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Velazquez Introduces Puerto Rico Self-Determination

Velázquez Introduces Puerto Rico Self-Determination
February 27, 2007
Press Release

WASHINGTON –Today, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) were joined by Puerto Rico’s Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, and introduced the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2007, providing the people of Puerto Rico a fair process to help them reach a democratic consensus on the future of the island.

“Any proposal regarding the future of Puerto Rico must first come from Puerto Ricans,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez.  “Self-determination needs to come from the people of the island, to do otherwise would be tampering with their free will.” 

The continuing debate surrounding the status of Puerto Rico has attracted numerous proposals from members of Congress.  While many of these bills are well intentioned, they do not provide the citizens of Puerto Rico with a direct mechanism to be involved in the deliberations of the status process from beginning to end. 

The Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2007 provides the people of Puerto Rico a democratic process to self determination by encouraging a path of dialogue and consensus.  A Constitutional Convention, comprised of delegates elected by the people of Puerto Rico, will adopt a self-determination option, which then must be ratified by the people of Puerto Rico before beingconsidered by Congress.

This bill is unlike other legislative initiatives in that it provides a fair process that includes several checks and balances and affords time for debate, negotiation and consensus building in Puerto Rico.  It also allows Puerto Ricans who do not reside on the island, but in the United States, to participate in this self determination process.

“The bill my colleagues and I are introducing today, with the full support of the Governor of Puerto Rico, encourages a fair, unbiased, comprehensive, democratic process for the people of Puerto Rico,” said Congresswoman Velazquez.  “It is for them, not Congress, to determine their status.  Congress should not act until Puerto Ricans decide this issue democratically.” 

The Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2007 is cosponsored by Reps.: Gutierrez, Wicker, Duncan, Rangel, Conyers, Oberstar, Costello, Solis, Sires, Sanford Bishop, Honda, Jackson-Lee, Tom Udall, Meeks, Fattah, DeFazio, Christensen and Faleomavega.