Page 1       TOP OF DOC
43–229 l




before the





H.R. 856—United States-Puerto Rico's Political Status Act


Serial No. 105–27

 Page 2       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
Printed for the use of the Committee on Resources


DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman

W.J. (BILLY) TAUZIN, Louisiana
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
KEN CALVERT, California
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
LINDA SMITH, Washington
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
 Page 3       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
RICK HILL, Montana

EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
BRUCE F. VENTO, Minnesota
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
SAM FARR, California
 Page 4       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
ADAM SMITH, Washington
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
CHRIS JOHN, Louisiana
RON KIND, Wisconsin

LLOYD A. JONES, Chief of Staff
CHRISTINE KENNEDY, Chief Clerk/Administrator
JOHN LAWRENCE, Democratic Staff Director
T.E. MANASE MANSUR, Republican Professional Staff
MARIE FABRIZIO-HOWARD, Democratic Professional Staff


    Hearing held April 21, 1997

Statement of Members:
Miller, Hon. George, a Representative in Congress from the State of California
Romero-Barceló, Hon. Carlos, a Resident Commissioner in Congress from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Underwood, Hon. Robert A., a Delegate in Congress from the Territory of Guam
Young, Hon. Don, a Representative in Congress from the State of Alaska; and Chairman, Committee on Resources
 Page 5       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
Prepared statement of
Closing remarks of

Statement of Witnesses:
Alzamora, Hon. Antonio J. Fas, Minority Leader of the Senate-Popular Democratic Party, Senate of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Aponte, Hon. Nestor S., Representative, Puerto Rico House of Representatives, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Borges, Hector Quijano, Association of Statehood Attorneys, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Calderon, Hon. Sila M., Mayor, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Colberg-Toro, Hon. Severo E., Representative, Puerto Rico House of Representatives, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Fernos-Lopez, Gonzalo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Ferrer, Dr. Miriam J. Ramirez de, MD, President, Puerto Ricans in Civic Action, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Font, Hon. Jorge de Castro, Representative, Puerto Rico House of Representatives, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Gallisa, Carlos, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico
 Page 6       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
Prepared statement of
Gerena, Hon. Julio Cesar Lopez, Mayor of Huacao, Humacao, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Gonzalez, Hon. Ferdinand Lugo, Representative, Puerto Rico House of Representatives, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Guzman, Mr. Arturo J., Chairman, I.D.E.A. of Puerto Rico, Inc., San Juan, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Hernandez-Arana, Efrain, Lehigh Acres, Florida, prepared statement of
Inocencio, Hon. Victor Garcia San, House Minority Leader, Puerto Rican Independence Party, Puerto Rico House of Representatives, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Jarabo, Hon. Rony, Former Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, Popular Democratic Party, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Lebrón, Lolita, President, National Party of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Lopez-Rivera, Hon. Carlos A., President, Mayors Association of Puerto Rico, Dorado, Puerto Rico
Márquez, Joaquín A., Esq., Springfield, Commonwealth of Virginia
Prepared statement of
McConnie, Julian O., Jr., Attorney at Law, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Morales, Edgardo, Professor of Organizational Psychology, University of Puerto Rico, Caguas, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Negron-Rivera, Erick G., Tax Policy Advisor, Puerto Rico Independence Party, Puerto Nuevo, Puerto Rico
 Page 7       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
Prepared statement of
Ortiz-Guzman, Angel J., Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Perez, Julio A. Muriente, President, Puerto Rico New Movement Independent Party, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Ramos, Luis Vega, President, PROELA, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Ramos, Oreste,
Prepared statement of
Rivera, Ramón Luis, Mayor, Bayamon, prepared statement of
Robles, Ms. Belen B., National President, League of United Latin American Citizens, El Paso, Texas
Prepared statement of
Rodriguez, Hon. Jose Guillermo, Mayor of Mayaguez, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Rosselló, Governor Pedro, Puerto Rico, prepared statement of
Ubinas, Roberto Cardona, President, Union Patriotic National, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
Prepared statement of
Velasco, Ramon L., Association of Pro-Commonwealth Attorneys, Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Velgara, Frank, Co-Coordinator, Pro-Liberated, New York, New York


MONDAY, APRIL 21, 1997

House of Representatives,
 Page 8       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
Committee on Resources,
Mayaguez, PR.

    The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m. at University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Hon. Don Young (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.

    Mr. YOUNG. The Committee will come to order.

    It is a pleasure to be here holding this third hearing of the 105th Congress on the United States-Puerto Rico's Political Status Act, H.R. 856, in the well-known city of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. All the testimony we will hear today in Mayaguez will be important and considered equal with the statements received by the Committee in the early hearings of San Juan in Washington, D.C.

    The Puerto Rican legislature enacted a valid request on January 23rd, 1997, House Concurrent Resolution 2, asking the Congress to authorize a vote on Puerto Rico's political status before the end of next year. This bill will answer that request by permitting the nearly 4 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico to exercise the right of self-determination by choosing a federally authorized vote, to be held no later than the end of 1998, to continue the commonwealth structure of local self-government, separate sovereignty or statehood.

 Page 9       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Not only would such a congressional sanctioned political status referendum next year be an unprecedented event in Puerto Rico, but it would likely occur before the centennial of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish-American War, and the subsequent transfer of sovereignty over Puerto Rico to the United States. It will be in the best interest of the United States to provide an adequately timed transition to the political status form of full self-government preferred by the full majority of the people of Puerto Rico.

    The United States-Puerto Rico Political Status Act has three stages, I want to stress that, three stages, to permit the change to full self-government in a manageable and practical way:

    First, the initial decision vote in 1998, followed by a transition period and final implementation. This multi-stage approach permits a smooth transition to address economic, fiscal, legal and political concerns.

    Although the bill's approach may seem to add additional years to the decolonization process, it represents a relatively small number of years compared to the five centuries under Spanish and then American rule. Puerto Rico certainly has waited a long time for the United States to provide the people of Puerto Rico the most cherished right in our democracy. In every respect the people of Puerto Rico are every bit as ready as the people of other States were to exercise that right when their time has come. It is now.

    It is in the national interest, and in the best interest of preserving and strengthening our democracy, for the United States to move promptly to adopt the United States-Puerto Rico Political Status Act. The people of Puerto Rico will then be able to exercise their right of self-determination and decide in 1998 whether they want to continue the commonwealth structure for local constitutional self-government, separate sovereignty or statehood.
 Page 10       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Puerto Rico's political status referendum will be an incredibly historic event of epic proportions befitting the sacrifice, loyalty, and patience of the inhabitants of Puerto Rico, who have waited 100 years for Congress to finally provide for full civil and political rights as charged in the 1898 Treaty of Paris.

    The witnesses' views and suggestions today will help the Committee and the Congress to meet that obligation and take the appropriate necessary action to enable the people of Puerto Rico to resolve their political status.

    The gentleman from California.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Young follows:]



    Mr. MILLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I am delighted to be here this morning for a continuation of our hearings in Puerto Rico. I will say what I have publicly said before. I think these are terribly important hearings, because I do believe, in fact, there is a very good chance this legislation authorizing the plebiscite will pass in this Congress. And if it does, we will be telling the people of Puerto Rico that we are now prepared to honor their decision.
 Page 11       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    If that is in fact the direction that we seek to go in the Congress of the United States, then it is very important that we fully understand the implications of that decision; that the American people fully understand the implications of that decision and that the Puerto Rican people fully understand that. That can only be done by our gathering the best evidence we can so that we can discuss it with our colleagues in the United States, in the Congress, so that they can make an informed judgment.

    I look forward very much to the witnesses we will be receiving testimony from this morning and this afternoon. Thank you very much. And I want to thank our colleague, Carlos Romero-Barceló, for the invitation to come to Puerto Rico to receive the testimony of his constituents.

    Mr. YOUNG. The Gentleman from Guam.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I too want to echo my words of support for the process that you have led. It is quite clear that the process you have led has now at least gathered the interest and the support of all parties in terms of coming to a final conclusion.

    The hearing process allows all the people of Puerto Rico and various points of view to be articulated and also gives certainly the members of the Committee to address issues that need to be addressed, including the definitions and the time line.
 Page 12       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Again, I want to commend you for your leadership on this issue and also to again relay my gratitude to the Resident Commissioner for his graciousness and hospitality during our stay here.

    Mr. YOUNG. I thank the gentleman from Guam.

    It is now my pleasure to introduce the Resident Commissioner, a good friend, who has worked on this project for the many years I have been chairman and the ranking member, Carlos Romero-Barceló

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I want to begin my remarks by welcoming all the Committee members to the beautiful Mayaguez campus of the University of Puerto Rico. As an added factor that is perhaps not known by everyone, the Mayaguez campus is well-known throughout the NASA institution in the United States for probably the most engineer graduates from a single university. The largest number here has graduated from the Mayaguez Institute of Technology, as we call it jokingly sometimes. But it is an outstanding institution and has served Puerto Rico well and is serving also the Nation well.

    Mr. Chairman, on Wednesday, February 26, 1997, a historic process began, and on that date more than 70 Members of Congress introduced H.R. 856, the United States-Puerto Rico Political Status Act. Many things have happened since that day, and on March 19, the Resources Committee held hearings in Washington and a group of 12 Senators introduced a similar version of this bill in the Senate on the same day. Last Saturday, April 19, we held a hearing in San Juan, and congressional support for the bill has increased, as we now have 84 cosponsors.
 Page 13       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    President Clinton has made the establishment of a process that will enable the people of Puerto Rico to decide their future relationship with the United States his highest priority regarding the Island; this from a March 19th statement by Jeffrey Farrow.

    Throughout this time, the Committee has given everyone who has expressed an interest in this issue the opportunity to participate and state his or her point of view either by submitting a written statement or by testifying in person. During these 2 days of hearings here in Puerto Rico alone, the members of the Committee will have had the opportunity to hear from over 50 witnesses representing the whole political spectrum of the Island, and this process has been characterized for its openness, inclusiveness and fairness, and for that, both you, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Miller, have to be commended.

    This hearing is another important step in this process, a process I hope will finally end Puerto Rico's long journey toward disenfranchisement and full self-government.

    It was almost 100 years ago, in 1898, Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States at the end of the Spanish-American War. In 1917, Puerto Ricans became U.S. citizens, a citizenship that we have cherished and valued ever since, and a citizenship that we have defended with our lives and our blood.

    Then in 1952, the Island adopted a local constitution and became a so-called Commonwealth of the United States, a purely cosmetic change that did not in any way affect the Island's status as an unincorporated territory of the United States subject to the authority and powers of Congress under the territorial clause of the Constitution. In international terms, Puerto Rico remained a colony.
 Page 14       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Prominent members of the Popular Party have recognized this fact. Even former Governor and Commonwealth architect Luis Munoz Marin, testified at a Congressional hearing on March 4, 1950, that the proposed changes to the Island's status did not change the fundamental conditions of Puerto Rico as nonincorporation and only permitted Puerto Rico to develop its own self-government.

    Jose Trias Monge, a former chief judge of the Supreme Court and member of Puerto Rico's Constitutional Assembly, acknowledged in his book Historia Constitucional de Puerto Rico that even after 1952, Puerto Rico continues suffering a colonial status. ''Puerto Ricans have the distinction of having the longest period of colonialism in the whole world. What a sad distinction,'' indicated Mr. Trias Monge in his book.

    I have devoted most of my adult life in this struggle and to leading my people in the long and treacherous journey toward enfranchisement and equality. As former Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital city, and Governor, and now Member of Congress, I have heard my people's voices and have shared their dreams and their aspirations. As you may have experienced in these past few days, these voices, questions and aspirations resonate loudly in the Island, although to most Americans living in the continental United States, they may seem as distant echoes.

    Many of our students on this campus have asked if our present institution will at some time deny them or their younger brothers and sisters or their children equal treatment in Federal education programs that they desperately need to succeed in today's competitive world. Young couples ask me why they have to move to the States in order to search for opportunities that are not available to them in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican veterans, who have served the United States gallantly in all the Nation's wars and conflicts in this century, ask me why they cannot vote for the President that, as Commander in Chief, may tomorrow also send their sons and daughters to fight and die in times of war. The elderly ask why their health benefits and other support programs are less than if they resided in New York, Illinois, Alaska, Rhode Island, California, Florida or any other State of the Union. I have heard the voice of a grandmother wondering why her son, who died in Vietnam, gave his life for a country who denied her and her grandchildren a right to participate on equal terms.
 Page 15       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The answer to this question is clear. We are not equals because we are not partners. We are not equal because we are submerged is a colonial relationship in which our economic, social and political affairs are controlled, to a large degree, by a government in which we have no voting influence and in which we do not participate. We are not equals because we cannot vote for the President of the Nation of which we are citizens and because we do not have a proportional and voting representation in the Congress that determines the rules under which we conduct our daily lives and the rules that influence and determine our future.

    I believe that the latest developments in Congress and within the Clinton administration clearly show that after 100 years, the Puerto Rico colonial dilemma has finally become a national issue and one that the two active branches of government recognize has to be resolved before we enter the next millennium. The disenfranchisement of the 3.8 million U.S. citizens residing in Puerto Rico has to stop and it has to stop now.

    Before I close, I want to take this opportunity to address an issue that has been raised by various groups during the Committee's deliberations, and that is the issue of the nonresident voting in the proposed 1998 plebiscite. Some have advocated that all people born in Puerto Rico and, in some cases, their immediate descendants be allowed the right to vote in the plebiscite regardless of their place of residency by waiving the residency requirement of Puerto Rico's electoral law or by seeking approval from the U.S. Congress. While we recognize that some of the advocates for the nonresident voting may have a sincere interest in this issue, the fact is some are also raising this issue with the only purpose of trying to derail this process.

    To allow nonresidents to vote in this plebiscite is neither viable nor fair. Although we recognize and understand many Puerto Ricans who migrated to the mainland did so in search of better opportunities that they could not find here in Puerto Rico because of the Island's colonial status, it is clear the discussion of Puerto Rico's political destiny should remain in the hands of the ones who live on the Island and who will receive the benefits or the adverse effects of the people's decision. Those are the ones who will have to face the consequences of any new relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. It seems highly unfair that those who have been able to enfranchise themselves by moving to one of the 50 States be allowed to vote to continue the disenfranchisement of those who remain living on the Island.
 Page 16       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. Chairman, I feel honored at having the opportunity to find myself in the center of this historic process. Once again, I want to thank you for your leadership and vision in filing this bill and for holding this hearing, and I look forward to the testimony of the panelists.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Romero-Barceló follows:]


    Mr. YOUNG. I thank the gentleman.

    The audience may have noticed that the curtain was rising and falling behind me. I am not sure what that meant. I hope it is not an omen.

    We call our first panel. Dr. Miriam J. Ramirez de Ferrer, Nestor S. Aponte, Arturo J. Guzman, and Belen B. Robles.

    They are all before us, and I will try to keep the testimony at 5 minutes, if possible. Keep that in mind as we go forth during this hearing.

    I do welcome you to these hearings and we are here to learn and listen.

 Page 17       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. MIRIAM J. RAMIREZ DE FERRER. Chairman Young and members of this Committee, I am proud to welcome you to the city of Mayaguez. My name is Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer, and I am accompanied by the vice president of my organization, Attorney Luis Costas, who will be available for any constitutional or legal questions that might come up. Please include my written statement for the record as part of my time.

    Mr. YOUNG. Without objection.

    Ms. MIRIAM J. RAMIREZ DE FERRER. During all these years, we have visited Washington many times to tell you about the tangled web of local party status politics and to explain how failure to solve the status issue has crippled the social and economic development of Puerto Rico. It has been frustrating, because those who want to preserve their political power and profit by preserving the status quo have had tremendous ability to influence Congress.

    Today I am filled with that sense of peace that comes in the struggle for liberty, when the truth is finally revealed. I know the behavior of some of the audience at the hearing in San Juan was not as dignified as it should have been, but the Committee did the right thing by allowing the pro-commonwealth faction to show their true colors.

    That political faction in Puerto Rico went beyond cheering for their champions and showed disrespect for witnesses in the process. However, it was not spontaneous, it was a well-orchestrated event meant to disrupt the hearings and reduce the time allotted for questions and other witnesses.

 Page 18       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    As a matter of fact, the San Juan Star said in yesterday's edition, ''When the panel of pro-commonwealth witnesses completed its turn before the panel, dozens of the PDP faithful left. And that brought almost to an end the noise and disruption.''

    That is why self-determination should not be a transaction exclusively between Congress and the Puerto Rico political parties. People have consistently voted for a status change in all referendums and against the status quo. The status quo does not have the support of the majority of the people of Puerto Rico. That is why it is imperative that a process for self-determination be established. At the end, it will be an individual choice between the United States citizens in Puerto Rico who will exercise the right to self-determination in the privacy of a voting booth.

    At the San Juan hearing you heard the bizarre theories of sovereignty and tortured logic of the autonomous doctrine. It is a passive aggressive dogma that in a military tone demands recognition of a separate national sovereignty, but claims victimization at the mere suggestion that separate nationality might mean separate citizenship.

    It is a schizophrenic political identity which enables the aristocracy of the colonial era to perpetrate its political power by pretending that such aristocracy is the champion of Puerto Rico dignity. The discussion of status under the Young bill has unfolded the truth about the proposals of commonwealth exponents.

    Don't take it from me. You heard it yourself.

    Their theory is that since all people have inherent sovereignty, and this is recognized by the United Nations' resolutions and the United States Constitution, then Puerto Rico has a form of separate sovereignty. They take that half truth and pretend that the local sovereignty and internal autonomy that Puerto Rico has under the territorial clause of the Constitution approved in 1952 is the same as national sovereignty for Puerto Rico. This makes a mockery of the United States national sovereignty under the Treaty of Paris and the territorial clause.
 Page 19       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Again, they have revealed their false theory to Congress, asserting that local autonomy granted by Congress is a form of national sovereignty that puts Puerto Rico on the plane of bilateral, sovereign-to-sovereign, nation-to-nation level of mutuality with the United States. But when they say ''mutual consent,'' they mean that the political relationship of Puerto Rico and the United States is permanent because Congress agreed to a local constitution in 1952.

    According to them, through this, Congress gave up its sovereign power and consented to make nonincorporation a permanent union and binding status for Puerto Rico with permanent United States citizenship. Their theory ignores constitutional supremacy. No matter what Public Law 600 is purported to do, the constitutional supremacy clause prevails.

    They also told you that Congress has the power to improve, enhance, and develop Puerto Rico, but no authority to require Puerto Rico to contribute to the Union. That arrogant demand is what some now are calling ''reverse colonialism.'' According to these political leaders, the United States has national sovereignty only to the extent delegated by the Nation of Puerto Rico.

    But listen to this, even though the 10th Amendment does not apply to Puerto Rico, if Congress exercise its constitutional authority under the territorial clause, you heard them Saturday, they make the childish threat to take you to court. You also heard the politics of shouting down all who question their opportunistic ideology imposed on us by the strident, shrill and uncivil pro-commonwealth representatives.

    I will leave you with just one thought. My message is simple. Although the United States Federal Government contributed to the problem by going along with the myth and allowing the colonial situation to be perpetuated, the United States did not do this to Puerto Rico.
 Page 20       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The leadership of the pro-commonwealth party was the driving force in creating this problem because they do not have the courage to face a real choice between citizenship under United States national sovereignty and separate national sovereignty with separate citizenship.

    The real challenge for the people in self-determination is to take the responsibility for solving our own problems. Commonwealthers have tried for 40 years to propose a status which does not exist. Now we need to face the real choices. What we need is for Congress to set aside the myth and point out the realities. Please define the options available and we can do the rest ourselves.

    The people of Puerto Rico have great faith that this particular effort will put an end to our divisive status discussion and uncertainty about our future. Thank you very much.

    [The prepared statement of Ms. Ramirez de Ferrer follows:]


    Mr. YOUNG. Thank you, Doctor. And for those at the witness table, she was allowed 6 minutes, so I will give you 6 minutes as well.

    The Honorable Nestor S. Aponte.

 Page 21       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. APONTE. Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee on Resources, my name is Nestor S. Aponte. I am the Director of the Institute of Political Vocation and Communication of the New Progressive Party and a member of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, in my fourth year consecutive term. During the term that ended last December, I occupied the position of House Majority Leader. I am an Army veteran and a lawyer in private practice.

    My main concern in attending this hearing is to emphasize the importance of having Congress define clear and precise formulas for any process in which we the people of Puerto Rico have to make our decision on status. It is of utmost importance to have an unmistakable definition for the relationship, political condition or status, presently called commonwealth, or any of the possible variants finally included in the plebiscite H.R. 856 proposes for the solution of our status dilemma.

    Since the enactment of the Constitution for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in 1952, the advocates of commonwealth have capitalized on the silence of Congress in regard to the term ''estado libre asociado'' used as a translation for the word commonwealth. They have hidden and forgotten Resolution 22 of the Puerto Rican Constitutional Assembly, approved to determine in Spanish and in English the name of the body politic created by the Constitution, and they have defined the term or phrase ''estado libre asociado'' in as many ways necessary to fit into the particular circumstance of any time.
 Page 22       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    They have been able to make our people believe that under a commonwealth we can acquire all the benefits of statehood without the responsibilities and all the possible benefits of independence. They call it ''the best of two worlds.''

    If this elastic type of political status is possible, Congress should state so. But if this elastic type of status is not possible, Congress should also state so. The process you have already begun to solve our status problem must only include viable alternatives if it is intended to be a sincere effort to put an end to our colonial relationship.

    Independently of what you may hear from detractors of statehood, in regard to nationality, language differences, Olympic representation and beauty contests, the unquestionable facts are that a very great majority of our people are ready and willing to make the necessary adjustments that will make permanent the points we have developed during our centenarian relationship. We are ready for statehood.

    There should be no doubt, with the approval of Public Law 600 in 1950, and the enactment of the Constitution for the Commonwealth in 1952, our political relationship with the United States remained as a territory.

    The Congressional Record is clear. It was a break from the practice where Congress exercised local self-government according to organic legislation. The only purpose of that legislation was to authorize the establishment of local self-government, but the fundamental relationship of Puerto Rico to the Federal Government would not be altered.

 Page 23       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Section 4 of Public Law 600 reads as follows: ''Except as provided in section 5 of this Act, the Act entitled 'An Act to provide a civil government for Puerto Rico, and for other purposes, approved March 2, 1917, as amended, is hereby continued in force and effect and may hereafter be cited as the ''Puerto Rican Federal Relations Act''.

    The sections of said Act, known as the Jones Act, repealed in section 5 of Public Law 600, are the ones that deal with the organization of the local government, because from there on the organization of the local government was to be determined by the articles of the new constitution. All other sections are in force in the same way as when enacted in 1917.

    In 1953, at the conclusion of the process to enact our constitution, the U.S. Government sent a memorandum to the United Nations concerning the cessation of transmission of information under article 73(e) of the Charter with regard to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

    Even though the arguments used to describe the scope of the local government are similar to the dispositions of Resolution 22 of the Constitutional Assembly, the advocates of Commonwealth have used said memorandum for the purpose of trying to prove that with the approval of the local constitution we engaged in a new relationship with a new political status.

    In summary, if the language used to describe the formulas is not precise and clear, this process may turn into a political campaign as confusing as the ones that we have developed in our locally legislated political status plebiscites.

    Thank you.
 Page 24       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. YOUNG. Thank you, and thank you for staying within the time. Very well done.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Aponte follows:]


    Mr. YOUNG. Oreste Ramos.


    Mr. RAMOS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. Chairman, Mr. Miller, Mr. Romero-Barceló and members of this Committee, my name is Oreste Ramos. I have the privilege of having served the people of San Juan as a Senator for 20 years until 1996, the last four as Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary. Nonetheless, I want to make clear that today I come as a private citizen interested in this issue.

    I would like to begin by congratulating the sponsors of this bill by addressing this complex issue in the most appropriate manner and, of course, in accordance with what was expressed by U.N. Resolution 1541 of the 15th General Assembly.

    Some people may ask themselves, why do we need full self-government? Is it one of those technicalities, legal theology, the lawyers love to discussion but which have no impact on real people? In the case of Puerto Rico, as in the case of every other jurisdiction in the world, full self-government means that our people have a say in all decisions that affect their daily lives.
 Page 25       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    As the aforementioned U.N. resolution indicates, there are only three possible ways as to how you can do that, namely, statehood, independence and free association. All of them are sovereign options.

    Do we currently exercise sovereignty in Puerto Rico? A careful perusal of the Congressional Record of Senate Bill 3336 of the 81st Congress would suffice to answer this question in the negative. Every single congressional committee which reported on that bill and its House equivalent reproduced Secretary of the Interior Oscar J. Chapman's statement to the effect that the approval of what later became Public Law 600 would not change Puerto Rico's political status or U.S. sovereignty as acquired over Puerto Rico under the Treaty of Paris.

    Thus, absolutely no measure of sovereignty has ever been transferred by Congress to the people of Puerto Rico. This is evidenced by the undeniable fact that the intricate web of Federal regulations, congressional legislation and decisions by the Federal judiciary apply to Puerto Rico, without Puerto Ricans having any say in the selection of the officers who spin the web.

    As it was correctly understood by the Court of Appeals of the 11th Circuit decision of U.S. v. Sanchez in 1993, Congress did not accord the people of Puerto Rico any measure of sovereignty, not even that recognized by the Constitution to the Navajo reservations.

    This is perfectly in line with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1980 regarding Harris v. Rosario. In short, Puerto Rico is, in 1997, as much of an unincorporated territory under the plenary powers of Congress arising under the territorial clause as it was in 1898 and, thus, devoid of any measure of sovereignty.
 Page 26       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Now, in finding 15, page 8, lines 4 to 12, of the bill under consideration today, its 84 sponsors clearly recognize that full self-government for Puerto Rico is obtainable only through the establishment of a political status under which Puerto Rico would cease to be sovereign to the territorial clause as an unincorporated territory.

    Throughout these hearings, we have also heard the distinguished members of this Committee state that this process would be one leading to the attainment of sovereignty by Puerto Ricans, either of a separate nature or as members of the U.S. polity.

    Thus, in order to comply with the avoid desire of the sponsors of the bill and with U.N. Resolution 1541, you must exclude territorial or colonial formulas from the bill.

    We have repeatedly heard proponents of the so-called New Commonwealth formula raise charges of unfairness and allusions to a, quote-unquote, unlevel playing field. These charges will not cease to be raised, but I beseech you to be understanding of the quandary the PDP faces. Keep in mind it was not designed to solve Puerto Rico's status problem. It has to fight very hard to get within its fold different factions, ranging from those who would like closer ties with the U.S. to those who advocate for free association with the maximum degree of sovereignty under such an agreement.

    To one of those factions, this bill is Kryptonite, Mr. Chairman.

    That is why their definition has so many attributes of free association, while maintaining some of the aspects of our current territorial relationship. It was contrived and concocted as a product for local consumption in Puerto Rico. They know that a lengthy and protracted discussion on how to fit such a formula in this bill could spell doom for the prospects of this measure ever becoming law.
 Page 27       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Is there a way to accommodate the advocates of the New Commonwealth as much as feasible without running astray of the Constitution? The possible solution in my view to the adoption of the New Commonwealth definition in this bill was perhaps implied yesterday by former Governor Hernandez-Colon. In an exchange with Mr. Underwood, he mentioned that if the territorial clause could not be construed in an elastic enough manner so as to allow for Puerto Rico's exercise of sovereignty, as called for in the proposed definition, then Congress could act without the constraint of the clause, but still within the Constitution.

    Now, there is no way of doing that unless you use the treaty-making power; and that would, of course, entail the transfer of sovereignty which could take place simultaneously with the enactment of that treaty of association.

