By Roberto Arango, Senate majority leader, Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly - 11/10/09 10:32 PM EST
Under this straightforward bill, H.R. 2499, the territorial government could conduct periodic referenda asking voters if they wish to maintain or change the islands’ political status. If at some point a majority of voters want a change, a referendum could be held to ask their preference among the three constitutionally viable options: independence, national sovereignty in association with the United States, and statehood.
H.R. 2499 does not favor any status option, and is only a first step in resolving the question of Puerto Rico’s ultimate status. The bill is nonbinding, meaning that any result in favor of a specific change in status would require future debate and action in the U.S. Congress.
A main premise of the bill is that Congress will be better able to decide what action, if any, is appropriate on the issue once it knows if Puerto Ricans want the current status or one of the possible alternatives. It is at the very heart of our democratic process in this country to ask the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico these basic and fundamental questions about their governance.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Obama’s inconsistency on Ft. Hood, Cambridge
From Serafin Quintanar
President Barack Obama quickly leapt to the defense of Islam by saying that people should not jump to conclusions about the Fort Hood terrorist. However, Obama himself was very quick to conclude that the police acted “stupidly” in the Cambridge, Mass., episode.
A challenge for Veterans Day
From Air Force Chief Master Sgt. William Clare
As a proud Afghanistan veteran who is preparing for Veterans Day, I find it tragic that so many of my fellow Americans view Nov. 11 as just another day off work. I have lost brothers and sisters in Afghanistan and Iraq; I made a promise to their families that they would never, ever be forgotten.
This Nov. 11, I challenge all Americans to take a moment to contact your federal and/or local government officials and remind them that we should be doing everything we can to take care of our veterans and their families. It could be as simple as waiving licensing fees at the DMV, refunding state income tax of military wages, or increasing funds for the care and support of veterans and their families.
As we near the holidays, please keep our deployed troops and their families in your prayers. Send a care package or donate to a program that supports our troops and veterans, such as VFW Operation Uplink, www.operationuplink.org.
I hope everyone in our area will remember what Veterans Day is meant to remember and recognize our veterans who sacrificed their freedom so that you may keep yours!