Reaffirming the Right of the People of Puerto Rico to Exercise a Full Self-Government Choice through a Plebiscite

WHEREAS, the League of United Latin American Citizens is this nation’s oldest and largest Latino organization, founded in Corpus Christi, Texas on February 17, 1929; and

WHEREAS, LULAC throughout its history has committed itself to the principles that Latinos have equal access to opportunities in employment, education, housing and healthcare; and

WHEREAS, the principles of self-determination, government by consent, and majority rule have been integral and fundamental elements of America’s political life since our Declaration of Independence; and

WHEREAS, the community of four million Hispanic Americans politically organized as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is deprived of proportional and voting representation in Congress, and cannot participate in the election of the President and Vice President, despite its residents being natural-born citizens of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, being a territory of the United States, is subject to the plenary powers of Congress under the Territory Clause of the United States Constitution; and

WHEREAS, Puerto Rico's political status allows Congress to treat the residents of Puerto Rico differently than the American citizens that reside in the States.-Of the Union; and

WHEREAS, Puerto Rico’s territorial status has not changed since the United States acquired the Islands in 1898 and the final and permanent political status of Puerto Rico remains unresolved; and

WHEREAS, the 2008 Democratic National Convention affirmed "that the people of Puerto Rico have the right to the political status of their choice obtained through a fair, neutral, and democratic process of self-determination;" and

WHEREAS, the 2008 Republican National Convention affirmed the right of the American citizens residing in Puerto Rico "to seek the full extension of the Constitution, with all the political rights and responsibilities it entails" and supported that, "[a]s long as Puerto Rico is not a state" the will of the people of Puerto Rico "regarding their political status should be ascertained by means of a general right of referendum or specific referenda;" and

WHEREAS, the 2011 Report by the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status recommended that a plebiscite process be carried-out to ensure that the American citizens residing in Puerto Rico can express their will about status options; and

WHEREAS, the 2011 Report by the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status has recognized that the people of Puerto Rico have two basic options regarding their political status: "to establish, for some period of time, that they have chosen no change in status"; or, if they wish a different political status, to choose among "the permissible status options" of statehood, independence and free association; and

WHEREAS, after extensive consultations with the major political parties, and with the support of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), the Governor of Puerto Rico proposed a two-part plebiscite that will ask voters whether they want to continue with the current territorial status or choose among the non-territorial status options of statehood, independence and political association with the United States in separate sovereignty (free association); and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the League of United Latin American Citizens hereby:
1. Supports the right of the American citizens of Puerto Rico to exercise their right to self-determination as a means to achieve full self-government;
2. Recognizes that only means for the people of Puerto Rico to achieve full self-government is to choose in a plebiscite a final and permanent political status to which the Territory Clause of the Constitution shall be inapplicable;
3. Supports the right of the people of Puerto Rico to choose by majority vote between continuing with the current territorial arrangement or achieving a full measure of self-government through one of three options: admission as a state of the Union, independence, and free association;
4. Endorses the plebiscite process proposed by the Governor of Puerto Rico as a fair, transparent and swift process that makes possible that the people of Puerto Rico achieve a final and permanent solution to the political status question in a manner consistent with the principles of self-determination, government by consent and majority rule, as well as the recommendations contained in the 2011 Report by the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Political Status and Resolution 1541(XV) of the United Nations General Assembly.
5. Affirms that the achievement of full self-government by the American citizens of Puerto Rico will expand opportunities and further the cause of political empowerment for all Hispanic Americans across the Nation; and
6. Calls upon Congress and the President of the United States to implement the status choice of the People of Puerto Rico as expressed by the simple majority of the voters in the aforesaid plebiscite process; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution, suitably engrossed, be transmitted to the Office of the President of the United States and to every Member of Congress

Approved this 1st day of July 2011.

Margaret Moran
LULAC National President

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