    Mr. YOUNG. Mr. Ramos, how close are you to being finished?

    Mr. RAMOS. Thirty seconds, sir. However, we all know that some elements of the definition would still be unconstitutional, while others would simply fall short of being accepted by Congress. For example, after the 1994 amendments to the Nationality Act, there is no way that Puerto Ricans born after Free Association, or New Commonwealth as they call it now, were born, could keep their American citizenship and still be citizens of a separate sovereign nation.

    So I think, Mr. Chairman, in summary, that this New Commonwealth—colonial definition of New Commonwealth should be excluded from the bill, and that in order to comply with the avowed desires of the sponsors of this bill, then Free Association, even if we have to use or if you have to include two versions of it, one of it would be the classical one and then another one called New Commonwealth, if that is what you have to resort to in order to comply with your avowed desires and what is stated in the introduction of this measure, then that is the way to go. But to do anything else would be to complicate matters even further and have to face an ever more complicated issue and problem 15, 20 or 50 years from now.
 Page 28       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Thank you, Your Honor.

    Mr. YOUNG. Thank you. May I suggest, I don't want it any more complicated than it is, believe me.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Ramos follows:]


    Mr. YOUNG. Arturo Guzman.


    Mr. GUZMAN. Good morning, Mr. Chairman. Once again, it is our privilege to welcome you back to the colonies.

    For many years and in testimony before different Congressional committees we have stated that a solution to Puerto Rico's status condition and an end to our nation's legacy of colonialism could be only be achieved by an act of mutual self-determination on the part of the Congress of the United States and we the people of Puerto Rico.

    H.R. 856 constitutes such an act, and it has our full concurrence, endorsement and support.
 Page 29       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    We would be remiss if we didn't take this opportunity to also recognize the support for our self-determination expressed by every U.S. president since Harry Truman and of particular value to our society the additional support given the cause of statehood by Presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, the latter two of which allowed me the privilege of serving through the course of their administrations as an unofficial advisor on matters pertaining to Puerto Rico and other areas of this hemisphere.

    As with any process of this nature, there are some areas which may warrant further definition, clarification or consideration which we are covering in detail in our written statement. Due to time limitations, I will just mention the titles of the topics covered, should you wish to direct any questions to them:

    Under the option of Commonwealth, the question of immunity from Federal taxation and the costs to the Federal Treasury of the actual condition; under the option of independence, full or Free Association, a need to further outline the political economic models that would ensue; the question of investor guarantees, particularly during the transition period; and the question of continued U.S. citizenship and some loopholes that may exist on the bill as drafted.

    On the option of statehood, the question of the General Accounting Office report and our recommendation that it be revised and updated; and then, under general provisions, the matter of voter eligibility as it pertains to the Federal Relations Act and the U.S. Constitution, the matter of voter education; and then, finally, the question of language. It is to this subject that I must allocate the time remaining in my oral presentation.
 Page 30       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    In this congressional process, the subject of language has made an inappropriate change of venue from the field of education to the field of politics in much the same manner as it has been treated locally or perhaps as a direct result of it.

    Allow me to try and set the record straight, for oftentimes the impression has been given that Puerto Ricans are reluctant to learn English or, worse and more demeaning, that we lack the intellectual capacity to learn more than one language, when nothing could be further from historic fact.

    Let me state that we oppose English or Spanish only as we oppose any condition that would have the detrimental effect of restricting the potential of human learning and development. Suffice it to say, Mr. Chairman, that the history of civilization has proven that diversity is the very essence of true culture.

    However, I also believe that each and every American citizen has the right to learn the English language; and it is precisely as a result of treating the question of language politically in order to preserve the current colonial condition that this right has been denied the people of Puerto Rico, with the implicit complicity of the Congress and Federal Government of the United States and also at the expense of the American taxpayers, who contribute 80 percent of the funds for public education.

    Language, like any other aspect of education, represents empowerment; and empowerment is conducive to emancipation. As I have testified before in other congressional committees, for the vested political and economic interests to allow the Puerto Rican people the equal opportunity to learn English would have resulted in their quest to seek parity in wages and equality in their citizen rights, and that would have meant the demise of the status quo.
 Page 31       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Colonial educational systems, Mr. Chairman, are designed for two classes of citizen, the autocrats and administrators that assist in the daily management of the colony, and a second class of peons restricted by the denial of learning the English language to conform to the conditions imposed upon them by the acting regimes, in alliance with the powerful economic interests that prevailed over our lives and destiny until very recently.

    We persist that the issue of language should be treated beyond the scope of status and politics, but if others in the Congress and elsewhere demand its inclusion in this process, then let them prove their good intentions by providing equal conditions to all status options that entail U.S. citizenship, regardless of the type of its nature, and that also require Federal funding for their educational systems.

    If the true motivation is to correct an injustice and to provide the people of Puerto Rico full bilingual capabilities that would allow them a better life and better opportunity, then we must endorse it. We need not wait for any future status transition or even for the enactment of this legislation, because within the powers vested you by the Territory Clause you possess the means to avoid condemning yet another generation to a life of inequality and mediocrity.

    Finally, as a reminder to you and your colleagues in Washington, I conclude with a quotation in the hope that it serves to affirm your determination to conclude this process and put an end to an era of colonialism in this hemisphere: ''Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, for the bell tolls for thee.''

 Page 32       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Committee members.

    Mr. YOUNG. Thank you, Arturo.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Guzman follows:]


    Mr. YOUNG. Ms. Robles.


    Ms. ROBLES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of this Committee.

    My name is Belen Robles, and I am the President of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest and largest community-based organization in the United States to include Puerto Rico. LULAC was founded in 1929 in the State of Texas and has more than 115,000 members in organizing councils throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

    From its inception, LULAC has been one of the principal civil rights organizations fighting to ensure Hispanics participate fully in the American society.

 Page 33       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Puerto Ricans have been American citizens since 1917 by decision of the U.S. Congress. Our Nation presents itself to the world as a democratic example, and so it should act accordingly. Our first request before you is that you grant Puerto Ricans their civil right to choose freely their political status through a vote.

    LULAC looks at this issue as one of civil rights and citizenship. The political alternatives discussed will have a tremendous impact on the Hispanic community both here and on the mainland. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that Congress seriously consider our position as the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the United States.

    Should the proponents of independence win the majority of votes, they request that Puerto Ricans no longer be U.S. citizens but that they will have free access to the United States because of the 100 years that Puerto Ricans have had access to our country. They also contend that European countries have agreed to allow free access for certain countries as an example of their position.

    While taking into consideration this modality, Congress should pay attention to the following: Congress did not grant free access rights to the Philippines when they received their independence. Congress should consider, nonetheless, the Philippines' right to free access if the Puerto Rican independence petition is approved.

    It is important to remember that 25 years before the Mayflower set sail from England, Don Juan de Onate, with 40 other men, arrived in what is today New Mexico via what today is the city of El Paso, Texas, the city where I reside.

 Page 34       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Don Bernardo de Galvez, Spanish Governor of the Louisiana Territory, cleaned the south part of the United States of English fortresses with Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican soldiers.

    Therefore, if Congress decides to accept this petition of free access for citizens of a future Puerto Rican Republic, it has to consider what to do with Mexicans who want to gain free access to the United States, their former homeland.

    LULAC is not against this petition from the Puerto Rican Independence Party, but we request equality for all Hispanics in Latin America, especially Mexicans.

    The proponents of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico request to continue being American citizens without, however, being part of the United States. They demand an association through a pact between both countries, while retaining their citizenship.

    Thus, Congress should consider in this case the type of citizenship that should exist in the United States. The American citizenship requested in this case is an incomplete one, like the one currently owned by Puerto Ricans residing in the island.

    How can the United States explain that we are the champions of democracy when 3.8 million citizens cannot vote for their President? How can the United States explain that its Congress decrees and laws apply to citizens who have no representation? How can the United States explain to the world that part of their soldiers who are enlisted in its military do not have the civil rights to elect the President that could send them to war?

 Page 35       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    LULAC does not oppose maintaining a second-class citizenship, if that is the wish of this Congress. However, we strongly feel that you need to fully inform Puerto Ricans of the limitation of this form of citizenship so they know what they will be voting for.

    The statehood supporters propose that Puerto Rico be a State of the Union with Puerto Ricans having the same rights and responsibilities as citizens residing within the 50 States.

    This is a demand for equality. Should this request be granted, it would be a big boost for Hispanic representation in the U.S. Congress, with the addition of six Congressmen and/or women and two Senators residing from the island.

    This civil right to equality, should it be granted, must be granted completely.

    Some Congressmen have stated their intention of requiring a majority vote in favor of statehood in order for it to be granted. Other Congressmen demand that English be the official language of the island. These two requirements, or any other ones, are not suitable.

    The rights of American citizens must be the same and equal in all the States of the Union and in Puerto Rico. To demand a vast majority of the votes is to infringe the concept which is the cornerstone of democracy, and that is the vote must be equal for all.

    A vast majority of the votes means that a vote for statehood has less weight than a vote for independence or Commonwealth status. This is not democratic.
 Page 36       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    In regard to the issue of English as the official language, we need to say that the right to choose the language is naturally reserved to the American citizens; and LULAC is on record of supporting English-plus—English plus Spanish plus any other language that the person is capable of learning.

    In summary, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of this Committee, the League of United Latin American Citizens strongly urges the U.S. Congress to pass the United States-Puerto Rico Political Status Act that would allow the people of Puerto Rico the opportunity to express their preferred relationship with the United States. We request that you honor the civil rights of the residents of Puerto Rica and allow them to choose freely their political status through a vote.

    It is important that the Congress make clear to the people of Puerto Rico the true nature of statehood, independence and Commonwealth alternatives that are before them. We are opposed to requiring a vast majority of the vote cast to be for statehood in order to grant that option. We are also opposed to requiring English to be the official language of Puerto Rico.

    I thank you.

    Mr. YOUNG. Thank you very much.

    [The prepared statement of Ms. Robles follows:]

 Page 37       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. YOUNG. I want to thank the panel for their excellent presentation.

    If I can ask a couple of questions, what I hear from this panel is that you want definite definitions in the legislation. Is that correct? Everybody agrees with that?

    Ms. FERRER. Yes, Mr. Chairman. Because we feel that if the people of Puerto Rico do not understand what the United States is capable or willing to accept under each of the options, it might be misleading during the actual plebiscite process in Puerto Rico.

    Mr. YOUNG. That is the what your position is, too? You don't want to confuse it any more. If we don't make it very black and white——

    Mr. RAMOS. That is precisely my point, Mr. Chairman. We have heard some people come here before this Committee and refer to an unlevel playing field. Now, the bumps in the playing field are the result of a contorted and distorted and hodgepodge definition which has been put together by some people who simply wish to keep the different factions of the party together.

    It isn't the fault of the Committee. It is the result of that definition. So we need the Committee to clarify those definitions so the people will know what they are voting for.

 Page 38       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. YOUNG. Ms. Robles, your organization, have you attempted to promote this legislation?

    One of our problems as a Committee, and we are doing this basically on our own, we need to get a more national attention to this issue. Has your organization tried to promote this nationwide?

    Ms. ROBLES. We definitely have, Your Honor.

    Mr. YOUNG. Don't call me Your Honor. That is twice I have been called Your Honor today. That worries the daylights out of me, believe me.

    Ms. ROBLES. Mr. Chairman, we have. As a matter of fact, we have gone on record as a result of a unanimous mandate of our assembly. We communicated to all the Members of Congress our position on this. We will be glad to reiterate it again and to advocate this particular position to Congress.

    Mr. YOUNG. Just on the language issue, this is an issue that is very dear to my heart. I was so impressed today. I was flying down with the National Guard, and I wanted to congratulate them. Puerto Rico ought to be very proud of their National Guard. They were professionals. But it made me feel good that I was informed by your Resident Commissioner that they play such an important role in the hurricanes in other parts of the Caribbean because there was an ability to speak Spanish and English.

    That will be up to the discretion of the Puerto Rican people. There probably will be an amendment offered, I will tell you that; and we are going to do everything in our possible power to make sure that that amendment is not adopted, as I think it would kill the legislation. It is the wrong thing to do. That is a decision that the people of Puerto Rico will make.
 Page 39       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Later on down the line, if Congress was to adopt something like that, again, the people of Puerto Rico would have the decision within whatever decision they make as to what they will speak.

    I want to thank each one of you. There are probably other questions.

    Miriam, I wanted to thank you for being here, because you have been bugging me for the last 7 years, you and Arturo both, and I appreciate that.

    For those that may have opposite views of the people at this table, the one thing you will find out about this Committee, we are very open-doored and we try to listen.

    I wanted to congratulate the audience. We very frankly look forward to hearing the rest of the testimony.

    I am going to do as I did Saturday. I am going to transfer the gavel. One reason I am going to do it is this chair is very uncomfortable. I think my staff is trying to kill me, and I am going to move the chair and transfer.

    Mr. Miller, do you have questions?

    Mr. MILLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Thank you to the witnesses for their testimony. I have a comment, and then I have also a technical question on the bill.
 Page 40       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    My comment is that there seems to be a substantial effort here to somehow demonize or to suggest that the proposal that was in response to the letter from Chairman Young and myself to the leaders of the parties, the proposal for the New Commonwealth definition, somehow is so outrageous and far outside the norm. But the fact of the matter is, when you look at it and look at the key words in it, there is a lot of precedence and other relationships in the United States; and there is constitutional precedence for these actions.

    The Congress can agree to a very wide range. Whether or not we would or whether or not that would be acceptable to the people of Puerto Rico is two different considerations. But clearly we, historically, some of which we are proud of and some not so proud of, we can agree to a wide range of relationships with peoples and territories.

    And we also can grant a wide range of privileges. The State of California likes to engage in commercial transactions, and sometimes the Federal Government tells us we can't, and sometimes the Federal Government says that is fine.

    Puerto Rico has sought to engage in various activities in the Caribbean and elsewhere, and the Federal Government said fine in some instances and in other instance said you are trampling on the sovereign powers of the United States or our ability to conduct foreign relations under the Constitution.

    All I am saying is that it is not—that definition is not as clear as statehood, it is not as clear as free association and obviously seeks to be a hybrid. But to suggest that somehow the Congress cannot accept a hybrid relationship is, I think, to mischaracterize that definition. Whether, again, that would be wise, whether the Congress would do it, whether the people of Puerto Rico will accept it, that is what this process is about. The Congress will work its will when we start writing the definitions on all of these issues.
 Page 41       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    There is some suggestions from this panel. Mr. Guzman has made suggestions with almost each and every definition. So I would hope we understand the process we go through here, and I appreciate the political advantage.

    I am a very partisan Member of Congress. I appreciate looking for—I didn't have to tell my Chairman that—but I want to make sure that we not so politicize the process at the outset that it, in fact, can kill the process. That can happen. That can happen, that this process can sink as a result of politics; and at the other hearing I made somewhat the same admonishment, because I am concerned about that.

    This is a very fragile process. Chairman Young is engaging in an effort here that very few have been able to succeed in getting through, and I would hope that people would understand.

    Finally, and my time is short, the legislation requires if this is not resolved and the current status continues it can require there be an additional referendum essentially every 4 years.

    Again, it is a rather well-established historical precedent that one Congress cannot bind another. My concern has been with the overall time lines within this legislation. I think it is very important that both Members of Congress understand that there are consequences to the decision that they make and the people of Puerto Rico understand there is a serious consequence to the decision they make and to being brought into union and we decide this matter. The longer that is, the easier it is for Members of Congress to maybe vote or not vote and not worry about the consequences, because it may happen 10 years later, and people come and go in our Congress.
 Page 42       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    By the same token, if the suggestion is you can get a new bite of the apple every 4 years, I suggest it diminishes the importance of what—if Chairman Young is successful and all those involved in this process are successful, it diminishes the importance of that process because we can do it again if it doesn't work out.

    This is an important decision about the status, after all of this history, to move to the future and say this is going to be the status in the future. And I wonder if you would, just quickly because I have used up most of my time with the question, but is that really essential to this legislation, that we would have this ongoing referendum every 4 years sort of binding the future governments of Puerto Rico and clearly cannot bind the Congress as to the outcomes of that?

    If anyone wants to make a comment to that.

    Ms. RAMIREZ DE FERRER. Yes, sir, let me make a few comments and then allow our attorney——

    Mr. MILLER. However you want to, the time is running.

    Ms. RAMIREZ DE FERRER. Once you have a Commonwealth, you have to consult the people again. You cannot finalize a status question if you have Commonwealth, as United States, we believe is going to define it there. That is in my written testimony, and I oppose that.

 Page 43       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. COSTAS. With due respect, Mr. Miller, the problem with your point of view, although it sounds reasonable, it flies against decisions in the past proceedings in the status bills. Every one of your points that you made and are now being put out in an ELA flier for a rally Saturday to you has been rejected.

    For example, this, removing Puerto Rico from the territorial clause, if you look at the testimony of Secretary of Justice Dick Thornburg——

    Mr. MILLER. Let me say, we spend a lot of time in this argument fighting the past wars. We fight the 1993 referendum, we fight the old issues. This is about now, what this Congress will and will not do.

    Mr. COSTAS. Why repeat the things that have already decided against us? Studies are there——

    Mr. MILLER. For the very reasons we told you before. One Congress cannot bind another. It is a different Senate and Congress, and if people want to make those proposals——

    Mr. COSTAS. It is the same Constitution. It hasn't changed.

    Mr. MILLER. Let us not pretend that each finding of the Congress is constitutional.

    Mr. COSTAS. No, these are legal decisions——
 Page 44       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. MILLER. I understand that.

    Mr. COSTAS. [continuing] that have been invariable for the past 40 years, almost.

    Mr. MILLER. What I am suggesting is, at the outset of the process, people have the right to submit that to the process; and the whole purpose of this is for the Congress to work its will based upon what the Congress could agree to accept and what we believe, if offered to the people of Puerto Rico, we can make a rational choice for.

    Mr. COSTAS. If you look at the letter written by Chairman Young to the Honorable William Jefferson Clinton, December 11th, 1996, it is precisely this fuzzy language that got Huang into trouble. Surely you don't want to repeat that.

    Mr. YOUNG. I am going to allow Arturo to comment, and then I think the gentleman's time has expired.

    Mr. GUZMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. Miller, if I may, may I ask you a question?

    Mr. MILLER. If I could get an answer to my question about 4 years, first.

 Page 45       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. GUZMAN. The 4 years, I think language was developed by the Resident Commissioner to have it as a maximum in repeating this exercise over again in 4 to 8 years. You not only have to think about our own destiny, but you also have to think about the constituents in your district and how long will they be willing to shore up with their taxes this present condition. Are you going to condemn your district taxpayers to shoring up for this current Commonwealth forever?

    Mr. MILLER. That is just your political rhetoric. That is not the way the question suggested. I mean, you are welcome to it.

    Mr. YOUNG. All right. The gentleman's time has expired. I think we will be able to address this issue as time goes by.

    The gentleman from Guam.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was hoping we would keep Guam out of this discussion.

    Mr. YOUNG. I am setting a hearing for you in June so you don't want to keep it out of the discussion.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Here is the feeling I have, and it is the same point I raised before. The issues that are discussed here in terms of political status openings are phrased as formulas; and it tends to imply that as a political status formula, one way or another, you can rationally read into it whether the formula adds up or does not add up. In reality, what we are talking about, at least in terms of the way that we are describing these political status options is really a series of political aspirations; and I am willing to make a distinction between a legal explanation and a political program.
 Page 46       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    What I am a little—I don't know whether the word is amused, but bemused is I guess a better word—is that in the process of discussion about what is exactly the appropriate formula for this, we are getting—at least I have certainly gotten—the impression that the pro-Commonwealth people have somehow misled the entire people of Puerto Rico on this issue.

    For an electorate that seems to be highly sensitive to this issue and an admission, at least on the part of the Commonwealthers at the hearing on Saturday, that what we are putting forward is a series of aspirations that is subject to a political process which their aspirations may indeed fail, may not come to fruition, and I think that was clarified in the course of the hearing on Saturday. It seems that all the attention that is given to the definition seems like someone is trying to get a political advantage over another.

    Now, the status, the electoral process itself, will account for that. And I didn't mean it as a kind of a cynical remark, but on Saturday I said we will leave it up to elected officials and politicals to mischaracterize each other's position in the course of an electoral campaign, and I think we should do that. I don't think we should do this in the context of this legislation.

    But it seems to me—am I being led to believe that in the course of discussion on this whole issue of political status of Puerto Rico—that Congress, one, is somehow complicit in contributing to this misunderstanding; and, second, are the people of Puerto Rico so naive that they don't understand this after discussing this issue for a long time? Is someone willing to say here that the people of Puerto Rico don't understand these options?
 Page 47       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. APONTE. If I may comment, Mr. Underwood, what I would say is this. As long as the bill offers the problem as an answer, as a solution to the problem itself, then the Congress would be contributing to perpetuating the problem. It would be like holding a contest between different ways of washing one's face and allow leaving it unwashed as an option.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. But that seems to me to be a political argument about the relative merits of the positions. If one option is unacceptable to you, you are perfectly entitled to that; but if it is acceptable to others, they are entitled to that as well.

    Mr. APONTE. Yes, sir, but then you would not be complying with U.N. Resolution 1541, which is what the bill says you are complying with.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Well, that is prefatory language.

    Mr. YOUNG. May I suggest one thing? I have every intention to debate all proposed definitions, but before this bill leaves the House it will be definite definitions in the legislation. And not speaking up for my friend from California, I have looked at this 4-year deal and we are going to discuss this more. I would suggest what we have to do is define this bill so finely that when the process goes forward the people of Puerto Rico will know exactly what they are voting for.

    The gentleman, my good friend——

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
 Page 48       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I just wanted to take a moment to perhaps clear up a little bit what has been said here. Because being in Congress, what we say in Congress sometimes is perceived differently here in Puerto Rico.

    These hearings are not to make a decision. We are not going to make a decision in these hearings, right here, either one of us. So these hearings are to hear, to make everyone feel they have a clear opportunity to express their views and what their desires and aspirations are.

    That is exactly what Mr. Miller was underlining and underscoring. He wants to listen. He does not want to argue whether it is or is not constitutional. Maybe he will decide something that is being asked is unconstitutional, but that will be later on when he researches that and studies with his staff. Then he will make that decision, not now.

    He is going to listen to all of the aspirations. Whether they are practical or not, he is not going to make that decision now. He wants to hear the aspirations, and then he will make that decision later on when we mark up the bill.

    Whether the aspirations and the desires of any particular group are acceptable politically, he is not going to decide that now. Neither are any of us going to decide that now. That is going to be decided later on.

    Most people here do know I have my mind made up. I would not be telling the truth, I would not be honest if I didn't say that. But I have spoken to all of the others, and they don't have their mind made up. But they would consider it.
 Page 49       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    So don't misunderstand what Mr. Miller says. Also that he will listen to everything. He is not giving credit or patting on the back any of the aspirations. He will make that decision later on.

    And, George, if I have not correct—OK, you can take my time and say so. So don't misjudge.

    Mr. MILLER. If you will yield, I just think that what you and Chairman Young started out here is far different than how we have handled this in the past. I said I think it has a great opportunity to succeed, and I am very concerned that we not have the process overwhelm with the politics and that the people understand that we in Congress will have to make some difficult discussions.

    There is a lot of arguments that have been suggested to us that are they thin, with all due respect. But people should be entitled to present them to us. Because the 49ers pick their colors and the Rams pick their colors. There is a long history in this country of these three parties. As Mr. Underwood said, let us not suggest that the Commonwealth is a new argument.

    So all I am saying is, as people present the evidence to us, let us not try to swamp the other fellow's boat in the process, because that is not helpful to us.

    Mr. YOUNG. May I suggest, what colors do the Yankees have?

    Mr. MILLER. I am a Mets fan.
 Page 50       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Ms. RAMIREZ DE FERRER. May I make a comment?

    The problem is, sir, some of these proceedings in the past have allowed kind of a wish list up there; and then they say let them vote on it and then we will decide if those decisions are viable or not when we come back, Congress. We need to know that before we vote the first time.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. That might be a decision to be made later on; but what we obtain here, today, in this hearing, those decisions will not be made.

    On the contrary, I think every member here wants to listen as broadly as possible to the proposals and aspirations of each one that testifies. So when I ask questions about sovereignty and nationality and citizenship, I am trying to just make it clear for the panel, so when we go to decide it in the markup, the panel knows what each party, when they say they want to have citizenship, they want to have sovereignty, they know what they mean, so we can discuss it. Otherwise, we might make a decision based on assuming facts that are not correct.

    Mr. Aponte.

    Mr. APONTE. One thing that should be clear is that we are right now right here before Congress because we are under the territorial clause of the Constitution. If we had status that could survive independently from the Federal assistance, we would be before the executive branch of Congress.

 Page 51       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    So the people of Puerto Rico, they know that Congress can design a Commonwealth to fit all possible alternatives. We are not naive, but we have been forced to adjust to the situation and try to take advantage of the disadvantage of our political status, and that is what we want to solve in this process.

    If the definitions are not clear, we can go into the process, but you bet we are going to have same discussion maybe 4 years from now, maybe 6 years from now, but you will have the same problem. If you want to solve the problem, all we are asking is not to use the problem as a solution.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Mr. Aponte, the territorial clause more or less says that the Congress has powers over the materials and possessions. But are you aware that this Congress, 105th Congress, can make the option not to exercise those powers in this Congress? You know that. But what it cannot do is perhaps tell the next Congress, 106th, that it cannot do it. Is that what you are trying to say? Is that one of your points?

    Mr. APONTE. What I am trying to say is this Congress has decided to find a solution to the problem of Puerto Rico. It has not a legal obligation, but it has a moral obligation. It has a moral obligation. Since you are the ones that stepped forward, all I want to tell you is we are willing to go through this process and find a final solution. It will be best for you and best for Puerto Rico.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. I think you can be assured that that is what I have spoken and all the Members have spoken they want to do.

 Page 52       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. YOUNG. The gentleman's time has expired.

    I want to thank the panel for their testimony and, as is usually and customary, I want to pass the gavel down to Mr. Underwood, who will be the chairman of the next panel. I will be in and out of the room and listening to most of the testimony, but that is the way we do it.

    I want to thank you personally for very good testimony.


    Mr. UNDERWOOD. [Presiding] OK. We will begin the second panel and start with the Honorable Jose Guillermo Rodriguez, Mayor of Mayaguez; and I would like, first of all, to thank you for welcoming us to your beautiful, fair city.

    Mayor Rodriguez, go ahead please.

    Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Mr. Underwood and Mr. Carlos Romero Barceló, nuestro Comisionado residente en los Estados Unidos. Mi nombre es José Guillermo Rodríguez y soy el Alcalde electo de la ciudad de Mayaguez. Señor Presidente y miembros del Congreso de los Estados Unidos, deseo comenzar brindándoles la más cordial bienvenida a nuestra ciudad de Mayaguez a nombre de los más de 100,000 habitantes que residen en ella.

 Page 53       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Antes de entrar en los detalles de la ponencia, deseo indicarles que los electores de esta ciudad en el plebiscito del año 1993, auspiciado por el gobierno del Partido Nuevo Progresista, le dieron a la fórmula del Estado Libre Asociado, sometido a la consideración del pueblo, alrededor de 5,000 votos de ventaja. La mayoría con más amplio margen en todos los municipios del país.

