution presented by Cuba that ratifies the right of the people of Puerto Rico to free will and independence and requests the United States to accelerate the process in order for the Puerto Ricans to exercise that right.

Based on the history of Puerto Rico and having observed the lack of Federal union to work out certain subjects of common interest, I firmly believe in dialog, far beyond the dialog already accomplished by other Presidents and/or candidates with the people of Puerto Rico. Their feelings, their thoughts and wishes should be heard by the American government. It is not enough to send thousands of young men born in the island as soldiers to every American war. A community is more and should be more than that. Their votes should be heard when Washington is making decisions regarding matters that equally affect a citizen of New York as well as a citizen of Puerto Rico such as health, education, governmental aid, military deployment to name a few of the issues that the people of Puerto Rico presently endures.

I wish for the people of Puerto Rico to be able to take the reigns of their destiny. I wish for them to be able to make decisions in the matters that involve them directly. It is important to be aware of their needs first hand before making decisions that could be harming to their people. I will personally pay attention to the requests of the Puerto Rican people. The American dream has not being realized together and I am not going to be the one turning my back to such noble people. My heart is with you and your history and my government will follow suit.

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