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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Rep. Aponte Hernández calls on Biden to prioritize statehood

By The Star Staff

Rep. José Aponte Hernández on Tuesday called on President Joe Biden to prioritize statehood for Puerto Rico in his agenda before Congress this year.

“Today our nation commemorates 247 years since independence from England. It was based on the principles of freedom, democracy, justice, and equality for all,” Aponte Hernández said, adding that he would be sending his request in a letter to Biden. “Today is a momentous day in our journey as a people. I call on the President of the United States, just as the Founding Fathers of our Nation fought for respect for themselves and their descendants, to do the right thing today by placing justice and full equality for Puerto Rico, through admission as a State, at the top of his legislative agenda for this Congress and to promote it with all the power of the White House.”

“U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico, nearly 3.2 million, deserve the same equal rights as those living in the states of the union,” the statehood leader said. “Our men and women have participated, with great distinction, in every war in the nation since the First World War. However, your benefits are reduced by living in the territory of Puerto Rico. We have to correct this contradiction and it can only be achieved with admission. Today the commemoration of independence should be marked with a claim for human rights, constitutional and civil rights for those of us who live on the island.”

“In democracy, the majority of voters rule, the people are sovereign,” the at-large lawmaker continued. “In 2012, a majority of voters favored statehood. The same thing happened in 2017 and 2020. These electoral exercises are the footing of our demand for equality. It’s been 125 years since the United States [established its] rule over Puerto Rico; it’s been quite some time now. We are the oldest colony in the world. The President has the power of the White House and the Senate in his favor; it is time for them to give us equal rights, statehood.”

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