    Este servidor de ustedes, fue electo representante a la Cámara en las elecciones de 1998, el legislador electo representante a la Cámara por mayor cantidad de votos en la ciudad, Alcalde en el 1992 y reelecto en las elecciones de 1996, siendo el alcalde de Mayaguez que por mayor cantidad de votos consecutivamente ha sido seleccionado en la ciudad de Mayaguez.

    Entendí importante participar en estas vistas congresionales, donde se pretende establecer un proceso adecuado para que el pueblo de Puerto Rico exprese una vez más su preferencia sobre el status político que habrá de regir los destinos de este pueblo.

    Estoy seguro que ustedes se habrán preocupado por conocer el trasfondo histórico de la creación y establecimiento del actual Estado Libre Asociado, sobre algunas reflexiones de su fundador y ex- Gobernador de Puerto Rico, don Luis Muñoz Marín, y sobre todo, del panorama político, social y económico que existía en nuestro país antes de la fundación del Estado Libre Asociado, deseo hablarles un poco.

    Nuestro país, era uno sin esperanza, azotado por la miseria y la falta de oportunidades de progreso, aún estando durante más de cincuenta largos años sobre el dominio total de los Estados Unidos. Ante ese cuadro desalentador, el fundador del Estado Libre Asociado luchó dentro de sí en contra del deseo innato que reside en la mayoría de los seres humanos y el cual rechaza la idea de sentirse esclavo, arrimado, extraño en su propia tierra. La independencia, aunque digna, insensata en aquel momento.
 Page 54       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Puerto Rico se encontraba totalmente dividido entre dos extremos. Sobre cuatrocientos años de historia marcaban en nuestro pueblo un arraigado nacionalismo, protagonista de sangrientos episodios en el país y ante el Congreso. La estadidad, aunque digna, también insensata por la resistencia extrema a la entrega de nuestra cultura, de nuestro idioma, de nuestra identidad. Sobre el dilema del status, decía don Luis Muñoz Marín lo siguiente: ''Cada día se me hacía más difícil tolerar aquel boxeo de sombras, aquella contienda entre los dos fantasmas de la independencia y la estadidad, tan amenazantes como irreales, que brincaban dándose puños de sombra. A veces, disparando balas de plomo sobre un cuadrilátero bajo el cual se acurrucaban la miseria, el hambre, la desolación, la desesperación y la enferma resignación de los desesperanzados.'' Indicaba con profunda claridad de pensamiento, que el status político debe ser para servirle a la vida buena de un pueblo y no para obligar a la vida de un pueblo a ajustarse por razones abstractas, a un status político predeterminado.

    De esa lucha interna, de la reflección del idealismo absurdo frente a la realidad, surge una nueva creación política que armoniza el pensamiento sobre el status político con los ideales de justicia social, de vida buena y de honda satisfacción para los Puertorriqueños. Es por eso que solo existe en el mundo un solo Estado Libre Asociado. Porque se creó para servirle al progreso, desarrollo y aspiraciones de todos los Puertorriqueños, plasmando lo mejor de los dos extremos tradicionales, logrando la paz entre los Puertorriqueños y tomando lo mejor de dos mundos, para confeccionar una exitosa y nueva herramienta de desarrollo político, social y económico.

    Decía nuestro Comisionado residente en Washington, don Antonio Fernoz Isern, ''El Estado Libre Asociado responde a la historia de Puerto Rico. Su molde ha sido la propia vida de Puerto Rico. No hay que ir a buscar la definición ni la descripción del Estado Libre Asociado en ningún tratado de Ciencias Políticas. Forma de por sí, un capítulo nuevo que hay que agregar al libro.'' Aquí es que ha estribado siempre, la difícil misión de los Estadolibristas, de hacer entender a los que evalúan con estrechez de pensamiento, el Estado Libre Asociado. Estamos ante un nuevo concepto mundial, que ha roto los conceptos tradicionales del pasado, de estadidad o independencia.
 Page 55       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    La forma y manera en que está redactado este Proyecto, comete el gravísimo error de llevar a nuestro pueblo al pasado, a la lucha de los extremos, en vez de permitir fortalecer el Estado Libre Asociado desde una perspectiva enfocada al futuro y no al pasado. Es en este contexto, que el Estado Libre Asociado es un concepto de avanzada, adelantado en el tiempo, apuntando siempre al futuro y no al pasado.

    Si es este un proceso genuino para alcanzar una nueva negociación entre nuestras naciones, será necesario que el Congreso al igual que el derecho internacional libere su estrechez retrógrada arcaica y la tempere a la nueva realidad mundial, recogiendo los conceptos que en este momento mueven el mundo, eliminando barreras, estableciendo mercados comunes, relegando a un segundo plano los idealismos absurdos que aíslan y provocan conflictos entre los pueblos.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you very much.

    I trust there are no more mayors of Mayaguez on the panel. I allowed you to go on simply because you are the mayor of this city, and we will try to hold the witnesses as much as possible to the 5-minute time.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Rodriguez follows:]


    Mr. UNDERWOOD. I now call on Honorable Antonio Fas Alzamora, the Minority Leader of the Senate-Popular Democratic Party, Senate of Puerto Rico.
 Page 56       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. ALZAMORA. Muy buenos días, señores Congresistas. Como bien ha mencionado el Congresista, represento a la delegación del Partido Popular Democrático en el Senado, cuerpo legislativo que llevo dieciséis años en el y cuatro en la Cámara. Para veinte años, trabajando en la política Puertorriqueña y defendiendo el ideal del Estado Libre Asociado.

    Por segunda vez comparezco ante esta honorable Comisión, para exponer algunos de mis puntos de vista en torno a este proyecto. Hay dos aspectos que deseo enfocar, pero quiero previamente adelantar que el mismo está redactado en forma viciada, prejuiciado para fabricar una mayoría a favor de la estadidad aunque no se compromete a concederla.

    Este proyecto, a mi juicio, como está redactado, le falta el respeto a la democracia Puertorriqueña. En primer lugar, la discusión del futuro político de Puerto Rico debe partir de la propia creación del Estado Libre Asociado. Quiero citar palabras que dijera el primer Gobernador electo por los Puertorriqueños, don Luis Muñoz Marín, el veinticinco de julio de 1952, cuando se izó esa bandera Puertorriqueña que ustedes ven ahí, junto a la bandera de los Estados Unidos de América, y cito: ''Voy a izar cuando termine mis palabras, la bandera del pueblo de Puerto Rico al fundarse el Estado Libre Asociado, en voluntaria asociación de ciudadanía y afecto con los Estados Unidos de América. El pueblo verá en ella el símbolo de su espíritu, ante su propio destino y en el conjunto de América. Junto a la bandera de los Estados Unidos, la del pueblo más pequeño del hemisferio significa que a los pueblos como a los hombres, la democracia los declara iguales en dignidad'' y cierro la cita.
 Page 57       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Estas elocuentes palabras del arquitecto del ELA, que ha marcado el rumbo de nuestra relación con los Estados Unidos durante las pasadas cuatro décadas y media, pusieron fin a un proceso de descolonización. Se reconoció nuestra soberanía y el pacto bilateral entre Puerto Rico y Estados Unidos. Todo este logro le fue informado por ustedes, a las Naciones Unidas en 1953.

    A Puerto Rico no se le conoce como una isla en el Caribe, ocupada por ciudadanos Norteamericanos, sino como una nación Caribeña con cultura, características y personalidad propia. Estados Unidos no encontró en 1898 a una isla desierta, sin identificación nacional. No llegó a un territorio abandonado, sino a una nación con características propias, con igual dignidad a las demás naciones del mundo.

    El Proyecto en cuestión debe incorporar, para que exista un juego limpio o igualdad de condición en este proceso, la definición del nuevo ELA que ha sometido el Presidente de nuestro partido. El desarrollo y culminación del ELA no es hacia la independencia ni tampoco hacia la estadidad, que es el status que conllevaría a la desaparición de nuestra nacionalidad Puertorriqueña. Insisto, la estadidad no es el desenlace final en el desarrollo del ELA. Esta no ha sido la intención de los que hemos favorecido la fórmula del ELA en las consultas de 1952, 1967 y 1993.

    Un segundo aspecto de nuestra visión de este proceso, es que hay que desenmascarar la estadidad a nuestro juicio, de la cual se dice es un status digno. Con el respeto que me merecen quienes así piensen, la asimilación sería una condición de indignidad, porque sería retornar a Puerto Rico a un status colonial en forma permanente.
 Page 58       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Somos dos naciones distantes, dos razas distintas. Los estadistas Puertorriqueños quieren la estadidad, no porque se sientan Americanos, sino en razón de los dólares y centavos que según ellos llenarían nuestras arcas. La inmensa mayoría de los Puertorriqueños, no nos sentimos Americanos. Nos sentimos Puertorriqueños con ciudadanía Americana, y no es lo mismo ni se escribe igual, pues tenemos la voluntad y el compromiso de mantener una relación con Estados Unidos porque nos sentimos orgullosos de esa ciudadanía y reconocemos su valor y sus responsabilidades.

    La estadidad tiene múltiples desventajas porque afecta significativa y adversamente tanto a Puerto Rico como a los Estados Unidos. En esencia, la estadidad daría aunque muchas cosas negativas, una significativa reducción en el crecimiento de la economía de Puerto Rico. En cuanto a los Estados Unidos, la estadidad le impone mayores gastos en Puerto Rico, pero aún más importante, la cultura y el idioma vernáculo de Puerto Rico irá desapareciendo a medida que avanza el proceso de asimilación de los Puertorriqueños para convertirse en Norteamericanos como ha ocurrido en varios estados.

    ¿Cuáles serían las ventajas de la estadidad? No puede haber ventaja alguna, pues la asimilación es un proceso de autodestrucción, de dejar de ser lo que somos para convertirnos en otra cosa. Es pretender borrar nuestra historia y reescribirla bajo la asimilación. Con la estadidad, Puerto Rico enfrentaría los numerosos problemas que conllevaría a hacerla el estado más pobre de la nación Americana. Otro problema que enfrentaría Puerto Rico es la aplicación de contribuciones Federales a nuestra gente productiva, lo que originaría una situación catastrófica en la economía familiar pues tendríamos que pagar más contribuciones.
 Page 59       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    La estadidad sería el suicidio político de Puerto Rico, la desaparición de nuestra nacionalidad. Es por esto, que en lugar de ayudar a imponer una fórmula política en contra de la mayoría de los Puertorriqueños expresada en las urnas, así como en contra de los mejores intereses de nuestros pueblos, hay que darle continuidad al compromiso desarrollado por nuestras naciones.

    El ELA, como todo sistema, hay que mejorarlo en aquellas partes donde no ha sido desarrollado. Para esto es menester tener la voluntad política de entender nuestro status. De eso es que se trata esto, de la voluntad política de unos y otros, voluntad política de los que queremos la ciudadanía Americana y seguir siendo Puertorriqueños y la voluntad política de ustedes para respetar eso y por tanto no darle la espalda a la creación más afortunada en este continente.

    Señores Congresistas, se necesita solo la voluntad política para mantener y desarrollar nuestra autonomía con ciudadanía. Nosotros somos Puertorriqueños primero. Puerto Rico es una nación. Definan el nuevo ELA con la misma dignidad como lo concibe la mayoría de nuestro pueblo, tal y como lo hemos propuesto. Recuerden, la clave de todo es voluntad política. Nosotros la tenemos. Demuéstrenla ustedes. Atrévanse.

    Muchas Gracias.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Alzamora follows:]

 Page 60       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. UNDERWOOD [Presiding]. Next we have Mr. Jorge de Castro Font, a Representative of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives. Sir, the floor is yours.


    Mr. FONT. Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, Governor Romero, and distinguished members of this Committee, welcome to the Commonwealth, indeed the shining star of the Caribbean.

    Since 1900, with the adoption of the Foraker Act, through the Jones Act of 1917, the Elective Governors Act of 1947, and finally with the adoption of the Constitution creating the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in 1952, the United States has been complying slowly but consistently with its international obligations to Puerto Rico.

    In 1952, a big step was taken defining United States-Puerto Rico political and constitutional relationship. The official position of the United States as respects the process culminating in the adoption of the Constitution creating Commonwealth status can best be expressed in the words of former President George Bush while U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in 1972, and I quote:

    ''Since 1953, the practice of self-government has become a firmly rooted tradition among the people of Puerto Rico. The compact under which the peoples of Puerto Rico and the United States live harmoniously in association has been achieved in complete freedom.''
 Page 61       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    However, Representative Don Young, through H.R. 856, in treating the present Commonwealth status as colonial in nature and being under the plenary powers of Congress, openly and brazenly contradicts official policy as pertains the nature of the present Commonwealth relationship. If this is the case, then I submit to the learned gentlemen from Congress that what Judge Magruder refused to accept is quite true: ''Congress did, in fact, perpetrate a monumental hoax upon the people of Puerto Rico and upon the international community.''

    The Popular Democratic Party believes in self-determination for the people of Puerto Rico and self-government within the framework of an enhanced and permanent Commonwealth status firmly rooted on common citizenship, common market, common defense and common currency. We hold these principles to be nonnegotiable. We also believe in fair play.

    We want to participate in this process but we must insist that the status option that we support and have enjoyed since 1952 be not only validated as to its constitutional soundness, but also that it be treated on an equal footing with the other status options to appear on the ballot.

    The bill we now consider falls short of this prerequisite. It clearly violates the fundamental principles governing the historic and special constitutional relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. This bill seems to be tailor-made for failure of statehood, since it is the only option capable of assuming for Puerto Ricans a permanent union with the United States and American citizenship, which we insist must be made part of any definition of Commonwealth appearing on the ballot.

 Page 62       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Furthermore, the process contained in the Young bill lacks self-executing definitions and in no way binds Congress. It forces our people to multiple referendums while not even guaranteeing a swift and uninterrupted process of transition. It is, therefore, totally unacceptable to us and, in all candidness, should likewise be unacceptable to you. The question I ask each and every one of you is the following: Why deprecate Commonwealth? Why deprecate Commonwealth? Governor Romero?

    Commonwealth has been an exceptionally good partnership for both the United States and Puerto Rico. It has assured a political and social stability without parallel in this hemisphere, responsible for the unbelievable transformation of Puerto Rico in the last 45 years. All this, gentlemen, has been possible under Commonwealth.

    We are really not asking for the impossible. What we are asking this Committee in general, and Mr. Don Young in particular, is to be consistent with previous definitions of Commonwealth status which have been specifically endorsed, to wit: that appearing on H.R. 4765, of May 1990. We will ask nothing less.

    We want a vote taken on this matter; but for this vote to have any meaning, it must be an exercise of fair play and pursuant to the most basic principles of American democracy. It must be a process that dignifies our relationship and that treats with due respect the 1 million American citizens in Puerto Rico that favor Commonwealth. Estado libre asociado.

    My party has always defended the political bonds that through Commonwealth have united Puerto Rico and the United States. I really hope that the doings of this Committee in relation to Commonwealth status, which I uphold, will fully justify that defense.
 Page 63       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Congressmen.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. de Castro Font follows:]


    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you. And now we have the Honorable Severo E. Colberg-Toro, who is a Representative in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives. Sir, the floor is yours.


    Mr. COLBERG-TORO. Señor Presidente y resto de los Congresistas. El Proyecto 856 supone el establecer un proceso que lleve a Puerto Rico a un completo gobierno propio. Para que ese objetivo se cumpla, señor Presidente, hay que garantizar que los Puertorriqueños puedan optar entre las alternativas en forma libre, sin presiones o manipulaciones. El proceso tiene que ser un ejercicio verdadero del derecho a la libre determinación. Con el historial de imposición a que Estados Unidos ha sometido a este pueblo por casi cien años, ¿qué razones tendríamos en esta ocasión, los hijos de esta tie¿rra, para pensar que esto es un proceso verdadero de libre determinación?

 Page 64       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Veamos parte de ese historial antidemocrático sobre Puerto Rico, por parte de Estados Unidos, quien ha actuado de acuerdo a su interés y en violación a los principios morales de los cuales Estados Unidos se vanagloria de ser el paladín a nivel mundial. El 25 de julio de 1898, las tropas Norteamericanas invadieron a Puerto Rico. La ciudad de San Juan fue bombardeada, poniendo en peligro la vida de mujeres y niños Boricua. Estados Unidos impuso en nuestra patria, un régimen militar que dictatorialmente trastocó todo nuestro sistema de vida.

    La ley Foraker, que Estados Unidos también nos impuso, trajo un gobierno civil. Este régimen fue valuado y comparado con el sistema Norteamericano bajo la administración del Presidente Carter y dicho informe determinó, que en todos los sentidos no adquirimos nada mejor de lo que teníamos. Intentó imponer el Inglés en la educación y en la judicatura. Económicamente, los Estados Unidos no hizo nada de lo que ya hacía España al devolvernos las tarifas que le imponía a nuestros productos.

    En 1917, ustedes impusieron la ciudadanía Americana. La legislatura de Puerto Rico, presidida por quien honramos hoy, don José de Diego, aprobó unánimemente una resolución que establecía, que aunque se respetaba la ciudadanía Americana, mantenía su oposición a ser declarados en su contra, ciudadanos Americanos, intentando despojarnos de la ciudadanía Puertorriqueña. Desde la década de los treinta, el pueblo Puertorriqueño a través de sus sectores ideológicos y políticos, han desarrollado todas las formas de lucha concebibles, para conseguir que Estados Unidos colaborara en la solución del status político.

 Page 65       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    El cabildeo de los estadistas, las grandes demostraciones electorales del Partido Popular y la lucha armada del Partido Nacionalista no fueron suficiente para adelantar a nuestro pueblo en su lucha por la libre determinación y autogobierno. Se desató una represión contra las fuerzas políticas Puertorriqueñistas y en especial, contra el independentismo.

    El Director del FBI, Edgar Hoover, le informaba al Secretario de Justicia de los Estados Unidos con gran preocupación, que la legislatura de la isla había aprobado una ley para que se celebrara un plebiscito. Como consecuencia de esa intención, se desató una persecución contra las fuerzas Puertorriqueñistas.

    En el 1952, señor Presidente, como resultado de uno de los logros más importantes de nuestra historia como nación y por ejercer ese derecho a la libre determinación, nuestro pueblo aprueba una constitución, de las más completas del mundo. En 1952, se creó el Estado Libre Asociado, en el entendido, que se creaba una nueva fórmula de relación no- colonial con los Estados Unidos. El Congreso Norteamericano eliminó la Sección 20 de nuestra Constitución, atropellando la voluntad de nuestro pueblo, y maculando el ejercicio a la libre determinación.

    Como resultado de la creación del ELA, el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos fue a las Naciones Unidas y consiguieron que se le eximiera de seguir brindando informes obligatorios, basado en que Puerto Rico había entrado en una nueva relación no- colonial con los Estados Unidos. El Proyecto 856, presentado por el señor Presidente y avalado por otros congresistas concluye, que Puerto Rico sigue siendo una colonia de los Estados Unidos. Esta aseveración nos lleva entonces a la conclusión de que Estados Unidos engañó a las Naciones Unidas y engañó a la humanidad en el 1953. Esto demuestra el aspecto moral de esta controversia.
 Page 66       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Se ha señalado que el Partido Popular al que yo pertenezco, colaboró con ustedes en el engaño. Primero, creo que es bien injusto dentro de la relación de fuerza entre Estados Unidos y Puerto Rico, siendo nosotros los más en desventaja y donde ha predominado la fuerza de la imposición, aceptemos nuestra parte en la responsabilidad de los Puertorriqueños en el engaño. Señor Presidente, yo le digo que aún así, yo acepto la parte que pueda haber de esa responsabilidad histórica. Ahora bien, yo pregunto, ¿aceptan ustedes la responsabilidad moral del Gobierno de los Estados Unidos por ese engaño?

    La relación de 1953. . . Ustedes le deben una explicación al pueblo Puertorriqueño. Si el reconocer esa situación significa que en esta ocasión el proceso se marcará dentro de las normas del derecho internacional, al día de hoy, para comenzar a cumplir con ese derecho y obligación, ustedes le deben a las Naciones Unidas cuarenta y cinco informes correspondientes por cada uno de los años del 1952 que no se ha cumplido. Desde el 1952 al presente, y en una demostración de buena fe y anhelo del pueblo Puertorriqueño por resolver su status, se han celebrado dos plebiscitos, se han creado comisiones, comités ad hoc, se han radicado proyectos en el Congreso, se dio el proceso del 1989 y aquí estamos como empezamos. Como diría don Luis Muñoz Marín, ''Estamos en una situación donde cada punto es un 'turning point' porque estamos moviéndonos en círculos.''

    Para romper este círculo señor Presidente y terminar, vamos a ver y tener un verdadero derecho a la libre determinación, de acuerdo a lo que establece el derecho internacional. Yo, que creo en lo establece ese derecho internacional para la asociación con soberanía entre dos naciones, la libre asociación, lo acepto. Ahora bien, ¿aceptan ustedes que entienden que Puerto Rico es una colonia, y por ende no puede ser un caso doméstico, la aplicación del derecho internacional en este proceso?
 Page 67       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Finalmente les señalo, que ustedes tienen un problema de índole moral con Puerto Rico y como ustedes saben, en este ámbito no puede haber puntos intermedios. No se puede ser el líder de la democracia en el mundo y atropellar la voluntad de un pueblo durante cien años. En ese sentido, rechazo la utilización de la ciudadanía Americana como forma de chantaje contra amplios sectores de nuestro pueblo para favorecer a una de las opciones, la estadidad. Eso es un acto de agresión, característico de la política de las cañoneras. El jugar con las lealtades y la querencias de un pueblo. Ustedes impusieron la ciudadanía Norteamericana cuando nadie la pidió. Ahora tienen que asumir la responsabilidad por sus actos. Lo que se da, no se quita. No piérdanle perspectiva que la paciencia del pueblo, por más pequeño que sea, tiene su límite y puestos contra la pared no se suicidan, sino que se reafirman.

    Muchas gracias.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Now we have the Honorable Rony Jarabo, who is the former Speaker of the House of Representatives. Sir, you may proceed.


    Mr. JARABO. Thank you, sir. Acting Chairman Underwood, former Governor and Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero-Barceló, Congressman Miller, I come before you as a deeply concerned citizen who finds the design of the process of consultation and implementation of status preference as proposed by H.R. 856 very peculiar, highly objectionable, and very unfair to the people of Puerto Rico. Decisions on the political destiny of a people are a very serious matter, of such proportions and consequences that they should exclude partisan and sectarian biases that prejudge the merits of the questions involved.
 Page 68       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The exercise of a nation's most fundamental right, the right to self-determination, and the possibly irreversible results that ensue thereof, should be framed in a process that is equitable to all competing options, not slanted in favor of one of them. The process should embody effective moral, political, and legal commitments of all entities with a deciding role so that they shall be obligated to act on the people's mandate within a reasonable time.

    Admittedly, the criteria of political feasibility is relevant and, indeed, essential to the responsible legislative choices that must be made when drafting a bill that purports to be a means of self-determination. But such criteria should be applied evenhandedly, with fair play as the guiding spirit of its application to all options in the process, not just to the obvious target of the bill's design.

    Certainly the process should facilitate solutions to existing problems and not create new ones that cannot be solved. I am deeply worried that we may be placing Puerto Rico on a sure course to a no-exit situation, whereby the existing political reality, Commonwealth, is the means and disqualified; and the other probable choice, the other alternative with sufficient political backing, there is no commitment as to it.

    So we could end up recognizing or viewing what we have as unacceptable and not being able to get what supposedly is acceptable. I feel that would be a much worse situation than what Puerto Rico now has in the present. And I feel that this Committee, and Congress in general, have a very special historic responsibility that this situation not be created.

 Page 69       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I respectfully submit to you that H.R. 856 does not meet the minimum basic requirements of a bill that fairly offers a means to legitimate and effective self-determination. Accordingly, I respectfully propose to you that this bill be amended as follows:

    Eliminate all provisions on findings that demean the option of Commonwealth or that assume that nothing of political, historic, or of constitutional relevance happened when Commonwealth was created. They are unnecessary to the bill but they slant the balance, the competitive balance, between the options before the people of Puerto Rico.

    Avoid the dualistic or bipolar approach of separate sovereignty versus the formulas for union. I know you are getting an intensive course in the labyrinth of Puerto Rican status politics. I know that you have argued about sovereignty and citizenship, and maybe by now you have realized that the word and the concept of sovereignty in Puerto Rico is used at least in three different meanings:

    One, natural, or inherent sovereignty, which means the inherent sovereignty of a people, the ultimate source from which a political entity derives its authority. Which means the right to self-government. Which means the right to self-determination; Sovereignty of a political entity within the Federal system of self-governing units within a Federal system, which means reserved powers, retained rights. As, for example, the rights of States, not delegated to the Federal Government according to the 10th amendment of the Federal Constitution. Or the Commonwealth sovereignty, ''over matters not ruled by the U.S. Constitution.'' The quote is from the U.S. Supreme Court; And the third meaning of a concept of sovereignty in Puerto Rico is national sovereignty, which is what the bill calls sovereignty. Separate sovereignty, of course. The full sovereignty of independent states, which as an essential characteristic exclude other entities; authority over the same jurisdiction.
 Page 70       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    There is no conflict between the sovereignty of Puerto Rico understood in the first or second meanings of the concept and U.S. citizenship for Puerto Ricans as it exists under current Commonwealth status. It is a basic flaw of H.R. 856 to equate statehood with the only possible guarantee of permanent U.S. citizenship.

    I submit to you that the nature of citizenship is one irrespective of its constitutional or statutory origin. I believe we are afforded the same guarantees against loss of citizenship that Afroean versus Rusk defined for all citizens.

    The fact that voting rights of citizens vary according to the political entity in which they reside, as do benefits under Federal programs and tax obligations, does not invalidate the principle of one class of citizenship. These differences are a consequence of residence, not of citizenship, not of ''levels of citizenship.''

    The Nationality Act provides that for the purposes of nationality, U.S. citizens born in Puerto Rico shall be deemed to have been born in the United States, thus bridging the gap of nonincorporation. I believe this bill should not create a gap between Puerto Rican born U.S. citizens, natural born U.S. citizens, and fellow citizens born in one of the States of the Union.

    There is no gap in the battlefield, there is no gap as to due process and equal protection of the laws, there should be no gap as to citizens.

    I know I am running short of time.
 Page 71       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. You have run out of time, but, please continue.

    Mr. JARABO. Well, there are a number of——

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Would you please wrap it up, sir?

    Mr. JARABO. Yes. I will back Congressman Miller's point of view as to the Commonwealth definition. I could answer questions on it. There is nothing unusual or heretical or unconstitutional in it.

    I would like to end my testimony by addressing a number of matters on statehood which deeply worry me.

    As I said before, there is no commitment that statehood will be granted even if statehood wins. I find that very unfair.

    I think that this bill should, in the absence of the resolution expressing the sense of Congress that statehood is possible, that Congress would be willing to grant statehood, if statehood wins in Puerto Rico or if statehood reaches the required majority and sustains it; because it should worry you that since 1964 only twice, the third time this year, a party has repeated its electoral victory. In 1964, PDP, the Popular Democrat Party won, in 1968 the PNP; in 1972. So it goes back and forth. So you could have a status decision here and the consensus would not hold in 4 years or 8 years.

 Page 72       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I believe there should be a policy established here as to the possibility of statehood. It is a very relevant and very essential factor of the debate on Puerto Rican status whether statehood is possible or not. And as you know, the consensus analysis of what happened with the Senate bill in 1990–91 was that the Republican Senators would not vote for the bill because it had automatic provision for statehood, if statehood won.


    Mr. UNDERWOOD. One final point, sir.

    Mr. JARABO. OK. On the language issue. I believe no condition should be imposed on Puerto Rico, in the event of statehood, that would not be imposed equally when it is imposed on the rest of the States.

