(June 15, 2017 – Washington, D.C.) The Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, alongside Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González and Secretary of State Luis G. Rivera Marín, visited the nation’s capital to report on the results of the plebiscite held last Sunday, June 11, in Puerto Rico where statehood obtained 97% of the support of voters against the other status options.
The governor and the Resident Commissioner delivered the results to the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Organization of American States (OAS).
“As part of the democratic exercise of this past Sunday on our Island, we are making sure today that Congress and other international bodies, like the OAS, receive the message that the people of Puerto Rico are claiming their equal rights as American citizens. It will be up to this new generation of Puerto Ricans to demand and claim the end of the current improper colonial relationship, and begin a transition process to fully incorporate Puerto Rico as the next state of the Union,” expressed Rosselló.
“A majority of Puerto Ricans support equality in permanent union with the United States and on Sunday that was ratified for the second time. A new generation now marches to have Puerto Rico join as a state, under the same principles and values that define us all as American Citizens. Now the responsibility to allow for the Island’s admission process is in the hands of Congress. The time has come for equality for Puerto Rico, for our veterans who have served courageously, and all who live there,” stated Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón.
During the visit, the Governor was joined by U.S. Representatives Don Young (R-Alaska) and Darren Soto (D-Florida), both members of the Observers Mission that traveled to Puerto Rico to oversee the electoral process.
In recent days, Rep. Young expressed his support for the result of the consultation and that he will be “working hard” so that the people of Puerto Rico are heard.
Similarly, Rep. Soto stated that “by an overwhelming margin, they have voted to become full partners in our great country. They have voted for statehood. I said I would respect and fight for their wishes, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. This is now a matter of civil rights and equality. These Americans serve in our military, pay federal taxes, and meet their obligations as citizens, and Congress should respect their wishes.”
Meanwhile, the director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, Carlos Mercader, added: “Our main goal is to end colonialism in Puerto Rico and a political status that has limited the progress of our people. We are doing everything within our reach to attain equal rights for the 3.4 million United States citizens that reside in the island.”
The Governor met in the morning with the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, to inform him of the will of the people of Puerto Rico expressed at the polls.
Part of the mission of the OAS is to “contribute to the strengthening of political processes in the OAS member states, and in particular to support democracy as the best option to ensure peace, security, and development.”
In addition to Reps. Young and Soto, there have been several members of Congress who have made statements following the results of last Sunday’s consultation.
Congressman José E. Serrano (D-New York) remarked that “the results of the plebiscite held yesterday (Sunday) in Puerto Rico, combined with those of the 2012 referendum where voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of ending Puerto Rico’s territorial status, show that a vast majority of the population wants change.”
The Democratic Minority Whip in the House of Representatives, Steny H. Hoyer (D-Maryland) said that “the voters who participated in Puerto Rico’s status referendum expressed an unambiguous desire to continue seeking a future in common with the United States as an equal member of our union. I hope Congress and the Administration will listen to those voices and enable Puerto Rico to become the fifty-first state. Its people – already American citizens – deserve full and equal representation in the Congress and equal treatment by federal agencies.”
Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (D-Florida) commended Puerto Rico for “holding a vote on its future political status. The ballot was fair and those who voted overwhelmingly chose statehood. In our democracy, only those who show up to vote get counted. I will always support equality through statehood for the 3.4 million American citizens that reside in Puerto Rico. Given their contributions to our nation in times of war and peace for well over a century, they deserve to have the same rights and responsibilities as their fellow citizens l
And finally, Congressman Joaquín Castro (D-Texas) communicated that “Puerto Rico should be admitted as a state.”
From the executive branch, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at a press briefing on Monday that “the people have spoken in Puerto Rico, this is something that Congress has to address,” in reference to the political status.