    There should not be a provision that seems to place Puerto Rico in a different light than what other States would be. And that there should be in this bill, in this bill, policy established as to Spanish in the event that statehood would win and that Puerto Rico would become a State of the Union.

    I believe that a plebiscite every 4 years is excessive.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Now you have gone from language to the plebiscite.

    Mr. JARABO. That is my last point, Chairman Underwood.
 Page 73       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you very much. All of this is very interesting testimony.

    I wanted to ask a quick question of Mr. Castro Font. I read about the vote in the newspaper. You alluded to it in your written testimony but you did not say it in your statement. Does your political party have a unified stand on who should be eligible to vote in this political status process?

    Mr. FONT. I didn't have that in my address today because of the time, but you read the papers; so, good.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. I tried to.

    Mr. FONT. Let me tell you something. I am a very pragmatic man, let me tell you. I believe the only people that have the authority to vote in Puerto Rico must be the residents of the Island of Puerto Rico, and that is my point of view.

    I am pro-Commonwealth. I am a member of the Popular Party, but I am a very pragmatic man. I believe this is fair. The fairness of the process is, if you are going to a plebiscite in 1998, you have to fix that definition, and also the only people that must have the right to vote are the people living in Puerto Rico, and if they apply the electoral law of Puerto Rico for the year of residency in Puerto Rico.

    Mr. COLBERG-TORO. Sí, señor Presidente, en cuanto a esa pregunta, nosotros diferimos respetuosamente del compañero. El Partido Popular no ha definido su posición en cuanto a eso y la que se ha discutido. . . La que se ha discutido ha sido de que Puerto Rico es una sola nación. Y eso incluye los Puertorriqueños que viven en los Estados Unidos, que son tan Puertorriqueños como nosotros los que vivimos aquí en la isla.
 Page 74       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Nosotros entendemos que es justo y razonable, que siendo una sola nación y se vaya a definir. . . Se vaya a definir el futuro de la nación, sean los nacionales, los Puertorriqueños eh. . . No importa dondequiera que estos se encuentren. Y un ejemplo clásico sería el Puertorriqueño que lleva tiempo viviendo en los Estados Unidos, tiene siempre el deseo de regresar a Puerto Rico o que ha regresado, lleva veinte años, y esa persona y sus hijos son Puertorriqueños no pudiera votar cuando viene una persona que cumpla con la ley electoral y simplemente sea un residente de un año en Puerto Rico, ese sí pueda votar en la decisión de un pueblo. Parece que hay una gran contradicción y que es un punto por lo cual me parece que debe ser evaluado y sobre todo, si se va a cumplir con el derecho internacional.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Colberg-Toro follows:]


    Mr. UNDERWOOD. My only point was, I wanted to know whether the party had a position, and it appears it does not.

    Mr. JARABO. In the past, Mr. Chairman, the party has made public statements backing the vote by Puerto Rican-born citizens and leaving the door open, given the problem of logistics, as to children born of Puerto Rican parents and living in the States.

    That is the past. I don't know what the present position would be.

    But let me just point out that if this is a process of self-determination, it seems to me the only valid option is that all Puerto Rican-born citizens would be able to vote.
 Page 75       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Whether non-Puerto-Rican-born citizens residing in Puerto Rico could vote, that is a different question, whether you would consider them as a different segment of the vote, because they are part of the people of Puerto Rico, because they reside here, they are citizens of Puerto Rico, their children have been born here, that type of consideration.

    But as to the first question, I believe all Puerto Rican-born should be able to vote.

    Mr. FONT. Mr. Chairman, very briefly, I want to add something, because you are mistaken. This is my personal belief. I want to say something to you.

    My family is the Castro family. We came to Puerto Rico 500 years ago from Spain, 500 years. I have cousins in California, I have cousins in North Carolina, I have Puerto Ricans, the Castro family, in Florida and New York. I don't vote for the decision of my fellow cousins in the United States mainland.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Very good, understood.

    Before we go to the other members, just briefly on the issue of reporting in the United Nations, I want to share an issue with you. The issue of how that is portrayed is one that I have watched very carefully.

    In the case of Guam, Guam is still on the list of non-self-governing territories at the United Nations. It was communicated to me in no uncertain terms that had Guam adopted what was called a constitution of self-government, then the U.S. Government would have moved toward removing Guam from the list, even without a particular change in political status. So the issue has many different dimensions to it.
 Page 76       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I have run out of time, and I will go to Mr. Miller from California.

    Mr. MILLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I appreciate your question on eligibility to vote. As you know, we have been approached by our colleague, Mr. Serrano, who is deeply concerned about that issue, and I am sure we will be debating it.

    As he points out, we can resolve it in a manner in which he can be a Puerto Rican with a vote in Congress but no vote in Puerto Rico, which would be an interesting turn of events.

    I really don't have a question. I want to again make a couple of defining remarks here about this process. It has been suggested by various witnesses that we have had, both in Washington and here—that somehow each of these definitions ties you down to a specific status, and in some cases that is heralded as a benefit, and in others it is suggested that is a detriment. Again, it is depends on who is characterizing this.

    I would only state this process comes at a rather unique time in our own history, when the Congress is in the process of redefining the status of many of the States. We are handing off burdens to many of the States, some of which they asked for and think they can handle, and others which they are now quite alarmed at having to deal with.

    We also find our own courts now taking another look at the powers of the Congress with respect to the commerce clause vis-a-vis the States and obligations that we can place on those, and even the obligations we can place on individual citizens.
 Page 77       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The general use of our system is that it is, in fact, a fluid system. It is never static, it is constantly changing within those relationships. And that is why, again, I would argue that this process remain as open as possible and as fair as possible, because eventually the decisions that will have to be made on both sides of the equation are very, very serious decisions.

    As we properly should, we continue to dwell on the decisions that the people of Puerto Rico will have to make. I suggest to you that many Members of Congress, when they realize that this is in fact a very real legislative proposal, this will be every bit as serious a decision for them as any vote they cast in the Congress of the United States. Some of them will come to that realization sooner than others.

    But the fact is, by the time we vote on the Floor of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and pass this to the President of the United States, this will be a very real concrete decision for Members of Congress.

    For that reason, I just continue to argue that we should remain open to all suggestions. Again, we will not accept all suggestions, by any means, but that is the process, and we have got to make sure as we take that first step, which will be the presentation of this legislation, that all parties feel truly enfranchised in that process.

    I raise that point for some of the reasons that some of you raised it here and the previous panel raised it. I think it is maybe the most important gift that this Committee can give to the process, is that all concerned citizens of Puerto Rico truly feel enfranchised by this Committee.
 Page 78       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I know that Carlos and Congressman Young have worked very hard to do that. We had a lot of negotiations, and we will continue to have those, to make sure that, in fact, people who are in this room and watching this and participating in this long and historical debate believe that the Congress served them well. As we have already heard, some of you are not so sure of that today. But that is our obligation back to you.

    I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you.

    Mr. ALZAMORA. Mr. Chairman, I want to clarify something very important. Se trata, como portavoz del Partido Popular en este. . . En este grupo, dejar una cosa bien clara para el récord. La posición oficial del Partido Popular Democrático, que fue aprobada en una resolución y que no ha sido revocada, es que los nacionales Puertorriqueños no importa donde vivan, participen en el plebiscito que tenga que ver con el futuro de el país. La posición del querido compañero de Castro Font se la respetamos. Es un. . . Como él ha dicho, su opinión personal. Pero la oposición oficial del partido, hasta tanto no sea revocada y no anticipo que vaya a ser revocada, es que todo nacional Puertorriqueño pueda votar en relación al futuro del [U/I].

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you for that clarification.

    Mr. Romero-Barceló?

 Page 79       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I want to start first of all by saying that we talk about the vote of people that do not reside in Puerto Rico. We have too short a time to discuss the logistics of it, but the logistics are just impossible. So to try to do that is the way of derailing the process.

    The other thing: As far as some people claim, there are 3.3 million Puerto Ricans residing in the mainland, 50 States of the Union, and in other countries. To give them the same process of identification as we do here for those who vote here and to issue them a voting card with a photograph, it would just be logistically impossible.

    The other thing that I would like to let you be aware of: This is a process where we are asking that each group say what it is they want from Congress; in other words, how do they define the formula? But you must also be aware of, this is not a one-way street, this is a two-way street.

    One thing is what you might want to see, and the other thing is what can be reasonable or what others are going to be willing to accept. Each Congressman and each Senator responds to their citizens in their State.

    So when you claim, for instance, that you want to have equal benefits in Federal programs and yet you are not willing to pay Federal income tax, well, you have to be aware, whether it is constitutional or not, how does that sit with the citizens of the 50 States who do have to pay Federal income taxes? That is part of the things that each Congressman and each Senator is going to weigh.
 Page 80       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    So one thing is what you might want, and the other things is what Congress is going to be willing to give.

    Then the other thing is, when you ask that the Congress commit themselves, and I see that you underscore when they commit themselves to statehood, 37 territories became States after the original Thirteen Colonies, and those 37 territories, none of them were offered or guaranteed statehood. They had to go through a process. They had to ask for statehood. In some instances it was a very short time, and in some instances it was a very long time.

    But you think that we should be guaranteed something that has not been guaranteed historically to anyone else? I know you have great concerns for statehood. Please, let us deal with that. We will take our chances. We will take our chances.

    The other thing I wanted to say: When you think of a sovereign nation—and Puerto Rico is a sovereign nation with U.S. citizenship—do you, as a sovereign nation, think Puerto Rico should abide by the Federal banking laws or not—the banking laws adopted by Congress, or not?

    Mr. ALZAMORA. Bueno, la—la soberanía de Puerto Rico la reconoce el propio Congreso de los Estados Unidos, cuando en la Ley 600——

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Please, I know that you can evade answering my question and you can talk for the rest of the time, but I am trying to get a point across so the people understand what it is that you want in your choice. Do you think in the new Commonwealth—would you expect the banking laws that were then adopted by the Congress—do you think they should be applicable to Puerto Rico, yes or no?
 Page 81       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. ALZAMORA. Bueno, yo le voy a contestar conforme a como yo entiendo que debo contestar mi pregunta no como usted desea que yo se la conteste. La propuesta del Estado Libre Asociado está clara. En el Inciso C en particular, habla de una asamblea constituyente especial para cualquier cosa que no esté debidamente definida dentro del concepto de mejorar el Estado Libre Asociado a obtener el máximo de autonomía y que nosotros podamos decidir sobre la legislación Federal a aplicarla o no. Esa asamblea constituyente estaría a cargo de redactar todo ese proceso que es bastante detallado. Por lo tanto, eso no puedo contestarlo con un sí o un no. Ahora, si para complacerlo más, le puedo decir lo siguiente. Dénos la oportunidad a que se acepte esta definición. Estoy seguro que con esta definición volverá a ganar por tercera ocasión el Estado Libre Asociado y esa asamblea constituyente se encargará de esa preocupación.


    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. When the Congressmen or Senator asks me, with this definition of ''New Commonwealth,'' when we pass banking laws, are they going to be applicable to Puerto Rico, I say I don't know. How can we make a decision?

    Mr. ALZAMORA. Pero precisamente, la Asamblea Constituyente especial atenderá todo aquello que tenga que ver con la aplicabilidad de leyes Federales.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. So I cannot answer them, because then they want to know. But they want the entitlements. On that they are clear; they want the money, but not the obligation.
 Page 82       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. ALZAMORA. Pero es que la—el desarrollo del Estado Libre Asociado obviamente tiene que estar basado en primero, en un mandato del pueblo. A pesar de que han habido dos mandatos y Estados Unidos no los ha atendido gracias al boicot del liderato estadista en el Congreso, como en el del 1993 que ustedes lo propusieron y no nos permitieron entonces a nosotros trabajar en la forma que había que trabajar. Estamos aquí ahora mismo, debatiendo en un futuro status precisamente, porque al Estado Libre Asociado no le han permitido desarrollarlo por el boicot antidemocrático de las personas que pierden plebiscito en este país. Y entonces, ante esa realidad, pues estamos nuevamente en un proceso congresional ahora para poder definir la fórmula.

    La estadidad se sabe cual es, una sola, Americana, la eliminación de la nacionalidad Puertorriqueña. La independencia se sabe cual es, separarse de Estados Unidos. El Estado Libre Asociado tiene los parámetros básicos que se basa en la común ciudadanía, la común defensa, el común mercado, la común moneda y entonces la aspiración de mejorarlo, manteniendo esos cuatro pilares básicos pero logrando el máximo de autonomía compatible con nuestra relación permanente con los Estados Unidos. Y por eso en el Inciso C proponemos como podemos desarrollar esa autonomía a base de que ley Federal se aplica Puerto Rico y cual no y que forma Puerto Rico pueda tener su presencia internacional. Eso está contestado en esta definición que hemos sometido.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. It is not answered. You are just going around in circles, but you are not answering.

 Page 83       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Just one final question. How do I answer when they ask me, this group of people that want U.S. citizenship, that one of the spokesman says, ''I do not feel American''? What do you think their constituents of the Congressmen and Senators are going to say? Why do you want to give citizenship to those people that don't want it? Why? What can we tell them?

    Mr. ALZAMORA. You don't have to give us citizenship; we have citizenship. Just nationality.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Why should we guarantee it?

    Mr. ALZAMORA. Es que no hay—no hay que darles ciudadanía. La ciudadanía la tenemos igual que la nacionalidad. Lo que sucede—yo le pregunto a usted, si usted se siente—si usted se siente Puertorriqueño o Americano porque yo me siento——

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Las dos cosas.

    Mr. ALZAMORA. ... Puertorriqueño.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. I feel both.

    Mr. ALZAMORA. No, yo me siento Puertorriqueño——

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. I feel both.

 Page 84       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. ALZAMORA. [continuing] y ciudadano Americano. Son dos cosas distintas porque la nacionalidad no puede ser nada más que una. La ciudadanía puede ser dos como la tenemos en Puerto Rico, la Americana y la Puertorriqueña por naturaleza. Pero nacional uno es solamente de una nación, y nuestra nación es Puerto Rico.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Then you don't want to be a U.S. citizen. Will you defend it?

    Mr. ALZAMORA. No, claro que la defenderé, claro que defendemos la ciudadanía Americana. La defendemos, claro que sí. La hemos defendido con nuestras vidas inclusive en las guerras, defendiéndola dentro del pacto que existe bilateral, que es parte de ese pacto, la ciudadanía Americana.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you. Thank you very much. I am sure we can continue this discussion ad infinitum. I would like to thank again the members of the panel.

    Before I turn the gavel over to Mr. Miller, I would like to just take one small privilege and say, ''Hafa Adai,'' which is the greeting in Guam, to all the people of Puerto Rico and Mayaguez who are watching this, and also take an opportunity to introduce a couple of people in the audience. One is Senator Elizabeth Barrett Anderson of the Guam Legislature. I see she is not there. The other is her staffer, Jim Underwood, who magically has the same last name. I don't know how that happened. He is my first cousin. He is also a former Senator of the Guam Legislature.

    Thank you very much for being a good panel.
 Page 85       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. MILLER [presiding]. Thank you for your testimony and time and consideration of the Committee.

    The next panel will be made up of Mr. Julio Muriente Perez, who is the president of the Puerto Rico New Movement Independent Party; Mr. Roberto Cardona Ubinas, president of the National Patriotic Union; Ms. Lolita Lebron, the president of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico; Mr. Frank Velgara, co-coordinator, Pro-Liberated; Mr. Carlos Gallisa, Hato Rey; and Dr. Edgardo Morales, professor of organizational psychology, University of Puerto Rico.

    Welcome to the Committee.

    Mr. Perez, we will begin with you.

    Mr. GALLISA. Señor Presidente, antes de comenzar a deponer este panel queremos expresar nuestro profundo disgusto por la ausencia del señor Don Young que es el que preside este panel, y creemos que es una falta de respeto.

    Mr. MILLER. Mr. Young is watching this testimony. Mr. Young happens to have a bad back. Mr. Young cannot sit through all of the testimony. He has been monitoring and watching the testimony, just as he did in San Juan.

    Mr. GALLISA. Pues yo espero que así sea, pero de cualquier manera nos parece que el señor Young ha hecho un compromiso de venir a oír aquí a todo el mundo y que solamente está oyendo a un sector de los que se expresan aquí. Así que conste nuestra protesta desde este comienzo por la ausencia de él, que entendemos que es irrespetuosa.
 Page 86       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. MILLER. That is fine. That is simply an inaccurate statement.

    Senor Perez, we begin with you.

    Mr. MURIENTE PEREZ. Señores congresistas, mi nombre es Julio Antonio Muriente Pérez. Soy geógrafo y profesor universitario. Comparezco ante ustedes en calidad de Presidente del Nuevo Movimiento Independentista Puertorriqueño, hoy 21 de abril de 1997, fecha en que se conmemora treinta y dos años de la muerte del patriota don Pedro Alvisu Campos, cuya vida y ejemplo nos inspira como igualmente nos inspira compartir aquí con la heroína nacional Lolita Lebron, presente aquí con la misma firmeza con la que los enfrentó a ustedes. . . [Applause] En el Congreso el primero de marzo de 1954.

    Hace casi noventa y nueve años, las tropas Estadounidenses invadieron Puerto Rico y nos tomaron como botín de guerra. Entonces no hubo plebiscitos ni consultas. Se apoderaron de nosotros a la fuerza. Desde entonces, Estados Unidos ha controlado nuestras vidas, ha impuesto sobre los Puertorriqueños las leyes que emanan del Congreso. Ha intentado imponer su lengua y su cultura, ha militarizado grandes porciones de nuestras tierras.

    Esta situación de unilateralidad no varió con la creación del Estado Libre Asociado en el año 1952 y se mantiene hasta nuestros días. Casi noventa y nueve años después, ustedes señores congresistas, radican un proyecto de ley que han catalogado como de naturaleza descolonizadora sin contar con el parecer del pueblo Puertorriqueño, concebido y diseñado en función de sus intereses y de los intereses de un sector antinacional y antipatriótico que son los eleccionistas que no representan el sentir de la mayoría del pueblo Puertorriqueño.
 Page 87       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Ustedes le han pedido definiciones de status a los tres partidos políticos del país, pero en última instancia serán ustedes quienes decidan que definiciones aparecerán si el Proyecto Young se convierte en ley y si se implementa alguna consulta al pueblo. Incluso, si se diera dicha consulta, no se comprometen a reconocer los resultados de la misma.

    Ustedes celebraron unas vistas públicas recientemente en Washington y celebran estas vistas públicas en Puerto Rico para dar la impresión de que el pueblo de Puerto Rico participa en este proceso. Pero la realidad es que ustedes aprobarán, si es finalmente aprueban algo, lo que a ustedes y solo a ustedes les convenga. Vistas públicas, que si para algo han servido, es para dividir aún más al pueblo Puertorriqueño en tribus irreconciliables.

    Mientras tanto, al pueblo Puertorriqueño se le mantiene en las gradas mientras ustedes imponen sus decisiones en el campo de juego. Cuando decimos el pueblo Puertorriqueño, nos referimos tanto a quienes residimos en Puerto Rico como a los millones de compatriotas radicados en Estados Unidos y otras partes del planeta, que son hijos de esta tierra como el que más, y que tienen los mismos derechos fundamentales para decidir sobre el destino de este país.

    El Proyecto Young, señores Congresistas, no representa un proceso descolonizador sino una imposición similar a la ley. . . A la Ley 600 de 1950. Ustedes, señores Congresistas, y la institución que ustedes representan, tienen que demostrar que tienen la voluntad para promover un proceso real y genuinamente descolonizador en Puerto Rico si es que interesan gozar de alguna credibilidad. Corresponde a ustedes reconocer que Puerto Rico es una nación sometida al colonialismo y que son ustedes la metrópoli que somete a esta nación Caribeña y Latinoamericana.
 Page 88       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Tienen ustedes que reconocer que existe una legalidad internacional en materia de colonialismo que no comienza con la quince (15) cuarenta y uno (41) quinza [sic] (XV) sino que está inspirada en la Resolución Quince Catorce (1514) Romanos quince (XV) de la ONU, la cual establece que todo proceso de descolonización tiene que estar precedido por una transferencia de poderes fundamentales de la metrópoli a la colonia. Sin esa transferencia de poderes, no puede haber proceso descolonizador.

    Tienen ustedes que desistir de lanzar una escalada militar como lo es la imposición del Comando Sur de su ejército y la instalación de un sistema de radares por su Marina de Guerra. Sin desmilitarización, no puede haber proceso descolonizador. Tienen ustedes que dar muestra de su buena fe liberando a los quince (15) prisioneros políticos Puertorriqueños que purgan largas condenas en las cárceles Estadounidenses por el solo delito de luchar por la independencia de su patria.

    Ustedes, señores Congresistas, y el Congreso que ustedes representan, tiene el poder para hacer eso y mucho más, si fuera su voluntad. Claro, también tienen el poder para imponer un proyecto de ley como el Proyecto Young, o más grave aún, tienen ustedes el poder para intentar imponernos la anexión, como nos han impuesto el colonialismo.

    La anexión, quede absolutamente claro, no es una alternativa descolonizadora para la nación Puertorriqueña. Por el contrario, constituiría la consumación del colonialismo, y ello es inadmisible.

 Page 89       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Si prevalece como hasta ahora la soberbia colonial, o peor aún, si se intenta llevar a la nación Puertorriqueña al despeñadero que representa la anexión, sepan ustedes señores Congresistas y háganle saber a sus colegas en el Congreso, que Puerto Rico es un hueso duro de roer. No ha sido en vano que hemos logrado prevalecer como nación tras casi un siglo de colonialismo. Si hemos luchado por largo tiempo, primero contra el colonialismo español y luego contra ustedes, no tenemos ningún reparo, ninguno, en comenzar el siglo veintiuno combatiendo el colonialismo y la anexión.

    Sepan ustedes, señores Congresistas, que la comunidad internacional está muy atenta a los paso que de Estados Unidos para adelantar legítimamente la descolonización de Puerto Rico. Así quedó patentizado en la Conferencia Ministerial de la Organización de Países No Alineados celebrada así varios días en Nueva Delhi, India—a la cual asistimos.

    Nosotros simplemente queremos alcanzar la meta que ustedes alcanzaron hace más de dos siglos. En 1776, el pueblo de las Trece Colonias hubiese rechazado firmemente un Proyecto Young proveniente de la metrópoli Británica, como nosotros hoy rechazamos este que proviene de la metrópoli Estadounidense.

    Deseamos la autodeterminación e independencia, es decir, la verdadera descolonización y una relación de paz y respeto con Estados Unidos. Estamos dispuestos a ir a la mesa de negociaciones, pero también al campo de batalla como lo hemos hecho en el pasado.

 Page 90       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    En esta coyuntura tan injusta y desigual, corresponde a ustedes señores Congresistas, y al Congreso de Estados Unidos, ofrecer algo más que un proyecto de ley amañado, en el que una vez más se nos impone su criterio y que tal como se ha conducido este proceso, constituye un nuevo engaño y una pérdida de tiempo.

    Concluyo señores Congresistas, leyendo para ustedes el fragmento de un poema, ''Aleluya'', escrito por el patriota José de Diego, cuya vigencia y pertinencia es indiscutible. Dice así, ''Hablamos otra lengua, con otro pensamiento, en la onda del espíritu y en la onda del viento y os estamos diciendo hace tiempo en las dos, que os vayáis con el diablo y nos dejéis con Dios.''

    Muchas gracias.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Perez (in Spanish) follows:]


    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Thank you.

    Mr. Ubinas.


    Mr. UBINAS. Señor Presidente del Comité de Recursos, señores Congresistas. . . Mi nombre es Roberto Cardona Ubiñas. Presido la organización política Unión Patriótica Nacional. En primera instancia, quisiera solicitar respetuosamente que se admita en evidencia la ponencia que se preparó para esta audiencia ante ustedes y me permito presentarles a quien será nuestro portavoz durante la tarde de hoy, el Licenciado Eduardo Villanueva Muñoz, quien ocupará el turno concedido a la Unión Patriótica Nacional.
 Page 91       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Sí, un saludo a todos los eh. . . A los Congresistas y a todos los compatriotas que se encuentran aquí. Bienvenidos a mi patria, a mi nación, Puerto Rico, para dialogar sobre un asunto tan importante como es la descolonización de Puerto Rico. Hubiera preferido que este diálogo analítico se diera ante un tribunal internacional presidido por observadores imparciales que juzgaran la controversia de forma objetiva y que no fueran parte interesada o gestora del problema colonial como lo son ustedes. De todos modos, si la intención real es terminar la relación colonial que nos une, estamos dispuestos a iniciar un diálogo que propicie un proceso justo para todas las partes y sectores.

    La Unión Patriótica Nacional ha dialogado con sectores obreros, ambientalistas, organizaciones independentistas no electorales, maestros e individuos no afiliados, con el propósito de recoger un consenso sobre los elementos y garantías que debe contener un verdadero proceso de descolonización. Estos elementos son los siguientes:

    Reconocimiento de la existencia de la nación Puertorriqueña tal como la definió el Senador Rubén Berríos, con la cual coincidió el ex-Gobernador Hernández Colón, a saber, la definición clásica de ''nación'' es aquella incluida en el Diccionario de la Academia Española desde 1925.

    Es ''una colectividad de personas que tiene el mismo origen étnico y que en general, habla un lenguaje común y poseen una tradición común.'' Otras características comúnmente asociadas con la nación o la nacionalidad son, territorio, historia, símbolos y rituales comunes y fidelitas [sic] O lealtad primaria a la nacionalidad. Por eso es que las lenguas romance de las que son indígenas la palabra ''nación'' y ''nacionalidad,'' la raíz de esas palabras se refiere a origen o ascendencia, ''natio'' en Latín. Reconocimiento de la ciudadanía Puertorriqueña, con plenitud de derechos constitucionales, a saber, derecho al voto, a viajar, a ser elegido a puestos públicos y con libre acceso al territorio de los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica, con sustancial con el reconocimiento de la ciudadanía Puertorriqueña. Es necesario que se garantice para esta y futuras generaciones, que el idioma oficial de Puerto Rico bajo cualquier status ha de ser el Español. El idioma natural de los ciudadanos Puertorriqueños lo es el Español y no el Inglés. Cualquier intento por imponer el Inglés en la enseñanza o en gestiones administrativas bajo cualquier status constituye una violación de nuestros derechos humanos, además de ser antipedagógico como lo ha señalado el Senador Roberto Resach [sp] Benites. Tercero, liberación de todos los presos políticos Puertorriqueños, en virtud de que no puede darse un proceso de descolonizador en el cual la población votante sea intimidada o coaccionada para evitar o disuadir la lucha por la independencia con medidas represivas como lo es el encarcelamiento o la exigencia de arrepentimiento. Dicho sea de paso, también debe concederse el indulto incondicional al luchador por la independencia en el clandestinaje, Filiberto Ojeda Ríos. Cuarto, detención del proceso de militarización. Por ejemplo, que se desista de establecer unidades del Comando Sur en la isla y se detengan los planes para instalar el radar que auspicia la Marina en vista de que esto es un organismo militar.
 Page 92       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    El uso de Vieques para bombardeo y prácticas de la Marina de Guerra de Estados Unidos también debe terminar, siendo que Vieques es parte de Puerto Rico y sus votantes también tienen derecho a autodeterminarse. Todas las fórmulas sobre las cuales se consulta al pueblo, deben ser no coloniales, a tono con las Resoluciones Quince Cuarenta y uno (1541) y Quince Catorce (1514) Quince (XV) de la Organización de Naciones Unidas. Por tanto es contraria al derecho internacional, incluir al ELA clásico, en virtud de que su fundador, Luis Muñoz Marín, reconocía que la soberanía seguía en poder del Congreso y así lo reiteró el Licenciado Javal Hernández Dolón ante las vistas de 1989 que presidió el Senador Bennett Johnston.

    El FBI, la CIA, el Consejo de Seguridad y todos los organismos de inteligencia de Estados Unidos, deben abstenerse de participar en cualquier proceso de autodeterminación del pueblo Puertorriqueño para que éste cumpla con los criterios reconocidos por el derecho internacional. En ese sentido, nos preocupa el anuncio de que ha de aumentarse la presencia del FBI en Puerto Rico, mediante la apertura de nuevas oficinas en diversos pueblos de nuestro país. Documentos de COINTELPRO Revelan que el FBI jugó un rol manipulador decisivo en el proceso plebiscitario de 1967.

    En vista de la amplia documentación que existe acreditando la intervención para amedrentar, dividir, dirigir procesos hacia el resultado querido pero oculto de varios organismos de inteligencia de Estados Unidos, es imprescindible que un verdadero proceso descolonizador y de autodeterminación cuente con observadores internacionales, especialmente de Latinoamérica, que es el entorno geográfico cultural e histórico al cual pertenecemos.
 Page 93       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Es imposible que un país intervenido militarmente, sin control sobre su frontera, sin representación internacional, sin relaciones comerciales libres y extremadamente dependiente, pueda en realidad ejercer el derecho a la autodeterminación. Es por ello que las normas de derecho internacional han diseñado un proceso previo de transferencia de poderes como condición sine qua non a un proceso descolonizador. Ese paso de justicia necesaria, obliga a que ustedes y su país devuelvan al pueblo de Puerto Rico, la soberanía que detentan ilegalmente desde 1898.

    Puerto Rico está preparado para recibir en una convención constituyente todos los poderes constitutivos de la soberanía y en ejercicio de nuestro derecho a la libre determinación e independencia, decidir el tipo de relación que convenga a los intereses de ambos países. Convendría a este proyecto incorporar la transferencia de poderes como una expresión genuina del Congreso de Estados Unidos para propiciar y asegurar un verdadero proceso de autodeterminación. La propuesta del——

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Ubinas (in Spanish) follows:]


    Mr. MILLER. Mr. Velgara.

    Mr. UBINAS. La propuesta del——

    Mr. MILLER. If I might ask that you honor the time, please.
 Page 94       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. Velgara.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. The original time for Mr. Cardona be added to—if you want to yield that time, if that was your intent, was to yield your time.


    Mr. VELGARA. Yes.

    Mr. UBINAS. La propuesta del PI [?] Para que exista un proceso de transición económica de diez años es una razonable y necesaria en vista de la responsabilidad que tiene Estados Unidos por haber creado y diseñado en nuestro país una economía dependiente.

    Los Puertorriqueños no tenemos duda de que podemos en la República, crear una economía próspera y autosuficientes. Existen países más pobres que nosotros ahora, pero los hay con igual o menos población y territorio que son más prósperos y dinámicos que nosotros. La inmensa mayoría del pueblo de Puerto Rico estoy seguro, rechaza la alternativa que se nos convierta en un territorio incorporado. Ello solo incrementa la dependencia económica y sociológica y sería como decía don Pedro Alvisu Campos de la estadidad, ''El paso previo a la culminación del coloniaje.'' Incluso el electorado estadolibrista que ronda cerca de 900,000 electores, debería considerar seriamente boicotear cualquier proceso que contemple la incorporación, porque ésta jamás sería un proceso orientado a la culminación del ELA, sino más bien encaminado a la transición hacia la estadidad. La generalidad del independentismo Puertorriqueño preferiría que en una votación sobre nuestro destino ulterior, voten los nacionales Puertorriqueños. Es importante que no voten personas con arraigo en otra cultura, con intereses económicos y políticos mucho más vinculados a otros países o incluso a estados federados, que de advenir un resultado contrario a su ideología, no se quedarían a vivir las consecuencias de su elección.
 Page 95       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    En un verdadero proceso de autodeterminación, la tendencia histórica ha sido permitir que voten exclusivamente los nacionales del país que se autodetermina. Nacionales pueden definirse como los hijos de Puertorriqueño y de aquello que lleven residiendo en Puerto Rico más de cinco años. No son nacionales Puertorriqueños los Norteamericanos por adopción de ciudadanía. Ejemplos, Cubanos, Dominicanos, Argentinos, rabes, etcétera, que tienen su domicilio en Puerto Rico porque tienen ánimos [uninteligible] Aquí.

    Las transferencias de fondos Federales en el período de transición hacia la independencia pueden extenderse en bloques y debe ser negociada la cantidad de años por las cuales se recibirían, en virtud de que consideramos que son una compensación por los daños que ha causado el coloniaje en términos psicológicos, morales, económicos y sociológicos a los ciudadanos Puertorriqueños que lo han sufrido.

    El Estado Libre Asociado y la Libre Asociación son dos fórmulas distintas, conforme al derecho internacional. El Proyecto Young equipara la libre asociación con la independencia, lo cual en la práctica equivale a estimular o incitar los miedos que tienen algunos sectores en Puerto Rico con la independencia. Por lo tanto, el proceso según iniciado, y la definición de la fórmula tiende a favorecer la fórmula estadista. No hay que decir que ello es injusto y contrario a los mejores intereses tanto de Puerto Rico como de Estados Unidos.

    Finalmente, reconocemos que existen fuertes vínculos históricos, económicos y políticos entre Estados Unidos y Puerto Rico. Tenemos más de 2 millones de Puertorriqueños en Estados Unidos que probablemente sigan viviendo allá pero se preocupan por nuestro destino. Queremos finiquitar el régimen colonial y queremos hacerlo de una manera racional, ordenada, pacífica y honorable para ambas partes.
 Page 96       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Sin embargo, queremos hacer claro, que para los Puertorriqueños el derecho a preservar nuestra identidad nacional, nuestra cultura, nuestro idioma Español, nuestro territorio para uso agrícola, industrial y no militar, nuestra identidad deportiva incluyendo la representación internacional olímpica y el origen Latinoamericano que establece un vínculo indisoluble con nuestros hermanos que viven desde el Río Bravo hasta Tierra de Fuego, son valores y principios por los cuales no dejaremos de luchar en todas las formas, absolutamente en todas, incluso en la estadidad federada.

    Es por ello que esa fórmula, que para nosotros es la culminación de la disolución nacional, no conviene ni a Puerto Rico ni a Estados Unidos, tanto desde un punto de vista práctico, como desde la proyección histórica que ustedes quieren impartir a este proceso.

    Muchas gracias.

    Mr. MILLER. Ms. Lebron.


    Ms. LEBRÓN. Señor Don Young, Señores Congresistas, Distinguido Pueblo de Puerto Rico. . . Yo soy Lolita Lebrón, Presidenta del Partido Nacionalista de Puerto Rico, ex-prisionera política de los Estados Unidos. Soy la que dirigió el ataque al Congreso de Estados Unidos de Norteamérica el primero de marzo de 1954, en defensa de la liberación del Pueblo de Puerto Rico y en rechazo al Estado Libre Asociado, o sea, al engaño que gracias a ustedes, al Proyecto Young, puede hoy Puerto Rico decir que estaba bien y don Pedro Albizu Campos se tiene que regocijar en el Paraíso porque el ordenó ese ataque por el abuso que se hizo con nosotros.
 Page 97       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Gracias . . . y gracias por un mérito más que tienen. El mérito que tienen es que han conmovido a este pueblo para que se decida definitivamente a liberar a su país. El Movimiento Libertador de Puerto Rico existe desde 1868, cuando el Padre de la Patria, don Ramón Emeterio Betánces luchó para nuestra liberación y proclamó la República de Puerto Rico, la primera, el 23 de septiembre de 1868, cuna de la nación Puertorriqueña.

    Don Pedro Albizu Campos, nuestro apóstol, Padre de la patria contemporánea, nos quitó la venda de los ojos, nos dijo que somos esclavos de ustedes, y les voy a decir que si ustedes nos hicieran a nosotros banqueros y nos hicieran nuestras calles de oro y nos llevaran a pasear a la luna, señores, aquí hay un movimiento de liberación que ha de haberlo, siempre.

    Y yo le digo a todo este pueblo puertorriqueño que ha tenido la desgracia de haber sido modificada su conciencia nacional para que rechace su liberación, y para que viva un siglo de rodillas, que ellos son sus víctimas.

    Un país como los Estados Unidos de América, que cuando invadió nuestro territorio, era entonces ''La Luz del Mundo'', decían, que traían la libertad a los pueblos, engañaron hasta a unos patriotas puertorriqueños. Pero ustedes vinieron aquí con las armas. Ustedes vinieron aquí con sus cinco naves armadas y ustedes dispararon aquí sus cohetes, y vinieron aquí con terror y la violencia y todavía quieren que nosotros bajemos la cabeza y nos hinquemos ante ustedes.
 Page 98       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Perdonen, debo decir, sus antepasados cometieron el grave error de tener a este país bajo sus botas. Desgraciadamente, le han hecho daño a ustedes mismos y a nosotros y son unas llaga y un cáncer en el rostro del mundo, y ustedes están obligados a curar esta desgracia. Y yo los invito a ustedes, y los exhorto desde aquí y lo hace la mujer que atacó el Congreso de los Estados Unidos, estuvo un cuarto de siglo allí en defensa de la Nacionalidad Puertorriqueña.

    Yo los invito a ustedes, y les he mandado tres razones desde que salí de la prisión, y ustedes deben haberlas recibido, porque hasta el Presidente de los Estados Unidos le mandé a decir, que aquí no viniera jamás, jamás ponga un pie aquí, hasta que este pueblo sea libre, entónces señores, él vendría aquí como nuestro invitado de honor, como iguales, de igual a iguales.

    Yo los invito a ustedes a curarse su error, porque le han infundido en la mentalidad puertorriqueña un rechazo y un repudio a la libertad, y eso es un crimen, y ustedes tienen que curarse de ese crimen. No son los pueblos libres llamados a ser esclavos en la tierra, y ustedes deben saber que cuando la esclavitud estaba presente, aquellos que andaban con cadenas, hubo que llevarlos a la libertad casi obligados, porque tenían miedo a la libertad. Esta gente le tiene miedo a la libertad. Una inmensa mayoría de los puertorriqueños teme la libertad, porque ustedes los han infundido con un temor a la libertad.

    ¿Dónde está esa gran nación norteamericana, que era la luz del mundo? ¿Dónde esta? Señores ustedes corrijan su error. Díganle a los puertorriqueños estadistas, díganle a todos los puertorriqueños que no le teman a la libertad, que es la dignidad de sus hijos, que desde que el niño está en el vientre de la madre, debe herendar la libertad, porque Dios nos hizo libres.
 Page 99       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Yo le doy las gracias a Dios que estoy aquí, después de ustedes haberme tenido un cuarto de siglo en sus prisiones, yo estoy aquí para defender una dignidad que está dormida. ¡ Está dormida! Ahora dicen estos señores que van a hacer un estado de la unión norteamericana de este país, jamás, jamás, jamás.

    Nada puede suceder en esta tierra, a no ser la libertad plena y total de este pueblo. Y cuando este pueblo haya disfrutado esa libertad y quiera hacer cualquier negocio que sea digno con ustedes o con cualquier pueblo del mundo, soberanamente lo puede hacer, pero no antes.

    Yo hablo duro señores, oigan mi voz, es fuerte y ha de morir y vivir eternamente fuerte por este pueblo.

    Además les tengo que decir que tienen unos prisioneros políticos. Sáquenlos de ahí porque ellos no han matado a nadie, y ustedes cuando un asesino anda por sus calles le dan unos poquitos de años y los sacan por ahí para que sigan matando. Los patriotas puertorriqueños son castigados y torturados en las cárceles. Oscar López está siendo torturado en las cárceles, todos ellos están siendo torturados en las cárceles.

    Yo les pido a ustedes, el Partido Nacionalista de Puerto Rico le pide a ustedes, ponga a esos hombres, esas mujeres patriotas en las calles.

 Page 100       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Yo aquí llamo a Clintock, ¿como se llama él? Kenneth McClintock, yo soy patriota. ¡ Tú eres un entregado! Tú no tienes patria, te has expatriado a tí mismo.

    Señores, tomad conciencia de sus deberes en este Planeta. Olvídense tanto de las estrellas. ¡ que quieren hacer colonias allí! Tomen conciencia de la gran dignidad que ustedes ostentan ante el mundo, y echen a un lado esas pequeñeces, porque la dignidad de los hombres no se compra con dinero. Este pueblo tiene lo que tiene porque lo ha trabajado, y es sudor de su frente. Ustedes a nosotros no nos dan nada, nada, nada. Ustedes dicen que nos meten la comida en la boca. Ustedes dicen y así me dijo una prisionera, ''Look at them, they are asking for freedom. Give them freedom, my country,'' decía ella ''and you will see them here in week, asking for food.''

    Señores, nosotros somos trabajadores y decentes. Nosotros somos honrados, nosotros somos una gente civilizada. No abusen de nosotros. Ustedes no nos dan a nosotros nada, nada, nada. Aquí ustedes tienen el más grande comercio, el quinto comercio de Latinoamérica y cada papelito que venden le sacan una millonada. ¿Oyeron? Aquí ustedes no . . . Ustedes le deben a esta tierra, mucho, y cuando seamos libres, que tenemos que ser libres ya mismo, muy pronto, y ustedes perdonados por nosotros y por Dios, y Dios Perdonando a nuestro padres, nosotros podemos encaminarnos hacia un mejor mundo y hacer una nueva era, una era de paz y de concordia y de liberación para todos los pueblos. Donde los niños puedan levantar su frente y ser niños con esperanzas de un futuro, donde nadie se le pare encima.

    Oiganlo bien. Yo les estoy llamando a ustedes la atención por ustedes mismos. No crean ustedes que porque hayan miles y miles y miles de puertorriqueños que dicen que lo que quieren ser es americanos—miren señores, no quieren ser americanos, ellos quieren ser puertorriqueños, pero ustedes le han infundido científicamente en la cabeza al puertorriqueño, que ellos son pequeñitos y que no pueden ser libres.
 Page 101       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Dios los bendiga a ustedes, porque yo soy una mujer de Dios. Dios bendiga a este mundo, y ustedes como un poderío grande de la tierra, saquen esas bombas atómicas del medio del mundo. Ustedes se las dieron al mundo y después que se las dieron . . .

    Mr. MILLER. I'm going to ask if you might——

    Ms. LEBRON. No, yo le voy a decir a usted, voy a terminar ya. No quisiera que en mi país nadie me tuviera que mandar a callar por defender la libertad de mi país. . . Y ella no se ha encontrado todavía.


    Señores, no hay odio, no hay nada. Lo que hay es el derecho y el deber de un pueblo a ser libre. ¡ Nada, nada trabajará aquí que se no la liberación total y plena del pueblo de Puerto Rico.

    Muchas gracias.

    [The prepared statement of Ms. Lebron follows:]


    Mr. MILLER. Thank you.
 Page 102       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. Gallisa.


    Mr. GALLISA. Señor Presidente y miembros del Comité de Recursos. La primera pregunta que nos tenemos que hacer ante este Proyecto Young, es si esta es una propuesta seria, que conduce a la descolonización de Puerto Rico o si por el contrario, este proyecto se presenta como una recompensa o pago a los sectores anexionistas de Puerto Rico por el dinero que han repartido en el Congreso y las contribuciones y aportaciones que han hecho a las campañas electorales de ustedes y de sus partidos.

    En Puerto Rico hay un refrán que dice, que quien paga la música escoge el repertorio, y en la prensa del país ha salido publicada el número de congresistas de este comité, señor Kennedy, Burton, Young y otros que tal vez no haya habido la información para publicarla, que han recibido dineros y contribuciones de Puerto Rico y me parece que es hora de que tanto estos señores que he mencionado de este Comité comenzando por el señor Young, le digan al pueblo de Puerto Rico y hagan una declaración de todo el dinero que han recibido de aquí en Puerto Rico, la cantidad y quienes, porque se puede decir como han dicho ya algunos, que es legal recibir donaciones. Pero lo legal no es lo moral siempre, y creo que se falta a los mínimos de ética y de moral que debe presidir un cuerpo del Congreso, para que aquellos que pretendan fungir de congresistas legislando para un proceso de descolonización en Puerto Rico, tengan que observar una conducta distinta. Esa conducta observada por este Comité, y no incluyo a todos los miembros, esta conducta no puede crear credibilidad ni confianza entre los Puertorriqueños de que aquí se está trabajando un proyecto justo para darle a Puerto Rico el derecho a la libre determinación.
 Page 103       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Y no podemos creer en este proyecto, porque este proyecto fue manufacturado en las oficinas del señor Young, con un sector anexionista de este país, excluyendo a todas las demás tendencias políticas de Puerto Rico en la confección de este proyecto. Y por ahí viene la doble desconfianza nuestra, respecto a las verdaderas intenciones de este proyecto y al carácter del mismo.

    La desconfianza de nosotros los Puertorriqueños en ustedes como Congreso y en el gobierno de su país está sólidamente justificada en la experiencia vivida a lo largo de los cien años de dominación colonial que ustedes le han impuesto al pueblo de Puerto Rico. Han sido cien años de mentiras, de medias verdades, de falsedades, de imposiciones, de falsificaciones y de promesas incumplidas.

    Desde la proclama del General Meiss [sp] Que vino aquí con sus tropas y a raíz de la invasión le dijo a este pueblo que venía a traer democracia y libertades, desde ahí comienza esta historia de engaños. Y por aquí al igual que ustedes congresistas, han pasado docenas y docenas de congresistas, desde Ford aquel en el 1900, Johnson en el 1916, el Senador Tydings en 1930 y en el 1940, [uninteligible] Bryan, Aspinal, Bennett Johnston, Lagomarcino y hoy es Young. Los presidentes de Estados Unidos desde McKinley hasta Eisenhower, que prometió la independencia cuando la pidiéramos hasta el Gerald Ford hasta hoy Bill Clinton, también nos han hecho toda clase de promesas.

    Y todos los Puertorriqueños independientemente de ideologías y de partidos hemos sido engañados por ustedes a lo largo de cien años porque nunca han cumplido la promesa y nunca han cumplido con su responsabilidad como potencia colonial, administradora de este territorio. Y digo territorio porque ustedes insisten en llamarnos territorio como si nosotros fuéramos un pedazo de tierra en el Mar Caribe. Nosotros somos un pueblo con una historia, con una cultura. Somos una nación Caribeña y Latinoamericana y jamás vamos a entregar esta nación que es la única que tenemos y es la patria nuestra.
 Page 104       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Ese sentido que ustedes tienen de nosotros como territorio, es por donde tienen que comenzar ustedes para entendernos a nosotros. Ustedes y nosotros somos dos cosas totalmente distintas. Ni tan siquiera hablamos el mismo idioma. Somos dos naciones, somos dos culturas, somos dos pueblos y ustedes no se pueden tragar a este pueblo, y ustedes no se pueden tragar una nación y ustedes nunca se han anexado una nación. Ustedes se han anexado unos territorios que estaban vacíos y que los llenaron ustedes con Americanos mismos, como sucedió con Hawai y con Alaska.

    Si algo meritorio tiene esta gestión, podríamos decir algo, son los diez puntos que ustedes han incluido en los llamados ''findings'' que ustedes le llaman a las conclusiones de este proyecto y que tal parece que por fin, ustedes reconocen que existe un problema colonial en Puerto Rico.

    Ahora se me dice que por no ofender a los popular, van a sacar los diez puntos del proyecto. O sea no ofenderán a los populares, pero ofenderán entonces una vez más, a la verdad histórica de este país.

    Nosotros creemos en la democracia y creemos en los derechos civiles y en los derechos humanos, y nosotros los practicamos. Pero mientras ustedes se proclaman ante el mundo como defensores de la democracia y los derechos humanos, aquí en Puerto Rico en su dominación colonial, ustedes han sido unos violadores graves de los principios democráticos y de los derechos humanos.

    Mientras ustedes se ufanan que su política como nación está inspirada en los ideales de Washington, Jefferson y de otros que ustedes los ''Founding Fathers,'' los Padres de la Patria, aquí en Puerto Rico a los que pensamos como los ''Founding Fathers'' de ustedes, como los Padres de la Patria de ustedes, ustedes los han perseguido como veinticinco años de prisión que le impusieron a Lolita Lebron y a otros y han matado patriotas Puertorriqueños para ejercer su dominio colonial en Puerto Rico. Ahora mismo hay quince patriotas Puertorriqueños con condenas de sesenta y ochenta años de cárcel, por el único delito de luchar por la independencia de esta patria. Y ustedes son los carceleros de esos quince patriotas Puertorriqueños.
 Page 105       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Si ustedes quieren comenzar un dialogo con este país, con este pueblo, yo estoy seguro que aquí todos los Puertorriqueños queremos un diálogo, y queremos llegar a ponerle fin a este sistema colonial. Empiecen ustedes con un gesto de buena fe, liberando a los presos Puertorriqueños.

    Pero este proyecto no puede ser credibilidad y garantía para ese diálogo. Este proyecto surge de unas componendas políticas con un sector del país. Este proyecto no tiene credibilidad para la mayoría de los Puertorriqueños. Este proyecto pretende dejar a un lado las consideraciones más importantes.

    No nos llevan más a votar el plebiscito. No vamos a resolver el problema de Puerto Rico, arrancando a votar en un plebiscito. Ese es un camino fracasado, fracasado en el 1993, fracasado en el 1967. Tenemos que empezar otro camino. Tiene que haber un diálogo primero, antes de votar, porque ustedes no tienen consenso en Estados Unidos en el Congreso y en los círculos de poder sobre que hacer con Puerto Rico y nosotros los Puertorriqueños tampoco tenemos consenso sobre el futuro de esta patria. Por lo tanto, no se puede empezar a votar cuando no hay consenso en ninguno de los dos lados.

    Yo propongo que ustedes examinen otro curso de acción que comience con la creación de una asamblea constituyente que sirva como instrumento negociador del pueblo de Puerto Rico y buscar unos consensos para que este pueblo finalmente vote sobre opciones reales, no sobre deseo y aspiraciones, sobre lo que es alcanzable. Mientras no se vote sobre lo que es posible y alcanzable, no vamos a resolver este problema.

 Page 106       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Gallisa follows:]


    Mr. MILLER. Mr. Morales.


    Mr. MORALES. Buenas. Mi nombre es Edgardo Morales, soy profesor universitario. Como un ciudadano privado, me preocupa la forma en que los temas de identidad y cultura aparecen en la ley que está ante su consideración.

    Considero que esta ley parte de supuestos erróneos acerca de nuestra cultura, nuestra historia y nuestra identidad. Además es ambigua en cuanto a nuestras opciones para el futuro, especialmente la estadidad. La visión de la estadidad que aparece en esta ley la describe esencialmente como una relación jurídico- política que existe entre diferentes jurisdicciones o estados. Es por esto que los estadistas hacen referencia constante a los temas de ciudadanía y unión permanente. Ambos términos jurídico- políticos. Entiendo que esta noción de la estadidad ignora el desarrollo histórico de su nación. Durante su guerra civil, uno de los factores que hizo posible el movimiento Secesionista en los estados del sur, era el [uninteligible] Que la lealtad y la identificación del ciudadano era con su estado y no con la Unión. Su guerra civil se peleó para restaurar la unión como una realidad jurídico- política y como una relación psicológica. Como consecuencia, durante los últimos ciento cincuenta años, su país se ha preocupado no solo por las relaciones entre el gobierno Federal y los estados, sino por asegurarse que sus ciudadanos se identifiquen a sí mismos como Americanos. Mientras que la estadidad que se propone en esta ley ignora esta realidad histórica, los líderes del país en Puerto Rico la niegan. Proclaman que la Constitución Estadounidense le da el derecho a los estados a promover el que sus ciudadanos se identifiquen con aquellos símbolos que los distinguen como pueblos separados.
 Page 107       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    En nuestra última elección, mientras nuestro Gobernador aparecía en frente de la bandera Puertorriqueña en la mayor parte de sus anuncios, la bandera Americana brillaba por su ausencia. Por otro lado, los líderes estadistas afirman que no existe problema con que nuestro equipo Olímpico bajo la estadidad compita en contra de los Estados Unidos en competencias internacionales.

    Deben entender señores Congresistas, que no estamos hablando meramente de una competencia atlética. Al igual que en su país, nuestro equipo es un símbolo igual que nuestra bandera y nuestro himno nacional son símbolos. Representan lo que somos como un colectivo, como una unidad, como una nación. Nuestro idioma nos es solo una herramienta de comunicación. Es un símbolo que representa nuestra esencia de pueblo Caribeño y Latinoamericano.

    La fortaleza de nuestra identidad nacional nos ha permitido resistir los intentos por asimilarnos dentro de una cultura y un sistema político extranjero, porque después de todo lo que ustedes son en Puerto Rico, son extranjeros. Es por eso que los Puertorriqueños nos referimos a ustedes como ''los Americanos'' o ''los gringos''. Sus noticias aparecen en nuestros noticieros como

noticias internacionales y su bandera y su himno no estremecen nada a nuestro electorado. Por eso es que los estadistas no pueden apelar a los símbolos de su nación para aglutinar a sus huestes. Aunque desean la ciudadanía, muy pocos desean que se les refiera a ellos como Americanos.

 Page 108       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Para dramatizar este punto, les pregunto que le exh- les exhorto a que le pregunten a los líderes estadistas ¿cuál es su país? ¿Cuál es la bandera de su país? Pregúntenles, si son ''Puerto Rican-Americans'', pregúntenles si son Americanos. Los estadistas más fervientes contestarán inequívocamente. La mayoría, sin embargo, disgregarán un poco y terminan hablando de la ciudadanía Norteamericana.

    En cuanto a esto no han sido claro con nuestro pueblo ni con el suyo. La verdad es que para muchos de ellos la estadidad es un matrimonio de conveniencia, un arreglo legal sin amor, provocado por el miedo a la pérdida de las ayudas Federales y del libre tránsito hacia los Estados Unidos. Me parece que ustedes tienen la responsabilidad de clarificar en esta ley lo que la estadidad significa desde un punto de vista de la psicología y la identidad nacional. Esto es necesario, no solo para nosotros sino para su propio pueblo.

    Deben preguntarse si están dispuestos a resucitar una visión que fue sepultada con la Guerra Civil, y ha creado una unión que en su esencia sería una entidad multinacional, cuyos ciudadanos se vinculan a través de lazos jurídico- políticos y una ciudadanía en común, pero en donde sus lealtades psicológicas y emocionales, permanecen con su estado o su grupo nacional. Claro, siempre pueden seguir el curso de la ignorancia y la negación. Pueden creer que todo lo que hacen es integrar una minoría étnica o cultural que ha sido discriminada políticamente. Sin embargo, no se engañen.

    Al considerar la estadidad, deben saber que están aceptando en el seno de su unión, una nación Latinoamericana, cuyo proceso histórico comenzó mucho antes que ustedes fueran colonizados y que ha desarrollado su propia identidad y cultura. Estarán aceptando en su seno una nacionalidad Latinoamericana, cuyos líderes de estadísticas- estadistas ya han proclamado su derecho a proteger su idioma Español, no importa los mandatos del Congreso.
 Page 109       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Lo que deben saber, señores Congresistas, es que si la cláusula número diez de la Constitución nos protege, según alegan los líderes estadistas, también nos permite escoger el idioma Español como el idioma del estado de Puerto Rico. Lo hemos declarado así en el pasado. Nada impediría que lo volviéramos a hacer en el futuro. Al no ser como ustedes, seremos un cáncer para su Unión, representando y dirigiendo las fuerzas que habrán de desintegrarlos.

    La necesidad de que su ley sea clara en cuanto a las implicaciones de las opciones que habrán de redactar y en cuanto a su concepto de lo que es el pueblo de Puerto Rico, es tan importante para ustedes como para nosotros, ya que al tratar de resolver nuestros debates, estarán debatiendo los temas que son de fundamental importancia para su pueblo. ¿Quiénes somos? ¿Quiénes queremos ser? ¿Cuál habrán de ser los lazos que nos 0unan? Estén seguros que al intentar definir su futuro, estarán definiendo el fut- nuestro futuro, estarán definiendo el suyo propio. Ruéguenle a Dios que no cometan un error. La existencia de su nación como hoy la conocen, está en juego.

    Mr. MILLER. Thank you very much.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Morales follows:]


    Mr. MILLER. Mr. Underwood.
 Page 110       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you very much. It has been a long time since I have been called a gringo, although I appreciate the——

    Mr. MORALES. I exclude you from the category.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Thank you very much. I was hoping that you would give me some relief from that characterization.

    You touched on a very important point, Dr. Morales, on identity and nationhood, yet you have offered as an example the American Civil War.

    It strikes me that even though there is much sympathy and much empathy for the idea of a national identity and that that national identity is one that is of primary importance inside an individual, there are also many other identities in life and that, in fact, much of the history of the world in recent times has been moving in a direction that is not exactly comforting or compatible with nation states as such.

    So my question to you is, given the complexities of modern identity, given the fact that we are talking about one aspect of our lives and none of these are in isolation—and I am sure you readily admit as a fellow academic that none of these characteristics that we take with us are in isolation from others—and given the reality that at least, as has been portrayed to me, although there may be many explanations for support for independence as a political option has remained relatively stable over time and has declined from earlier decades, is it not conceivable that your characterization of identity as a national identity is seen by many people as just one dimension of their entire political personality and perhaps not the dominant one?
 Page 111       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. MORALES. Yes, let me answer that. I am a psychologist, so we could have a profound discussion about levels of identity and depths of identity and all those relevant terms.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. That is why I am so relieved we are not.

    Mr. MORALES. The point I am trying to make—or I was trying to make—in my presentation is that I believe that, really, the issue here is not about us but it is about your conception of who you are as a nation.

    The question really is whether it is important within the present framework of the United States and whether it is important for the Congress to consider your identity as a nation as a key element in any relationship or an inner relationship with a future state and the identification of inhabitants of that state with the idea of being part of the Nation and being, in a sense, Americans.

    My whole point is that, for the last 150 years, the key issue that has driven most of the policy of the Congress has been, and it is presently underlined, the whole question, around English only and other laws having to do with immigration and having to do with who is an American. I believe that that is a key point. Now, you have to make a decision about that. That is my whole point.

    What I think is confusing is when you start talking or making an equivalence between American citizenship and the psychological identification with being an American. I think those are two totally different things. I think you should consider that.
 Page 112       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. I think it is a point well taken, and I would hasten to point out that the debate inside the United States has not fully been resolved either. And although there are always people that have a very narrow definition as to what constitutes being American, there are also other more expansive views.

    Mr. MORALES. My question is whether you would be willing to have a state where at least 50 percent of the people do not feel themselves to be Americans. That is just my point. Is that acceptable to the U.S. Congress, where half of the population of a future state, at least half of the population—I am not including the statehooders in this, but I imagine some percentage of those would resent being called americanos or at least they certainly do not call that themselves—would you be willing to accept that type of state?

    Now that is a question I think for the Congress to decide. What I am suggesting is that you should introduce that as part of the debate that you are having in your own Nation.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. OK. Thank you.

    Mr. MILLER. Mr. Romero-Barceló.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I think everyone who has given testimony, they obviously mean what they have said, they are very sincere, and I think their points of view are very, very clear. I have no questions.
 Page 113       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. MILLER. Thank you.

    I want to thank you very much. I think the views represented here and represented on other panels reflect the political history of this country. That is why I hate to keep beating a drum to one note here, but this is a very serious decision, and it should not be taken as anything other than that. It is very, very serious for the Congress, for the people we represent and for the people of Puerto Rico; and there is no way to get around that.

    One of the problems I have always had in the past when we have considered starting this process is that sometimes people thought this was a free vote. They thought this was something you could do for politics. You could appear one way or another—the statehooders, the commonwealthers, the independents or what have you. I do not think it is that way at all. I think—if anybody believes that, I think they are losing the dignity of the political and cultural history of Puerto Rico. I just think that is fundamental.

    I think that you have given us a great deal to think about and, hopefully, our colleagues in the Congress. Because this is not a trivial matter, and certainly it is not a trivial matter when we consider that worldwide dynamics of people in this day and age. I want to thank you very much for your testimony and for giving your time to the Committee.

    Mr. UBINAS. Señores Congresistas, una pregunta. Le habla nuevamente——

    Mr. MILLER. Oh, excuse me, I'm sorry.
 Page 114       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. UBINAS. Roberto Cardona Ubiñas de la Unión Patriótica Nacional. Todos los deponentes en este panel hemos coincidido en varios puntos, pero uno en particular. Quince compatriotas nuestros se encuentran presos cumpliendo condenas- largas condenas en Estados Unidos por el único delito de defender la idea de la libertad en su propio país. Nosotros interesamos que ustedes nos digan a nosotros, que ustedes van a hacer ahora con esta petición que al unísono le hace la inmensa mayoría del pueblo Puertorriqueño.

    We would like to know, what is your answer to our request?

    Mr. MILLER. That is quite easy. I have received the petition, I have received individual letters over the recent past, and I will do as I do with all those. I will look into it. I will not speak for others, but very clearly that is my situation. And those who chuckle do not know my political history.

    I thank you.

    Mr. MURIENTE PEREZ. Señor Congresista, si me permite a mí un tanto——

    VOICE. Nosotros no admitimos eso, habla de ellas un poquito.

    Mr. MURIENTE PEREZ. Nosotros, como ustedes, entendemos la importancia de la situación política del país. Esa es una de las razones por la que estamos aquí esta mañana. Solo quiero hacer un señalamiento, conforme a esa importancia que se supone que se le esté asignando a esto, el Por Tanto número cinco de la Resolución 1514 XV romano. . . 1514 romano XV de la ONU establece lo siguiente, muy brevemente. ''En los territorios en fideicomiso y no autónomos y en todos los demás territorios que no han logrado aún su independencia, deberán tomarse inmediatamente medidas para traspasar todos los poderes a los pueblos de esos territorios sin condiciones ni reservas en conformidad con su voluntad y sus derechos libremente expresados, y sin distinción de raza, credo ni color para permitirles gozar de una libertad y una independencia absoluta.''
 Page 115       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Si ustedes creen, como dice creer, en la aplicación de la legalidad internacional para el caso de la descolonización de Puerto Rico, tendrían ustedes que comenzar por aplicar el Por Tanto número cinco de la Resolución 1514 Romano XV que supone la transferencia——

    Mr. MILLER. Thank you.

    Mr. MURIENTE PEREZ. [continuing] de poderes al pueblo de Puerto Rico. De esa manera si podemos imprimirle esa importancia, que usted Congresista Miller dice que tiene este proceso. De otra manera, lamentablemente prevalece la unilateralidad del Congreso que usted representa.

    Mr. MILLER. Thank you very much.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. [Presiding] I will call the next panel: The Honorable Victor Garcia San Inocencio, Mr. Erick Negron-Rivera, Ferdinand Lugo Gonzalez, Carlos A. Lopez-Rivera, Julian O. McConnie, and Joaquín Marquez.


    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. We will start the panel now. We will start with Victor Garcia San Inocencio. Welcome.
 Page 116       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. INOCENCIO. Muy buenas tardes. Nuestro saludo a los miembros del Congreso, al señor Presidente Actuante.

    Antes que nada, quisiéramos que para propósito de registro, sea admitida nuestra ponencia alargada, que obviamente es mucho más extensa de la que vamos a leer aquí, que fue sometida el jueves pasado para que sea admitida en récord.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. The statement by Mr. Victor Garcia San Inocencio has been submitted in writing and will be made part of the record. So ordered.

    Mr. INOCENCIO. Muchas gracias. Saludamos al señor Presidente y a los miembros de esta comisión. Permítasenos dirigirnos a un asunto crucial debe ser objeto de tratamiento en la versión final de este proyecto. Un asunto crucial más, entre los muchos. ¿Cómo propiciamos una consulta sobre el futuro político de Puerto Rico en la que el asfixiante poder económico de las corporaciones privadas y el gobierno controlado por el anexionista Partido Nuevo Progresista, no influyan indebidamente para favorecer una fórmula de status particular. Se trata de un asunto de equidad esencial.

    Nuestra historia política reciente muestra la enorme influencia que ejercen las personas jurídicas en los recaudos de fondos para las campañas políticas, junto a la utilización de dinero y recursos del pueblo para subvencionar esas campañas. La autorización de fondos y recursos públicos para adelantar la causa del partido político que controla el gobierno.
 Page 117       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Es preciso que sus investigadores estén al tanto, de como a lo largo de nuestra historia política, el partido político incumbente se ha valido del presupuesto y los recursos públicos para apoyar su posición política. El asunto fue tratado por el Tribunal Supremo de Puerto Rico el año pasado, concluyendo que se utilizaron indebidamente millones de dólares por el gobierno controlado por el PNP para resaltar su imagen.

    Se trata de un mal viejo del que no han estado exento ninguno de los dos partidos políticos que predican la unión permanente con los Estados Unidos. Han tenido derecho otro unión permanente con el presupuesto público, para adelantar ventajeramente sus intereses partidistas y status político.

    Segundo punto, el mal de los donativos y contribuciones políticas de las cam- de las corporaciones públicas. Los partidos políticos de la unión permanente con el presupuesto, PNP y PPD, no se contentan con este abuso que burla cualquier aspiración de que haya un proceso eleccionario o plebiscitario democrático. Añaden a su mofa, la práctica habitual de requerir a contratistas gubernamentales, aportaciones económicas cuantiosas para financiar campañas políticas.

    Se crea una asombrosa simbiosis corporativa y de partido de gobierno. Cientos de campañas individuales de alcaldes, legisladores y de los partidos que ocupan las oficinas gubernamentales, son financiadas por contratistas y proveedores a través de donativos. Lo cierto es, que lo que no se financia con dinero público esquilmado ilícitamente, se financia con donativos corporativos de proveedores y suplidores. Para los contratistas inescrupulosos, tales donativos se traducen en una inversión económica de campaña que será recuperada con creces en el siguiente término de gobierno.
 Page 118       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Punto número tres, las raíces del mal. Lo cierto es que la política local al interior de la colonia, contiene un semillero de corrosión y de corrupción. Acostumbrados a predicar, promover e intensificar la independencia económica hacia los Estados Unidos, los líderes políticos coloniales del PNP y del PPD se han encargado de hacer lo que halla que hacer para quedarse en el control de los cargos y han fomentado la dependencia económica y los miedos a la libertad a través de los resortes de control económico.

    Número cuatro, el remedio que proponemos. Sostenemos que bajo la cláusula territorial, ustedes, miembros del Congreso, deben prohibir los donativos de contratistas del gobierno de Puerto Rico o el de los Estados Unidos y de las personas jurídicas en general, a las campañas partidistas o de comités de acción política dirigidos a favorecer algunas fórmulas de status final para Puerto Rico.

    Más aún, sostenemos que el proyecto debe incluir también medidas coercitivas que prohíban la utilización de recursos gubernamentales y fondos públicos para promover directa o indirectamente cualquier campaña de status. Existiría una excepción a este principio y sería la de los fondos expresamente consignados en la ley de plebiscito Federal o estatal para el uso en campañas.

    Una mención final, urge que se modifique el proyecto para restringir los donativos corporativos y de contratistas gubernamentales a las campañas de status. Resulta igualmente urgente que se controle cualquier gasto gubernamental en especie, anuncios de dinero público, para favorecer a alguna fórmula de status.
 Page 119       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Gracias por su atención.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Inocencio follows:]


    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Senor Erick Negron-Rivera.


    Mr. NEGRON-RIVERA. Good afternoon. Mi nombre es Erick Gustavo Negrón-Rivera y comparezco como asesor económico del Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño. En conversaciones sobre el Proyecto Young y al igual que ocurrió en las discusiones plebiscitarias de 1989 a 1991, varios congresistas ya han empezado al PIP su interés por conocer lo que sería el perfil económico de la independencia para Puerto Rico. Es mi intención resumir los contornos básicos de esa opción de status.

    Durante las décadas de 1950 y 1960, Puerto Rico logró un gran crecimiento económico, alcanzando en el 1970 un producto per capita casi similar al de Israel, Italia, Japón y Austria. En los últimos veinticinco años, sin embargo, la experiencia ha sido muy distinta. Un buen número de países independientes que en 1970 eran más pobres o mucho más pobres de Puerto Rico, como Singapur, Malta, Portugal, Irlanda y Argentina, entre otros, nos ha sobrepasado en producto per capita a veces por mucho.
 Page 120       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    A la vez, los países que en 1970 eran más ricos que Puerto Rico, han aumentado considerablemente su ventaja sobre la isla mientras que esta no ha sobrepasado en producto per capita a un solo país desde entonces.

    El relativo estancamiento de Puerto Rico frente a tantos países independientes no ha sido casualidad. Las ventajas económicas de la independencia, en efecto, se han multiplicado como consecuencia del gradual desmantelamiento de las barreras comerciales y los avances en la inversión trasnacional durante el último cuarto de siglo.

    Hoy día la independencia en vez de impedirle a un país pequeño el acceso a los principales mercados mundiales, le permite a los países competir eficazmente en la economía globalizada, ajustando sus políticas de incentivos a sus propias necesidades particulares.

    En el caso de Puerto Rico, la independencia permitiría accesar [sic] Otros mercados aparte del Norteamericano con mucha mayor facilidad que en la actualidad. Al dejar de aplicar las restricciones Norteamericanas de importación, tarifa, cuotas, presuntos requisitos de calidad, leyenda de cabotaje, etcétera, la isla podría comprar bienes y servicios del extranjero a un costo más bajo que el actual, tanto en el renglón de los productos de consumo como en el de los insumos agrícolas e industriales.

    A la vez, la capacidad de suscribir tratados comerciales con otros países, haría posible ampliar nuestro mercado de exportación, principalmente en el Caribe, América Latina y Europa. Por otro lado, en el área contributiva, tras la reciente eliminación de la Sección 936, Puerto Rico ya ha quedado sujeto para propósitos de nuevas inversiones, a las mismas normas Federales generales aplicables a las inversiones Norteamericanas en países independientes. Países como Irlanda y Singapur han usado estas normas durante décadas para atraer exitosamente industrias Norteamericanas. Bajo la independencia más aún, Puerto Rico podría suscribir tratados de exención contributiva con los países de Europa Occidental, Japón y Canadá, diversificando así sus fuentes de inversión y tecnología.
 Page 121       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Si Puerto Rico, usando las herramientas de la independencia, lograra reducir en tan solo uno por ciento anual el costo de sus actuales compras de bienes y servicios en el exterior, ya fuere mediante el acceso a mercados más baratos o mediante la sustitución competitiva de importaciones, se estaría ahorrando a los diez años más dinero del que actualmente recibe en transferencias unilaterales del gobierno Federal, es decir, excluyendo derechos adquiridos y excluyendo los gastos operacionales de las agencias Federales en la isla.

    El beneficio de esas transferencias que han convertido a la isla en un gueto económico, han sido a lo sumo dudoso. Lo que si ha beneficiado a Puerto Rico, ha sido la cultura de libre mercado que ha desarrollado en su relación con los Estados Unidos. Esa cultura unida a nuestra localización geográfica, infraestructura física y adelanto técnico, sitúa a Puerto Rico como foco potencial de enlace comercial y liderato económico en el Caribe.

    Frente a las propuestas del ELA y la estadidad, basadas en perpetuar y aumentar la dependencia que desmoraliza a Puerto Rico y socaba sus fibras de convivencia, la independencia se basa en el trabajo digno, productivo y autosostenible. Esa diferencia fundamental hace de la independencia la mejor opción económica tanto para Puerto Rico como para el Tesoro de los Estados Unidos.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Negron-Rivera follows:]

 Page 122       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Thank you, Mr. Negron-Rivera.

    Mr. Gonzalez.


    Mr. GONZALEZ. Buenas tardes, señor Presidente de la Comisión de Recursos, señor Comisionado Residente Romero-Barceló y a los distinguidos congresistas que están presentes y nos visitan.

    Se dirige a ustedes el Licenciado Ferdinand Lugo. Primero bienvenidos al Distrito Representativo número diecisiete de Mayagüez, y al área oeste del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico. Represento en la legislatura el distrito en el cual nos encontramos y también a miles de Puertorriqueños que como yo, están indignados ante la poca o ninguna consideración política seria que el lenguaje del Proyecto 856 ha tenido para el pueblo de Puerto Rico y sobre todo, para su mayor logro político- jurídico: el Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico.

    Puerto Rico ha tenido y tiene una tradición autonomista, que se materializó por vez primera luego de luchas, sufrimientos, encarcelamientos y negociaciones en la carta autonómica con España allá para el año de 1897. Este año precisamente, celebramos los hijos y las hijas de la nación Puertorriqueña, cien años de haber obtenido nuestro primer proyecto de gobierno propio, la carta autonómica, que dio origen al primer gabinete constitucional y gobierno de Puertorriqueños, inaugurado el 14 de febrero de 1898.
 Page 123       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Luego vino la guerra Hispanoamericana y sin ser Puerto Rico parte del acto bélico, fuimos ocupados militarmente por los Estados Unidos y nuestro primer gobierno autonómico Puertorriqueño fue desecho por vía de la ley congresional Foraker.

    Volvimos de nuevo a la lucha de pueblos, a rescatar el gobierno propio, el orden constitucional civil, el idioma Español para nuestros hijos, mejorar las condiciones de vida, restaurar nuestra naturaleza de pueblo dominado y mancillado. Cincuenta y tres años después lo logramos, producto de otras luchas, sufrimientos, encarcelamiento, persecución y negociación con el Congreso de los Estados Unidos de América para llegar a un pacto y obtener gobierno propio.

    En el año de 1950, luego de que el pueblo de los Estados Unidos y la comunidad internacional vieron la fuerza, pujanza y exigencias del pueblo de Puerto Rico por obtener mayor autonomía, un gobierno propio y una constitución, el Congreso aprobó la Ley 600, la cual fue ratificada por mayoría del pueblo de Puerto Rico. Posteriormente se perfeccionó un pacto al aprobar el Congreso y el Presidente firmar, la Ley Pública 447 el 3 de marzo de 1952 y completarse un pacto bilateral entre dos pueblos.

    Fue de tal manera reconocido por los Estados Unidos el pacto y el nacimiento del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, que el propio Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos, a través de la delegación Estadounidense, presentó ante el Consejo General de las Naciones Unidas, la posición de que Puerto Rico había superado su condición colonial y había sido investido de los atributos de gobierno propio con su soberanía, como una entidad política autónoma.
 Page 124       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Ese pacto y nueva relación política ha sido respaldada por nuestro pueblo en tres plebiscitos, habiendo sido el último en el 1993, y ahora el Congreso pretende con este Proyecto 856 hacernos retroceder en la historia, entregar los derechos colectivos alcanzados con nosotros en asociación con los Estados Unidos, y volver al coloniaje de antes de 1952 u obligarnos a optar por la estadidad en contra de nuestra voluntad. Obviamente, eso no lo puede permitir este pueblo.

    Este proyecto, aparte de ser indigno y denigrante para nuestro pueblo, está siendo legislativamente procesado como si las vistas públicas fuesen un ejercicio investigativo rutinario del Congreso, y no un proyecto de la seriedad que amerita la situación del status de este país. Advertir a los testigos que pueden ser bajo juramento tiene el efecto, si no la intención de amedrentar a los deponentes, o por lo menos crea una disgustante opinión sobre los procesos de la Comisión y sus fines.

    Señores congresistas, cuarenta y cinco años después de haberse constituido el Estado Libre Asociado ratificado en tres ocasiones por los Puertorriqueños, ustedes van a entender, van a tener que entender de corazón, que la nación Puertorriqueña no quiere ser incorporada como otro estado de la Unión. Exigimos el respeto al pacto establecido en 1952 y vamos en camino a solicitar más gobierno propio y más poderes para el Estado Libre Asociado. Si ustedes aceptan la definición propuesta por el Presidente del Partido Popular Democrático, aceptan las definiciones propuestas por las otras dos fórmulas tan dignas como la nuestra y se comprometen implantarla en un término razonable el mandato del pueblo, entonces estaremos ante un proceso justo, en el cual podemos participar sin ceder los derechos, garantías, privilegios obtenidos en más de cien años de lucha, por autonomía y gobierno propio.
 Page 125       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Muchas gracias, señor Presidente.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Gonzalez follows:]


    Mr. YOUNG. I thank you.

    Carlos Lopez-Rivera.


    Mr. LOPEZ-RIVERA. Muy buenos días, señores Congresistas. Mi nombre es Carlos A. López-Rivera, Alcalde de la ciudad de Dorado y Presidente de la Asociación de Alcaldes de Puerto Rico, que contiene el cincuenta por ciento de la población de nuestra patria. Todos defendemos el Estado Libre Asociado en la forma en que el Congreso lo definió en el informe y en la legislación que aprobó el 10 de octubre del 1990.

    Este Proyecto Young es un proyecto engañoso. Llama a las cosas por nombres distintos a lo que son. A la colonia la llama Estado Libre Asociado. A la independencia la llama Libre Asociación. La trampa es clara. Quienes conocen bien a Puerto Rico saben que atesoramos nuestra identidad propia, porque somos una nación con su propia historia, su propio idioma y su propia cultura, de la cual es eje fundamental nuestro idioma Español.
 Page 126       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    De igual manera, atesoramos la ciudadanía de los Estados Unidos, que adquirimos en el 1917 y que hemos honrado y defendido con nuestras vidas. Si Puerto Rico atesora su propia identidad a la vez que atesora la ciudadanía Americana, tiene que votar por una fórmula de status donde dos pilares de las aspiraciones del sentimiento Puertorriqueños puedan lograrse en armonía Este proyecto es un proyecto mezquino, pequeño. Le hace daño a los Estados Unidos y le hace daño a Puerto Rico. Yo no se de leyes, pero sí se que las Leyes 600 del 1950 y la Ley 447 del 1952 hablan de un pacto. Puede haber diferencias sobre la naturaleza de ese pacto, pero lo que no puede haber es una ceguera tal que se niegue que en esas leyes se dice lo que cualquier persona que sabe leer sabe que dicen. Venir ahora con el legalismo de que el Congreso de los Estados Unidos no tenía autoridad para hacer lo que hizo o tratar de hacer aparecer a los Estados Unidos como un país engañador, mentiroso ante los ojos del mundo, cuando le informó a las Naciones Unidas lo que le informó en el 1953, representa un servicio pobre a la democracia Americana.

    En este momento, le planteo a ustedes lo siguiente. ¿Qué credibilidad nos merece lo que ustedes digan y hagan hoy? Señores Congresistas, no se puede jugar así con el destino de un pueblo, de una nación.

    El Proyecto Young, un proyecto de imposición de la estadidad. . . Yo le digo a ustedes los siguiente, el fuerte no puede abusar del débil, y aquí me refiero a la debilidad en el sentido de fuerza económica, de poderío militar, porque moralmente y en orgullo somos tan fuerte como el más.

    La verdad es más fuerte que el engaño. La nación Americana es una historia gloriosa, de ese respeto al ser humano y a los derechos que la asisten. Este proyecto es una negación y representa un bochorno para los Estados Unidos. Si you fuese Congresista como lo son ustedes, me avergonzaría de auspiciar un proyecto como este.
 Page 127       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Les propongo lo siguiente, primero, descarten este proyecto ofensivo. Segundo, eliminen toda sospecha fundado de que los proponentes de la legislación están parcializados hacia una fórmula de estadidad. Tercero, expresen la realidad con una visión más respetuosa de la historia política y jurídica de nuestra patria, Puerto Rico. Cuarto, incorporen a los propulsores de las tres fórmulas políticas en la redacción de distintos borradores, de los cuales se produzca uno final que sea aceptable a todos. Quinto, sometan la legislación plebiscitaria al modelo de la Ley 600. Sexto, dispongan, que de no tener ningún fórmula más del cincuenta por ciento de los votos emitidos, se celebrará una nueva votación entre las fórmulas con el mayor número de votos. Sétimo, comprométanse en aceptar la decisión del pueblo en cuanto a la preferencia que este exprese por cualquiera de las fórmulas de status, legislando para que la decisión de Puerto Rico sea autoejecutable. Octavo, una vez se certifiquen los resultados del plebiscito, el pueblo queda autorizado a convocar una asamblea constituyente para establecer los procedimientos y adoptar las medidas necesarias para coordinar con los Estados Unidos la implantación de la fórmula de status triunfante en un período no mayor de tres años.

    Señores Congresistas, es posible que no todos ustedes estén conscientes de la trampa que representa esta legislación. Yo los invito a examinar con detenimiento todo este proceso y toda esta propuesta. Puerto Rico no se merece este atropello. Esta legislación es un acto de tiranía. Puerto Rico se merece un trato justo, honrando la relación que por casi cien años hemos mantenido con los Estados Unidos, relación que Puerto Rico ha honrado hasta [sic] La. . . A ofrendar la vida de sus hijos.

 Page 128       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Les dejo señores Congresistas, para que hablen con su conciencia, pero sobre todo, para que sus conciencias le hablen a su entendimiento. Puerto Rico, Borinquen, nuestra patria, se lo habrá de agradecer.

    Muchas gracias.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Lopez-Rivera follows:]


    Mr. YOUNG. Senator?

    Mr. MCCONNIE. It is indeed an honor to be talking to the most important deliberative body in the world, and I know and expect that attention of such talented persons will lead to a solution in this matter.

    According to instructions, the first thing you have to say is your status. My preferred status is statehood. I do not object to the approval of this bill as long as it offers all Puerto Ricans the opportunity to back their respective ideologies equitably and democratically.

    As a lifelong Puerto Rican statehooder active since the early fifties as President of Citizens for State 51, which Carlos remembers well, I have learned to respect the ideals and sentiments of those who differ with my statehood ideal. After all, it is from their ranks that additional votes must be obtained to attain statehood. Therefore, I must strongly object to the unfair attitude against Commonwealth repeatedly expressed in the past and the present Young bill, perhaps conflicting with matters under the control, not of this Committee.
 Page 129       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    This clashes with everything that I have been taught during more than 40 years to the effect that a plebiscite process must be fair and not mixed with a normal elective process. The voters are the ones to decide the issues as to the preferred status, not the Young Committee. As testified on Saturday by nonpartisan witnesses, the choice, of course, must be within the pertinent constitutional and legal parameters.

    I am glad to see that Congressman George Miller said Saturday that it must be a fair and open process. That is fine. We are in agreement. So this Committee has a great amount of work to do amending the Young bill in order to bring that about, and I am sure that you will do it. We offer our cooperation. I don't think this is going to be a short session nor is it going to be easy. It is hard.

    What you have before you is very difficult. I know that. Nobody said being a Congressman was an easy job. You guys have to work like hell, and this is a very tough problem. We will help you in any way we can. We are helping you now with our limited statement here.

    Unfortunately, Saturday's hearing confirmed this is anything but fair and open. The angry and offensive demonstrations were to be expected in view of the provocation of this bill. You cannot strip from the present legal status of Puerto Rico all pretense of legality without offending many Puerto Ricans.

    To many it would seem that Public Law 600 and Public Law 447 of the U.S. Congress creating and confirming Commonwealth are still in effect until annulled by the courts or other proper authorities, which has not happened. The 2-year thing is not that easy. You can't just say if not, I will go to Congress and not listen to any law that is passed more than 2 years and disobey it. This is much more complicated than that.
 Page 130       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    In this case, that is not enough of an explanation. Maybe there are explanations, and this bill, this Committee will bring them about. They have not said so now. You don't even say whether your bill is valid because Public Law 600 and Public Law 447 were approved by a different Congress.

    It is no small wonder that the Chairman had difficulty controlling the noisy behavior of commonwealthers and statehooders. When you provoke a hornet's nest, you are not going to get flowers and kisses in return. But Chairman Young, to his credit, handled the matter with restraint and great patience. Thank you, Congressman Young.

    Saturday's hearings confirmed that the sooner the unfair, improper and unnecessary hostile attacks on Commonwealth are amended away and all differences of opinion are presented in a fair and impartial manner, as all the previous status bills were able to do, I appeared before all five of them, in writing or in person, and all of them were able to define the issues and go ahead, the sooner the level playing field that such a serious matter demands will be created.

    It should also be remembered that any victory in a flawed and unfair plebiscite could indeed be hollow and last only until its first encounter in court. The ones that don't win here could be in court the next day, unless this Committee sticks to what they have to stick to, setting up the rules, but don't try to decide the issues. Because you have not the authority. That is what the plebiscite is for. We should also note the fact that commonwealthers have not completely eliminated the possibility of their not participating in what they will consider an unfair plebiscite. They said we are listening to you, but are not saying we are going ahead with the whole thing. In all the past bills and hearings, Commonwealth has participated. So from any objective point of view, this could constitute a very serious problem.
 Page 131       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Because statehood is the Crown Jewel, the Holy Grail, the Super Bowl of American democracy, it must be earned, and earned in fair combat. I have held for a long time that the only way to deserve statehood is by decisively, overwhelmingly defeating Commonwealth, like Alaska and Hawaii defeated their opposition to statehood. We Puerto Ricans have not done that. We have not earned that.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Do you have much longer to go?

    Mr. MCCONNIE. No, I don't have much longer to go. Just one paragraph, and then it is over. I have another statement. This is shorter.

    This will take much more than a mere partisan effort as shown by the defeat in the 1993 status plebiscite, despite controlling all the marbles. I know it is very hard, but somehow you, the Committee, has to distinguish between nonpartisan idealogy and partisanship. This is not a fight between the parties. This is between statehood, Commonwealth and independence, and you guys have to fight this out, not me. I merely talk here, and you can forget me. But eventually that is one thing you will have to decide.

    What I am telling you is really ideological and not partisan. So I tell people instead of attacking the loyalty of commonwealthers to the U.S., it simply must not be continued, because it is not the actual truth and harms statehood.

    I served 30 years in the Army. We did not have any cases of disloyalty of American soldiers from Puerto Rico for partisan or ideological beliefs. There is no Puerto Rican Army. As a Civilian Aide, I served the Army from 1970 to 1984, and have been Civilian Aide Emeritus since 1985 to date. The said experience has been continued. There has never been any disloyalty of any Puerto Rican soldier in the Army with their uniform on.
 Page 132       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I believe and trust that the 200 years of Ballots and not Bullets of both the U.S. and Puerto Rico will make Puerto Rico the 51st State, especially if we Puerto Rican stateholders show the proper respect and admiration for commonwealthers and for all Puerto Ricans and for those who have chosen to be here and stay with us.

    No one ever said being a U.S. Congressman is an easy job. It isn't. That is all, thank you.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. McConnie follows:]


    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. [Presiding.] Thank you. Mr. Joaquin Márquez?


    Mr. MÁRQUEZ. Chairman Young, Mr. Miller, Mr. Underwood, Mr. Romero, my name is Joaquín Márquez, and I appear before you as a private citizen. I have been a resident of the Old Dominion, the proud State of Virginia, for the last 29 years. In the seminal book, a Nation of Immigrants, Daniel Patrick Moynihan richly describes the successive waves of immigrants that form the fabric of our Nation, as well as their legacy.

 Page 133       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I am a part of that legacy and a part of that immigrant wave that has helped build our Nation, the great wave of Puerto Rican immigrants that is still struggling to earn its rightful place in the American melting pot.

    Although my generation did not land at Ellis Island, it landed at Idlewild and Newark in search of the same thing, a better future. My generation's contribution to the general commonwealth is no less valuable than the contributions of earlier waves of immigrants that washed upon our shores.

    Because of time constraints, I would like to address only two very sensitive issues relating to the proposed legislation: who should be allowed to vote in the referendum; and, the requirement that English be used as the official lingua franca for the Federal Government in Puerto Rico.

    The issue of who may vote may be disposed of very easily. However much I love my Borinquen, and I come from Humacao, I cannot in good conscience vote in the proposed referendum because I am no longer a resident of the island. Only those persons who will personally have to bear the direct consequences of the results of the proposed referendum should have the right to vote. Only those who have a direct stake in the outcome, regardless of where they were born, should be the determinants of Puerto Rico's future status.

    Let those nonresidents who demand the right to vote by proclaiming their love for Puerto Rico prove their love by returning to our island and contributing their sweat, toil and talent to the building of a better community.

 Page 134       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Let me quickly turn to the issue of language. Puerto Ricans have been enslaved by a political system under Commonwealth status that has used language to intentionally create an economic, social, and political ghetto. By failing to teach English, Commonwealth politicians have erected an insurmountable barrier to opportunity and progress for Puerto Ricans. The result has been that at least three generations of Puerto Ricans have been condemned to economic slavery and dependence on the island, and particularly, on the mainland.

    It is interesting to note that the leading supporters of Commonwealth all speak excellent English, and even though they chose to not speak English here, they have attended Ivy League and other prestigious mainland schools and universities. It is cruel for Commonwealth leaders to impose the crushing burden of English language illiteracy on the people of Puerto Rico, while forcing many to migrate to drug-infested mainland ghettos in search of meaningful employment.

    When Commonwealth leaders say that most Puerto Ricans cannot read and write the English language well, they are indicting themselves. Puerto Ricans have not learned more English simply because Commonwealth leaders have deprived them of the opportunity to learn the language.

    Before Commonwealth was established, English was taught in all the public schools by teachers properly schooled in the language, many of whom were retired teachers from the mainland. The Commonwealth leadership, then headed by former Governor Munoz Marin, recognized that a fully bilingual Puerto Rico would have the option of seeking statehood or easily transferring to the mainland.

 Page 135       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    In order to preclude statehood and to prevent a brain drain, they elected to discontinue the teaching of English coequally with Spanish. Under the guise of preserving our cultural identity, they thus created an artificial barrier, in the hope that Puerto Ricans would not seek the full measure of their American citizenship.

    In spite of this barrier, over 1 million Puerto Ricans fled the Commonwealth to fetid mainland ghettos in search of a better future. The people of Puerto Rico have come to see the perfidy of this situation and have increasingly turned to statehood as the fulfillment of their hopes and aspirations in their inalienable right to pursue happiness and economic progress. It is high time that this ugly secret be exposed and corrected.

    If English has not supplanted Spanish after nearly a century of American domination, I submit it will not do so when Puerto Rico attains its full rights as a State of the Union. Puerto Ricans must master the language of Cervantes as well as the language of Shakespeare in order to realize the full potential of their God-given talents.

    I disdain those who denigrate the abilities and talents of my fellow islanders. Puerto Rican doctors, lawyers, carpenters, mechanics, barbers, whether professionals or laborers, are no less capable than their counterparts on the mainland. They may just be unable to realize their full worth simply because of a language handicap. Puerto Ricans need to be apprised of the terrible price they are paying as a result of a failed ethnocentric policy imposed by Commonwealth leaders in order to keep them in a linguistic reservation.

    Almost 38 years ago, I appeared in support of statehood in Puerto Rico before a subcommittee of this Committee's predecessor, the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, which was then chaired by Mr. Wayne Aspinall. I was a 17-year-old student then. At that time statehood was supported by a small minority of the electorate. What gave me great hope that in time, in spite of the long odds, my fellow Puerto Ricans would come to appreciate the many blessings of statehood was the shining example of your own State's struggle, Mr. Chairman, to add Alaska's bright star to the constellation of American stars in our flag.
 Page 136       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Ernest Gruening's life-long fight to attain full equality under the Constitution for all Alaskans had finally borne fruit. His successful struggle kindled a passionate fire for equality in me and many of my generation.

    I have always struggled in defense of the proposition that all Americans cannot be equal as long as one citizen is unequal. The world has turned many times since that day, but the fire has only grown stronger in me. Let this be the Congress that brings about full equality for Puerto Rico, ending the stench of a century of colonialism that stains both the soul of my people and the conscience of our Nation. Let this be the Congress that fulfills the implied promise of full equality through statehood made to Puerto Ricans when citizenship was granted in 1917.

    Let this be the Congress that burnishes our Nation's honor by proving to a doubting world that the price of admission to the blessings of full equality under statehood is not measured by the amount of tax dollars paid, but by the recognition of our continuing love and commitment to the American ideals of freedom and democracy embodied in our national Constitution.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Márquez follows:]


    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Thank you, Mr. Márquez.

    I would like to make a couple of statements before we go into the questions. One of them is regarding what has been said about whether the United States lied or not at the United Nations. I want to say that my belief and my understanding, because of what was said, is that the United States lied, but they didn't lie by themselves. The Government of Puerto Rico was part of the conspiracy of that lie. The Government of Puerto Rico supported that lie, and the administration then in effect in Puerto Rico actually proposed they go to the United Nations and relieve the United States from having to submit the reports to the United Nations, because what they said to the United Nations was that in Puerto Rico, a full measure of self-government had been achieved. And now I am in Congress, and I don't have a right to vote on the Floor, and I see there every day laws being passed that affect Puerto Rico, that obligate Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico has to abide by them.
 Page 137       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    So, therefore, there is no full measure of self-government. Whoever says that there is a full measure of self-government here in Puerto Rico, we are not telling the truth. Whoever said it before, didn't tell the truth. It wasn't only the U.S., it was also the administration in Puerto Rico at that time.

    The other thing I would like to say for a historical perspective is the statements that something is unfair as far as the Commonwealth is concerned. I think we should be concerned with the fairness to the people, not fairness as a status, but to the people. The people of Puerto Rico, when they are presented with a decision, that the decisions are fair to them, that they are decisions which are realistic. That is what we should be concerned about.
    If one of the options contains elements that are not realistic, either constitutionally, legally, or politically, we should take care that they are not included, and that is why we should be concerned. We should be fair to the people of Puerto Rico, not to statehood and not independence and not to Commonwealth.

    And to say that the reason is because the Commonwealth Party has said that they might boycott this plebiscite, that is nothing new. The reason that the Commonwealth party had participated in the prior plebiscites is because they were the ones that formulated those plebiscites.

    When Commonwealth was adopted, the second party in Puerto Rico was the Independence Party, and they boycotted the whole process. They boycotted the process for two reasons: They didn't like the process, and they also knew they were going to lose; so why go through the process? That is one of the reasons they boycotted the process.
 Page 138       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Then came the plebiscite in 1967. In 1967 there was a plebiscite that gave the three options, and the two parties that represented those options at that time, they both boycotted the plebiscite. Both parties boycotted, the Republican Party and the Independence Party, and only groups organized by themselves went to represent their options.

    So every time we have had a plebiscite, the opposing parties have the tendency to boycott it, because they realize they are going to lose, and that is the only reason there will be a boycott to a plebiscite.

    Of course we learned a lesson in the 1967 plebiscite, and that is, by boycotting the plebiscite, the Republican Party disappeared and a new party sprung up, so that is something the Popular Party will have to look at.

    But I want to bring this into perspective, because the first to boycott is not only that the people might be dissatisfied with what is said, but also because they feel they are going to lose. If they felt they were going to win the plebiscite, I am sure they would participate.

    Now I would like to ask some questions about the—to Ferdinand Lugo Gonzalez.

    When I hear your statement, I wonder, ask myself, why, if you feel that way about the United States, do you want to be a U.S. citizen?

 Page 139       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. GONZALEZ. Señor Comisionado Residente, voy a mencionarle unos asuntos personales. Mi señor Padre, fue veterano de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, mi hermano mayor veterano, mi segundo hermano veterano, y este servidor tiene diecisiete años de servicios con la Fuerza Armada de los Estados Unidos. O sea, yo no tengo que estarle probando a nadie si yo aprecio la ciudadanía Americana. No tengo que estar probándoselo a nadie. Eso es eh. . . Se concedió y no se debe estar discutiendo Lo que a mí sí me preocupa es lo siguiente, por eso yo planteo en mi ponencia, que respetemos el pacto. Con mi acción personal, la de mi padre, la de mi hermano, la de mis familiares, nosotros cumplimos con nuestra parte del pacto y ahora resulta que en el proceso, fuimos engañados. Ahora resulta, que del 1952 para acá, no hubo pacto. Ahora resulta que el sacrificio de los Puertorriqueños se hizo como parte del producto de un engaño.

    Aquí no debe estar en ''issue'' la cuestión de la ciudadanía Americana. Se concedió en 1917, los que nacieron posterior a eso son ciudadanos por el derecho natural. Eso no es un asunto que debe estar en discusión aquí. O sea, los Puertorriqueños somos Puertorriqueños, la nación Puertorriqueña con ciudadanía Americana. Lo que a mi me preocupa en todo esto y yo le respeto obviamente su posición que usted es el Comisionado de todos los Puertorriqueños aunque no estoy- estoy en total desacuerdo con su posición, pero respeto obviamente, porque yo cumplo siempre mi parte del pacto. Ahora, me preocupa cuando la otra parte no la cumple. Bien, entonces me preocupa por ejemplo en estos momentos, la posición suya que luce que es la posición de esta Comisión, si no me corrigen, es que los Estados Unidos en confabulación cuando vino a Puerto Rico, engañaron al mundo.

    Las consecuencias de eso van a ser que si resentimientos hay contra los Estados Unidos en estos momentos y ustedes lo vieron en el panel anterior, Lolita Lebron, mancillada, dañada en su espíritu. Si resentimiento había, ahora después de las expresiones. . . No, si lo que pasó fue que no hubo ningún pacto, esto todo era un engaño, obviamente los Estadolibristas vamos a ir a los tribunales. Por lo menos yo voy a los tribunales. Pero va a haber más resentimiento—en este país.
 Page 140       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Va a haber más resentimiento en este país, porque siguen dividiendo al pueblo de Puerto Rico. Yo tengo la fuerza moral para exigirle el pacto, le di diecisiete años de servicio, todavía estoy en la reserva activa. Mi padre, mi hermano, mi otro hermano. . . Yo tengo la fuerza moral. Ahora resulta que no hubo pacto, pues vamos a los tribunales. Pero el problema de todo esto es que siguen dividiendo al pueblo de Puerto Rico y eso es más lamentable porque crea más resentimiento.

    También quiero tocar. . . Aprovechar la oportunidad, alguien tocó el asunto del Inglés. O sea, que los Puertorriqueños el problema del aprendizaje del Inglés. No, el problema del aprendizaje del Inglés de los Puertorriqueños. Es que aquí no se ha enseñado Inglés para que aprendamos Inglés. Aquí se ha enseñado Inglés para desnaturalizar a los Puertorriqueños. A mí siempre me llega. . . A mí. . . Inmediatamente me llega a la mente, el cuento que nos estuvieron contando de niños, de Jorge Washington, el que nunca dijo una mentira. Yo quiero hacer igual que Jorge Washington que nunca dijo una mentira. Entonces nos están vendiendo, a nuestros niños le han estado vendiendo durante todo el siglo, de que la mejor forma de ser mejor ciudadano es parecerse a Jorge Washington en los Estados Unidos. Entonces en el proceso, en lugar de enseñarles Inglés a los Puertorriqueños reconociendo los valores de los Puertorriqueños, los queremos desnaturalizar. Y por eso es que el espíritu del Puertorriqueño se resiste a aprender el Inglés. No es porque no quiera aprender Inglés, es porque lo que le están enseñando es. . . Simplemente le están dañando su naturaleza. El Puertorriqueño quiere aprender el Inglés y quiere aprender el Francés, pero es que en el proceso, no le quieren enseñar Inglés, lo quieren desnaturalizar. Y todas esas cosas, pues son lamentables pero tienen que llegar a esta Comisión.
 Page 141       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. My time is up. I have to turn to the others.

    Mr. Underwood.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. I have no questions.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Mr. Young.

    Mr. YOUNG. I have one comment to Ferdinand.

    You are in the State House? State Senate?

    Mr. GONZALES. House.

    Mr. YOUNG. Do you have rules?

    Mr. GONZALEZ. Si.

    Mr. YOUNG. The rules apply to everyone.

    Mr. GONZALEZ. Si.

    Mr. YOUNG. I have rules that apply to everybody, too. Everybody is asked to testify, consent to the same form. That is the rules of the House, as you have rules in your House. Don't question my rules.
 Page 142       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. GONZALEZ. Señor Presidente, este pueblo y los representantes de este pueblo tenemos el perfecto derecho a cuestionar los procedimientos, por cuanto durante cien años, hemos estado divididos y ahora en cinco minutos quiere que hagamos una expresión a los efectos de decidir una cuestión tan importante como es el status de este país. Tenemos el perfecto derecho como hombres libres y mujeres libres, a cuestionar los procedimientos con mucho respeto.

    Mr. YOUNG. I haven't asked you a question.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. No more questions. That is the rules. No more questions.

    Mr. LOPEZ. La democracia est coartada entonces.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. No, that—that's the rules.

    Mr. LOPEZ. Exacto.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. No more questions.

    Mr. LOPEZ. No, porque deberíamos reaccionar a las expresiones que usted hizo. La democracia está coartada entonces.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. That's what—you would say, that's your freedom to say it.
 Page 143       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. LOPEZ. Una vez más.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. I will call the next panel, Luis Vega Ramos, Ramon Velasco, Hector Borges, Julio Cezar Lopez Gerena, Gonzalo Fernos-Lopez, and Angel Ortiz-Guzman.

    Mr. RAMOS. Good afternoon.

    We come before this Committee for the third time in as many years to ask you to enact legislation for the Puerto Rican Nation to self-determine its sovereignty.

    We sincerely hope we have reached a stage where we have more congressional appearances behind us than ahead of us. Last year we testified on H.R. 34, on that time which claim to fair place and today, refer to H.R. 856, we add the following.

    Goodwill requires to refrain from offering any territorial status. If you mean what you say, when you claim you want to decolonize, you cannot offered unincorporated territory or the incorporated one, not even as an option to another status. The options are independence, statehood, and free associated state, or ''Estado Libre Asociado,'' in Spanish. That is what us and international law provide for. The options should be clearly defined in terms of economic and political consequences.

 Page 144       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    This is particularly important in the case of statehood, because we are a distinct Spanish speaking nationality that won't assimilate easily into the American body politic. Certainly it forbids that two options have the same definition. That would be highly misleading to the electorate. Each of the three options should have its own valid text. All Puerto Ricans must be allowed to vote. Self-determination applies to nations and not to random groups. Puerto Rico, as you have seen in these hearings, is a nation, so all of us have a say in this decision.

    Finally, both fair play and goodwill demand a quicker response and implementation mechanisms. We shouldn't have to wait for decades and new votes so our grandchildren finally know if Congress is going to implement our will.

    We congratulate the administration and Chairman Miller for your stand on this issue. We refer you to notes that have been filed by another witness in this panel, the attorney, Angel Ortiz. We said last year, let us be totally clear, Estado Libre Asociado has to be one of the options, but not as it is today, because in fact nobody is asking for that. Instead, it must be included as it should be, sovereign, clearly outside the territorial clause and associated to the United States only by means of bilateral compact.

    We said our proposal represented the majority of the pro-Commonwealth forces. Recent events have confirmed this. On March 15th, the youth organization of the Popular Democratic Party sponsored a definition that was endorsed by prominent leaders of that party. It is the acceptable minimum for all of the organizations, and in fact, many of the leaders who have been here today support that definition. It should be the building block for an offer of bilateral association to Puerto Rico.

 Page 145       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    This definition, which we include in our statement, establishes Estado Libre Asociado, as a formula based solely on Puerto Rican sovereignty. This has clear implications for H.R. 856 for the kinds of options it includes.

    Let there be no mistake about it; the consensus in the Popular Democratic Party in Puerto Rico, the consensus of which is a proud part of, is for the unadulterated Puerto Rican sovereignty. That means full, free, association.

    Much has been argued by the implement of this option by the retention of citizenship for Puerto Ricans and their offspring. Even the former Ambassador has expressed an opinion. We did our homework and found no constitutional impediment for the inclusion in the compact of U.S. citizenship for new generations of Puerto Ricans.

    I repeat, there is no constitutional impediment for the inclusion in the compact of U.S. citizenship guarantees for these and new generations of Puerto Ricans.

    Furthermore, two are alternatives for the long-standing U.S. presence. We submitted a letter to the chairman recently prepared by our experts that explains in detail our citizenship proposal. After seeing it, members of the Committee, you will agree that Puerto Rican sovereignty and U.S. citizenship are compatible. It is simply a question of political will.

    We urge Congress to adopt a policy that is sound and that is right. The United States has the duty to act. H.R. 856 can be another drummer in an endless march of follies, or it could still be the beginning of a beautiful friendship and partnership between both our Nations. The choice, Members of Congress, is all yours.
 Page 146       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Thank you.

    Mr. YOUNG. Thank you, Luis.

    Mr. Velasco.


    Mr. VELASCO. Good afternoon, members of the Committee. I represent the Association of Pro-Commonwealth Attorneys. The Association of Pro-Commonwealth Attorneys appears before the Committee today in order to participate in this congressional hearing on H.R. 856.

    We believe it is important to point out to this Committee that there are several basic findings included in the bill that, in our opinion, are incorrect or inconsistent with the law as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court and other Federal court decisions.

    In 1950, the U.S. Congress enacted Public Law 600, which enabled the people of Puerto Rico to make a constitution to cover its internal affairs consistent with the American democratic tradition of government by the consent of the governed. The act itself was submitted to and approved by the people of Puerto Rico.

    Public Law 600 declared that when the Constitution was approved, the organic provisions of the Jones Act would be automatically repealed. The Constitution was approved by Public Law 447 as a pact between Congress and the people of Puerto Rico. Through this process, the people of Puerto Rico achieved full self-government. The Federal Government's relations with Puerto Rico changed from being bounded by merely the territorial clause and the rights of a people the Puerto Rico as United States citizens, to being bounded by the United States and Puerto Rico Constitutions, Public Law 600, the Federal Relations Act, and the rights of the people of Puerto Rico as United States citizens.
 Page 147       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Federal statutes, U.S. Government official positions, and judicial interpretations provide a clear picture of Commonwealth. It is a political status that created a body politic, with autonomy and sovereignty over local matters of a nature equal to a state. This authority has recognized a compact that cannot be change unilaterally, because the term ''compact'' implies or presupposes a bilateral agreement.

    In view of this history of judicial interpretations and U.S. Government official positions, we think it should be clear that Puerto Rico has achieved self-government and that its autonomy and sovereignty are equal to those normally attributed to a State. It is therefore a mistake to base this bill on the assumption that the only alternative to full self-government is the ones included in the bill.

    The Commonwealth created in 1952 is an alternative. It is not perfect, and can be expanded and modernized. The definition exalted by the Popular Democratic Party appealed to the goal of and opens the process of negotiation to clarify, and or expand, the present relationship.

    The concept of self-determination applies to the process of presenting the alternatives itself. The way this bill is enacted does not comply with that rule. The bill disqualifies the present state of the law without any participation of Puerto Rico.

    The final arbiter of these matters is the Supreme Court, as was announced to the United Nations. When Public Law 600 was approved by the Congress, the requirement of its acceptance was dictated to the people by Congress. That same procedure must be used now.
 Page 148       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    There is another aspect that should worry us all. The United States has been consistent, year after year in the United Nations, in its positions that Puerto Rico's case is closed. The future development and greater autonomy of Puerto Rico is both necessary and desirable in a modern and changing world. However, it is a private matter between two sovereigns that are associated by a compact.

    The United Nations Resolutions Number 1514 and 1541 and other resolutions require, among other things, the demilitarization of the territory. This applies to territories that have not achieved full self-government and are still under the jurisdiction of the United States. Puerto Rico is not such a territory and arguing that it is does not serve the best interests of either the United States or Puerto Rico. It is unnecessary and can be ill advised and risky.

    The enemies of the United States and Puerto Rico may try to influence this Congress to fall into that mistake. The presentation of alternatives present under this bill does not satisfy a majority of the potential voters in a plebiscite. The existing relationship may devote the need for the court's intervention to adjudicate the authorities by the premises included in it.

    Statehood is not good for the United States and Puerto Rico. And neither is it good for our desire to be a distinct people and your need to be a cohesive natural body. These things have been pronounced by the Supreme Court on several occasions.

    Puerto Rico is associated with the United States, permanently bounded by our many common interests. Any bill should take this into consideration. The Congress should follow suit since, after all, this is a matter of political will. It is not foreclosed by legality. We are confident we will win a fair and just plebiscite. Let us create a fair and modernization of the compact that would make the next generation of Americans and Puerto Ricans proud of this generation.
 Page 149       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. YOUNG. Thank you, Hector.


    Mr. BORGES. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, distinguished Members of Congress. Welcome to Puerto Rico.

    My name is Hector Quijano Borges, and I come before you on behalf of the Attorneys for Statehood, an organization that represents thousands of attorneys who believe in the democratic system of the United States as well as in the permanent union with the same Nation.

    It is a fact that in Puerto Rico, the vast majority of attorneys, especially the younger generations, treasure our U.S. citizenship. We also represent the new generations of job professionals who decide a new future of security, progress, equality, for our families, our children.

    I would like to begin by commending the Committee on Resources for its contribution in providing a process that would put an end to the colonial dilemma of Puerto Rico. This bill reflects the effort of the U.S. Congress to respond to the aspiration of our 3.7 million U.S. citizens eager to become Americans.

 Page 150       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The Association of Attorneys for Statehood endorses the seven-point definitions of the statehood contained in this bill. And in this hearing you have heard the statement of those who oppose that Puerto Rico should become federated State of the Union. They argue that statehood represents three basic problems for the United States.

    First, they allege that if Puerto Rico became the 51st State, it would be dependent State; second, that both our language and culture are now not compatible with becoming a State; third, that statehood for Puerto Rico would be extremely costly for the U.S.

    Obviously, those are arguments that only pretend to manipulate your conscience as well as that of the Puerto Rican people. Let's take those arguments and discuss them one by one.

    I must be clear that, in the ELA, dependency of Puerto Ricans to work for our problems increase every day. We are much more dependent proportionally than all 50 States. The so-called new definition of ELA proposes equal treatment in Federal programs with our contribution, a penny, for the Federal Treasury.

    Could there be a better example of the dependency than asking for benefits without assuming any duties? It is a fact that this definition does not fit in the fair and constitutional system of the United States. In legal, constitutional, and practical terms, this definition is not acceptable.

    Furthermore, the perpetration of a colonial status for Puerto Rico is in clear violation of the basic principles of international law. History reveals that no one State has become poorer after joining the Union. On the contrary, experience tells us that economy of all territories after becoming State has strongly developed.
 Page 151       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Far from becoming a dependent state, Puerto Rico with the advantage of becoming a bilingual State, and with the assets of its hard-working people, will become the commercial bridge between the Spanish-speaking world and the United States. Our economic development as a State will be notorious.

    To say that Puerto Rico as a State will be a problem for the United States for speaking both Spanish and English contravenes the constitutional principles that all men are created equal. Far from being a problem, our bilingualism enriches our U.S. Nation. So that everyone clearly understands this point, allow me to continue my statement in Spanish.

    Esto lo hago, para que quede también meridianamente claro que no hay incompatibilidad en creer en la estadidad, ser estadista y ser Puertorriqueño, atesorar el idioma Español, nuestra cultura, tradiciones y religión. Estados Unidos es un vitral de etnias y culturas, unida por unas mismas creencias, por unos mismos principios de convivencia humana y democracia, sin importar el lugar de origen, la raza y el color. Y nosotros añadimos, sin importar si se hablan o no, uno o más idiomas.

    El hecho de que en Puerto Rico tengamos el Español y el Inglés como idiomas oficiales, en nada afecta a la nación. Por el contrario, la enriquece y le da la versatilidad deseada en un mundo donde las comunicaciones y la computación han eliminado las barreras de las distancias entre las naciones. Estamos en la era de la globalización. Los pueblos no pueden ni deben colocar barreras entre unos y otros. Lo que deben colocar son puentes de entendimiento y de amistad. Ese es el nuevo mundo, al cual aspiramos los jóvenes profesionales de esta bendita tierra, las mismas personas que le dicen ustedes que su fórmula incluye paridad de fondos Federales sin la obligación de contribuciones Federales, son aquellas que insinúan que Puerto Rico no puede ser estado porque la cantidad de fondos que recibiría sería muy grande y constituiría una carga para el presupuesto de los Estados Unidos, como si el problema del status se tratara de un asunto de dólares y centavos. El problema colonial de Puerto Rico es un asunto de dignidad humana. No es, y repito, no es un asunto de dinero o de negocios. La nación que ustedes representan, los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica, siempre se ha distinguido por ser la nación más generosa del mundo.
 Page 152       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Nos preguntamos ahora, ¿es que ese sentimiento de generosidad, ese sentimiento magnánimo se puede perder? El permitirle a los Puertorriqueños decidir su destino político, final, con fórmulas realmente descolonizadoras y constitucionalmente aceptables, incluyendo la estadidad, tampoco puede ser un asunto de dólares y centavos para los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica.

    Finalmente, queremos llamar la atención a este Comité sobre las expresiones vertidas aquí por lo que presentan la nueva definición del ELA. Según ellos, el proceso tiene que ser uno de consenso, donde la fórmula que concursen según aprobadas por el Congreso, sean aceptables para los proponentes de las fórmulas. Sin embargo, nos preguntamos, ¿cómo se puede complacer a los proponentes del ELA si la definición que proponen es totalmente irreal e inconstitucional?
    Mr. YOUNG. Puerto Rico is like Alaska. Just a little more.

    Mr. BORGES. Definitely.

    We believe that statehood is the first commission to the colonial problem. We want to preserve, protect and make our U.S. citizenship be permanent, equal to that of Puerto Rico's brothers and sisters in the United States. We find that can only be achieved within the framework of sovereignty shared with the other 50 States of the American Nation. Thank you very much.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Borges follows:]

 Page 153       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. YOUNG. I love America and I love the process. I have two opposing views side-by-side.


    Mr. GERENA. Good afternoon. We are going to request that you take our statement in English for the record, but this afternoon we would like to present it in Spanish.

    Mr. YOUNG. Without objection.

    Mr. GERENA. Chairman Young, Mr. Miller, Mr. Romero-Barceló, members of the Committee on Resources, my name is Julio Cesar Lopez Gerena. I am the mayor of the city of Humacao, located in the eastern coast of our Island, with a population of approximately 60,000. Last November I had the privilege of being reelected to a second 4-year term, albeit with a municipal assembly controlled by the same party, the pro-statehood New Progressive Party.

    I take much pride in this electoral achievement, as Humacao had always been a stronghold of the Popular Democratic Party. Certainly our city has undergone significant changes as well as many other municipalities around the Island. Throughout the 1970's and 1980's, conventional wisdom was that in order for the pro-statehood New Progressive Party to win a general election it had to depend on a strong showing in the municipalities encompassing the metropolitan area. Since there were over two dozen municipalities on the rest of the Island, the pro-commonwealth party had never lost an election. That was the case of our city in Humacao.
 Page 154       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The logic was supposedly that statehood appealed as a status option to those Puerto Ricans with the mainstream; in other words, the upper and middle classes that had ready access to cable TV and the opportunity to study in the mainland in the United States. Therefore, following this same logic, the pro-commonwealth party was the party that appealed to the working classes and the rural poor, as it supposedly continued its original quest for social justice using the party slogan of ''bread, land and liberty.''

    Yet a silent and irreversible transformation has been underway. As the general elections of 1982 and 1996 show, the pro-statehood New Progress Party, which advocates statehood, has shown incredible strength in every region of our Island, garnering 54 out of the 78 municipalities in the elections, 14 out of the 16 district Senators and 30 out of the 40 district Representatives in 1992, as well as 13 district Senators and 31 district Representatives in 1996.

    For many years the economic model for the pro-commonwealth Popular Democratic Party depended exclusively on section 936. This incentive showed many limitations. While the pro-commonwealth Popular Democratic Party was the power between 1985 and 1993, it did not show any effort to nourish the development of other sectors of our economy and then avoid an overdependence in the sector of manufacturing.

    Still, the extent of such a myopic vision did not end there, as there was no significant massive infrastructure development during these years. That is why prosperity could only go so far, failing to reach in a significant manner many regions of our Island, including our eastern coast.

 Page 155       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    As an example, according to the statistics of the U.S. Census Bureau in 1990, our city of Humacao had a per capita yearly income of $3,955. To me, the most surprising and regrettable fact about the figures is that Humacao ranked the 16th highest among the Island's 78 municipalities.

    In 1993, the pro-commonwealth party had the slogan of ''the best of two worlds.'' How can they say that when in 1991, 58.9 percent of all Puerto Ricans lived below the poverty line and when the gap between Puerto Rico and the per capita income in Mississippi was even becoming wider?

    The efforts of the Rossello administration were health and education, which allowed us to be fair and to empower even the poorest of our citizens. As the mayor of a middle sized city, I know the benefits that statehood would bring to my citizens, both individually as well as collectively. Our city would receive the benefit of an increase in assistance to be able to improve the services provided in housing, health, education, solid waste disposal, as well as many others.

    As a firm believer in the American dream, we know that to be able to provide real social justice, we need to become the 51st State of the Union. I want to make it clear that I also favor statehood for Puerto Rico, as it is the only option that would allow us to stand on our feet. We are statehooders because we have dignity and we have complete confidence in our people. We know for sure that we will be contributors for the future well-being in this great Nation of ours.

    Finally, I want to stress to this Committee the importance of making it clear that under the territorial definition of Commonwealth, Congress has disciplinary powers over Puerto Rico as it has over any other territory. Let us proclaim this in the clearest and least ambiguous terminology and language.
 Page 156       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit said in the case of U.S. vs. Sanchez of 1993, ''Congress may unilaterally repeal the Puerto Rican constitution of the Puerto Rican Federal Relations Act and replace them with any rules or regulations of its choice.''

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Lopez-Gerena follows:]


    Mr. YOUNG. Thank you, Julio. With your indulgence, I hope to come to your city someday. It is the east side I have not seen, so I want to do that.

    Mr. GERENA. You will be very welcome.

    Mr. YOUNG. Thank you.

    Mr. Fernos-Lopez.

    Mr. FERNOS-LOPEZ. Mr. Chairman, before my time comes, if I may, I want to make some logistical remarks which I believe are important for the record of this hearing.
 Page 157       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. YOUNG. Without objection, as long as it does not take too long.

    Mr. FERNOS-LOPEZ. No, it is very short. On May 16 and 17 of 1963, the Territorial and Insular Affairs Subcommittee of the House conducted hearings on certain bills, about eight bills, all with the same purpose, and the title was ''To establish a procedure for the prompt settlement in a democratic manner of the political status of Puerto Rico.''

    That was 34 years ago. A commission was created resulting from these hearings and some recommendations were made and filed away, and the whole thing remained in oblivion until the 1967 plebiscite in Puerto Rico.

    Now, on March 21st I sent to Your Honor the request to testify in this hearing, and the reply came on April 9th and I was given 8 days to submit my statement or testimony with 100 copies, and that was quite a lot to write in that short period. So I must ask Your Honor the indulgence of the Committee for all the mistakes I may have committed in my statement, my full statement.

    I want to thank you for letting me start, and now you can start counting my time.

    Mr. YOUNG. For your information, we forgive all mistakes because we make many ourselves. But go ahead.

 Page 158       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. FERNOS-LOPEZ. Thank you. Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I respectfully submit the following verbal summary of my written testimony. I perceive that the controversy arising from the definition of commonwealth status in the bill H.R. 856 is the main disagreement threatening to create a stalemate situation and thus preventing this bill from being carried by both congressional Chambers.

    It follows that if the House Committee on Resources does not cede to the already presented Popular Democratic Party's definition of the new commonwealth, the bill will be dead before it reaches the House floor for a vote. In that case, we commonwealth advocates may be compelled to seek redress in an international forum for an impartial, independent ruling to resolve the controversy.

    First, the Treaty of Paris of 1898 is of doubtful international validity, because after having been challenged and sustained in the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals of the U.S. on the grounds that Spain had granted Puerto Rico an autonomic charter in 1897, the challenge was never raised before the U.S. Supreme Court, the United Nations nor the International Court of the Hague for a final ruling.

    Second, the U.S. Congress and previous military rule of Puerto Rico have been reluctant to release the power over the Island. Mild concessions leaning toward self-government were granted to Puerto Rico by the Foraker Act of 1900 and the Jones Act of 1917, yet the Island continued under the ironclad power of the U.S. Congress until 1952.

    Third, in 1950 to 1952, the U.S. Congress legislated to grant Puerto Rico an irrevocable autonomous self-government status through a mutually binding covenant, which now seems it wishes to repeal through bill H.R. 856.
 Page 159       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Fourth, in 1953, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Henry Cabot Lodge, appeared before the United Nations General Assembly to reaffirm Puerto Rico's colonized status since 1952, and to request the United Nations to exempt the U.S. from continuing to transmit yearly information to the United Nations under article 73(e) of the United Nations Charter.

    To that effect, on November 27, 1953, the United Nations General Assembly in plenary session approved resolution 748. Thus, the U.S. has assumed an ambivalent position concerning the decolonization of Puerto Rico by granting full self-government under Public Law 447 and is now disclaiming such granting through the filing of House bill H.R. 856.

    Fifth, I submit that the plebiscite process, if it ever takes place, should be monitored by a United Nations mission.

    Sixth, since U.S. Supreme Court decisions have not clarified to date the Puerto Rico commonwealth status, a ruling clarifying the controversy from the U.S. Supreme Court itself, the United Nations General Assembly, through its Decolonization Committee, or the International Court of the Hague should be obtained.

    Seventh, I maintain that the territorial clause of the U.S. Constitution has been erroneously applied to the case of Puerto Rico.

    Eighth, I am proposing a substitute definition of the new commonwealth to replace the one spelled out in the House bill H.R. 856, notwithstanding that the Popular Democratic Party has already submitted its official definition of new commonwealth status.
 Page 160       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Ninth, for nearly a century three separate juridical entities have been debating to see which one will prevail. All the while U.S. Congressmen sit back smiling at all the bickering. I propose that all three entities could be geographically implemented by proportionately dividing the Island among the three political parties according to the percentage of votes obtained in the plebiscite.

    This is, of course, a conceptual basis. It is not real. While this may sound absurd on a geopolitical basis, conceptually it is very feasible through the sui generis formula of the new commonwealth status, which would include at once all the advantages of statehood, independence and commonwealth, but very few of their disadvantages.

    Tenth, I am suggesting a formula or method to determine the voting rights of the people in a plebiscite.

    Eleventh, I am touting the language issued by labeling the ''English only'' posture as xenophobic.

    Twelfth, I maintain that U.S. citizenship, once granted, cannot be taken away.

    Thirteenth, in my final statement I emphasize the need to arbitrate as an independent, impartial forum the controversy of whether Puerto Rico has attained autonomous self-government under the covenant of 1952 or still is under the plenary power of the U.S. Congress pursuant to the territorial clause of the U.S. Constitution.
 Page 161       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Last, I submit that the controversy must be resolved before proceeding to consider any further House bill H.R. 856. Thank you very much.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Fernos-Lopez follows:]


    Mr. YOUNG. Angel Ortiz-Guzman.


    Mr. ORTIZ-GUZMAN. Good afternoon, members of the Committee. My name is Angel Ortiz-Guzman, and I testify on behalf of a new generation of Puerto Ricans who firmly believe in the sovereignty of Puerto Rico in association with the United States through the status known as Free Association.

    I would like to suggest a definition of Free Association that will help this Committee to achieve the goal of H.R. 856 of decolonizing and disposing of the Territory of Puerto Rico.

    It is time for Congress to act honestly in this matter. Congress must offer status options valid under international law. Those options are statehood, independence and Free Association, which you may call a free associated state. It is my judgment that an option of Free Association according to international law must be included in H.R. 856 if Congress really wants to decolonize Puerto Rico.
 Page 162       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    In that sense, I suggest the following: There must be a final disposition of congressional powers over Puerto Rico. Congress must dispose in a final and irrevocable manner of any and all remaining power or authority over Puerto Rico under the terms of Article IV, section 3, of the United States Constitution.

    It is necessary to clarify the nature of the association between Puerto Rico and the United States. The options of Free Association and independence should be separated and have their own definitions.

    A Free Associated State must be defined as a sovereign nation in full free association with the United States by means of a bilateral compact which can only be amended by mutual agreement.

    The Free Associated State option must be sovereign, clearly outside the territorial clause, with full authority and responsibility for its internal and external affairs. The name of the option is not important, but the substance is.

    It is necessary that Congress recognize the full power of Puerto Rico's government with respect to its territory and population, language and culture, determining its own relations and participation in the community of nations and exercising all the attributes of a sovereign political entity, except those especially delegated to the Government of the United States in the text of the bilateral compact.

    Congress shall recognize Puerto Rico's power to determine and control its own nationality and citizenship.
 Page 163       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Congress shall recognize, as it did in the Compact of Free Association of 1986 with the Marshall Islands, that a United States citizen who becomes a citizen of the Free Associated State of Puerto Rican and who does not voluntarily renounce his United States citizenship will retain his United States citizenship and continue entitled to the same rights and privileges as any other United States citizen.

    Congress must guarantee that the terms of the bilateral Compact of the Free Associated State can only be determined or amended by mutual agreement and that the people of Puerto Rico will give their consent or agreement in accordance with the terms of the compact and the applicable constitutional process.

    Congress shall recognize Puerto Rico's eligibility for United States assistance to be provided in a block grant government-to-government basis, including foreign aid or programmatic assistance, at a level similar, but never superior, to the present ones.

    I also suggest that in the event none of the three options get a majority by itself but the sum of the votes for Puerto Rican sovereignty options—Free Association and Independence—does produce a majority, the process to decolonize and to dispose of the Territory of Puerto Rico may go forward.

    Finally, I urge this Committee to strike out the present Commonwealth definition included in H.R. 856 and offer a sovereign Free Associate State or Commonwealth in full free association by means of a bilateral compact between the United States and Puerto Rico.

 Page 164       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    In considering our suggestions, we invite this Committee to study a series of amendments drafted by PROELA, an organization in which I am vice president, that will comply with the applicable criteria for Free Association and self-determination.

    Members of this Committee, there are answers to colonialism. The United States and the people of Puerto Rico deserve an opportunity to choose between non-colonial and non-territorial options in their referendum scheduled for 1998. It only takes the will to do it.

    Thank you.

    Mr. YOUNG. Thank you.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Ortiz-Guzman follows:]


    Mr. YOUNG. I want to thank the panel.

    Carlos, do you have questions?

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Yes, I have a couple of questions.

    I want to ask Mr. Velasco, if the Congress today would pass a banking law, can they make it applicable for Puerto Rico without Puerto Rico's previous consent?

 Page 165       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. VELASCO. A banking law, yes.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. And fair trade laws?

    Mr. VELASCO. And fair trade laws, yes.

    Just to answer your whole question, the only laws that are not applicable to Puerto Rico made by the U.S. Congress are those that are locally inapplicable because of geographic or that kind of laws and also those that do not address the compact.

    Now, what is the compact? The compact is Public Law 600, the Federal Relations Act, the Constitution of Puerto Rico. Those are the laws—and 447, of course.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Can Congress pass income tax laws taxing income produced in Puerto Rico?

    Mr. VELASCO. Income tax laws?

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Taxing income produced in Puerto Rico. Can they not pass laws?

    Mr. VELASCO. No, they cannot.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Why are they taxing the companies that are here in Puerto Rico for their income produced in Puerto Rico now, what used to be section 936? Why are those taxing the income produced here if you say they cannot?
 Page 166       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. VELASCO. Mr. Romero, those companies that were under 936 are U.S. companies.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. No, they are subsidiaries.

    Mr. VELASCO. Excuse me, the subsidiaries are U.S. subsidiaries that are doing business in Puerto Rico; so, therefore, those subsidiaries, because they are citizens of the States where they were incorporated, are under the Internal Revenue Code; and that is why you can do it.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. But they are taxed here for the income produced in Puerto Rico.

    Mr. VELASCO. But they are taxed because they are citizens of other States, not because they are citizens of Puerto Rico.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. And when a Puerto Rican earns income outside of Puerto Rico, they are also taxed by the United States, right?

    Mr. VELASCO. Because that income is derived outside of Puerto Rico. But the income derived inside of Puerto Rico is not taxable under the Internal Revenue Code. And it is not taxable, first, because they are not in the Internal Revenue code; and, second, because it is part of the compact.

 Page 167       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. An excise tax, they cannot impose excise taxes on Puerto Rico?

    Mr. VELASCO. Excise taxes? Puerto Rico imposes excise taxes, not the United States. The United States imposes custom duties.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. How about the rum excise tax?

    Mr. VELASCO. The rum excise tax—the problem with the rum excise tax is the Puerto Rico government did not do anything at the time.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Why didn't they do it afterwards?

    Mr. VELASCO. They haven't done it.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. They have had 8 years for the Popular Party Administration, and they didn't go to court.

    Mr. VELASCO. That is besides the point. The point is, Mr. Romero, that independent of what they did or didn't, you can't impose it; and if the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico goes to court, that is another matter. They didn't do that.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Why don't you file a claim? Why don't you file a claim and have them return the money?

 Page 168       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. VELASCO. They didn't do it at the time.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. You can do it now. If you have the law with you, you can file a claim to have the money returned?

    Mr. VELASCO. I can't speak for the commonwealthers of Puerto Rico, Mr. Romero.

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. You can speak for the taxpayers.

    Mr. VELASCO. That is something to be studied at this time. We are not going to do that now.

    Mr. YOUNG. I don't want to cut the gentleman short, but we are about ready to run out of time, and the gentleman from Guam is all excited about Free Association, so he is allowed to ask questions.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. I just want to offer some observation since I know we are at the end of the line. I just wanted to point out as, obviously, a vitally interested observer of this process because of the impact it may have on Guam as well as being a member of the Committee, it strikes me that there are many fingers being pointed in this process.

    All along and throughout the day we have heard about the status of Estado Libre Asociado has misled the people, we have heard that statehood status is being offered but it is not being guaranteed, and many people that are advocates of independence are saying that people have been made to be afraid of independence.
 Page 169       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    And then we hear in the written testimony, at least there are many references to court cases, some involving Guam, some involving the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas. We have heard references to the Compacts of Free Association. Yet that brings to mind a whole series of other issues that are attendant to it.

    Again, even in the process of seeing that or hearing it, I recognize that some of those things, while not entirely being inaccurate, they are not entirely accurate as well. The Compacts of Free Association and the Covenant of the Northern Marianas are very different from each other. The reference to continuing citizenship applies to a very small group of people who happened to be U.S. citizens before the implementation of the compacts, and that is a very different process coming in.

    I just want to point out that it seems to me—and I hate to go back to this very, very basic point. It seems to me that, of the entire political status process, at least as we did it on Guam, is we understood what we were trying to do. I think we understood what we were trying to do, and we tried to argue it from what we wanted, and then we are going to Congress and see what we can get.

    Now, if Congress doesn't want to do it, then Congress will own up to us at that time and make it clear what it wants to do and what it does not want to do. I submit that, subsequent to that, the people of Guam are still free to engage in a lot of things, because I think the right of self-determination is not extinguished, because people will have that right.

    But I do think that making these very glib comparisons, I always want to know, what happened to the old ELA that we need a new ELA?
 Page 170       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. RAMOS. Mr. Underwood, if you would permit a brief comment on my part, I would agree with you the Marianas arrangement and Compact of Free Association Agreement are two different things. The Marianas arrangement is under the sovereignty of the U.S. We don't want that. The people of Puerto Rico have said, at least the people who are supporting the Estado Libre Asociado today, want a relationship with the United States based on sovereignty for Puerto Rico. That leaves only the space for a Free Associated State relationship.

    With regards to what Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero was talking about, we can argue about what laws apply and what laws don't apply today. But under our proposal, it would be clear that the only Federal laws that would apply would be those included in the terms of the bilateral compact.

    So what we are basically doing here is trying to put some things back into the discussion of the autonomy formula by saying, here is a relationship that it is open to negotiation, and you have political will, and you get some things, and others don't.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. Luis, with all due respect—and I am one seeking a status that has many similarities to what you already have, and I fully recognize that—but I really am torn on the horns of a dilemma in trying to understand all the vague terms that are being used. I sometimes wonder whether we would be better off, Mr. Chairman, holding a contest like they used to hold for various products: Send us your description of political status in 25 words or less. And then, once we do that, then you make a choice on that.

    Because a statement of political aspirations is not a statement of a status. It is a statement of a political program, and that will be part of the discussion and the campaign. I clearly understand that. I just can't understand why that has to be part of the definition.
 Page 171       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. RAMOS. I would have a one-sentence comment. Everything in our proposal, everything, is validated by previous precedents in U.S. law and international obligations. Then it is an issue of political will.

    Mr. UNDERWOOD. It should not be a matter phrased as a issue of political will or political aspirations. It should be phrased as a description.

    Mr. YOUNG. The gentleman's time has expired.

    We could argue this point. I would like to—before I dismiss the panel, I would like to suggest two things.

    Mr. FERNOS-LOPEZ. I would like to, before you begin, to mention something.

    Mr. YOUNG. I recognize maturity and gray beards, so go ahead. But don't take too long. We have to catch a helicopter.

    Mr. FERNOS-LOPEZ. I am concerned that I have not heard any testimony here which has stressed the point that the U.S. Congress under the U.S. Constitution has the plenary power to grant Puerto Rico anything they want to.

    Mr. YOUNG. And you hit a very valid point. I was just going to come to that.
 Page 172       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. FERNOS-LOPEZ. The point is the Constitution itself, and particularly the territorial clause, when it says that you could dispose in the way you wish, is so ample that you were not to be parsimonious, you would be giving Puerto Rico anything under Commonwealth that could be attained through statehood or independence.

    Mr. YOUNG. We will not disagree with that. The problem we have is the political reality and what can sell and what cannot sell in the Congress.

    I have made a commitment, I will say this right up front, that I do not believe that we can have a territory today in this arena and still be the United States of America. What we are trying to do is reach some kind of solution to the problem.

    I am not going to tolerate the status quo; and I am not, very frankly, going to use a—no, don't applaud. I am not going to let someone use a method to go back to where we were before.

    One of the things that bothered me is some of the testimony, and I will tell you I do have a bad back. As you know, I got rid of one chair today. Gardner threw it off the wall. But I do not like to be impugned for my motives. This disturbs me a great deal.

    Because this—as Chairman Miller said, this is a very serious question that affects all Americans, and affects mostly the Puerto Rican people, but affects all Americans. This is a chance, I believe, for America to show its great leadership, as it has in the past; and we are going to continue to pursue a solution.
 Page 173       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Before I do close this and I will ask Carlos to say a few words, I am going to ask unanimous consent to submit the statements for the record of the Governor of Puerto Rico, the Mayor of San Juan, the Mayor of Biyamon and Hernandez-Arana.

    [The statements follow:]


    Mr. YOUNG. And, in closing, let me thank the University of Mayaguez for hosting this congressional hearing. I hope all of you appreciate this. The University did an extremely good job, especially the president of the University, the chancellor, the dean, President Maldonahdo, Chancellor Stuart Ramos and Dean Antonio Santos. I think this was one of the better hearings.

    I would like to thank the Puerto Rican Department of State—they did an excellent job—the Puerto Rican National Guard, the Puerto Rican State Police, Commissioner Pedro Tolaydo, for the tremendous support in both Mayaguez and San Juan.

    Let me also thank the Puerto Rican Senate for the hospitality last night and the cooperation of the three political witnesses and the participation of all the witnesses in Mayaguez and San Juan.

    And I say this with all sincerity, this has been a good 3 days. I want to compliment all the people here in this great city and the people who are in the audience that had differences of opinion, because our job is to listen and to learn and to make decisions. I am very pleased to say I believe we have been able to do that.
 Page 174       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    We will be reviewing all comments and all statements, all written presentations; and we will deliberate on this, as Mr. Miller said, for a great deal of time.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Young follows:]


    Mr. YOUNG. Mr. Carlos, Mr. Commissioner, you represent this great, I was going to say Nation, Commonwealth, State, but I would say he represents the Puerto Rican people very, very well. If you have a closing statement?

    Mr. ROMERO-BARCELÓ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    On behalf of the people of Puerto Rico, I want to thank you and Mr. Miller and Mr. Underwood for having taken the time out from your recess. I want everybody to realize now, Congress is on a recess until Tuesday; and they have taken their time out of the recess to come to Puerto Rico because of their interest.

    As the Chairman has stated, it is not only for the people of Puerto Rico. He recognizes, as does everyone else now, and every day more and more people in Congress are recognizing, this is important for the United States. This is important for all of the people of the United States, because the example and inspiration of democracy throughout the world cannot continue to have a territory or a colony or have 3.8 million U.S. citizens disenfranchised. This is impossible in this day and age.
 Page 175       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    As we end this century and go into the new millennium, I am sure the Nation wants to solve the problem as we do. So they are taking their time and are very serious about it. I am very confident we will get this bill through the House and be working toward getting it approved in the Senate.

    I want to thank every one of you also for being here with us today and the panel for their testimony and each one of you for the wonderful way you approved today. Thank you very much.

    Mr. YOUNG. This meeting is adjourned.

    [Whereupon, at 3:08 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]


    Hon. Pedro Rosselló, Governor of Puerto Rico
    Hon. Sila M. Calderon, Mayor of the city of San Juan
    Hon. Ramón Luis Rivera, Mayor of the city of Bayamon
    Hector O'Neill, President, Federation of Municipalities of Puerto Rico
    Enrique Vázquez-Quintana, M.D., Party for Free Associated Nation
    Arturo J. Guzman, Chairman, I.D.E.A. of Puerto Rico
    Dr. Luis Nieves Falcón, Coordinator, and Jan Susler, Attorney at Law
 Page 176       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Fermín L. Arraiza Navas and Fermín B. Arraiza Miranda
    Eduardo González
    Juan G. Muriel Figueras
    José Garriga Picó
    Efrain Hernandez-Arana