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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Rep. Aponte Hernández: Manchin proposal for stateside referendum on PR status is ‘discriminatory’

Rep. José Aponte Hernández


Veteran New Progressive Party Rep. José Aponte Hernández has dismissed as discriminatory U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) proposal to hold a national plebiscite before granting statehood to Puerto Rico.

“That’s not the path that other states, like Alaska and Hawaii, took to achieve statehood,” Aponte Hernández said Monday in a press release. “Those who have to be consulted are the 3.2 million U.S. citizens who reside in Puerto Rico. Proposing a nationwide referendum on the future of a jurisdiction is an undemocratic exercise that not only goes against the values of our nation, but also discriminates against its citizens, in this case those of us who live on the island.”

“All states have broad representation in Congress, so those who vote for an admissions consultation do so for their respective states,” the pro-statehood leader and former speaker of the island House of Representatives added. “Putting such a broad, bureaucratic and totally unnecessary requirement on the table was an act of discrimination against the United States citizens of Puerto Rico, in addition to going against the Constitution of the United States. It also goes against the position of the Democratic Party on this issue embodied in H.R. 8393.”

Manchin said any statehood legislation being considered by the U.S. Senate, currently controlled by Democrats, would have to come under a national referendum on the issue.

“For Puerto Rico, Senator Manchin wants a national consultation, to be voted on in all 50 states, but that did not happen in the other 37 territories that sought and achieved statehood, most recently with Alaska and Hawaii,” Aponte Hernández said. “It is an anti-democratic discourse focused on the extremism of some sectors. Statehood for Puerto Rico is a fact already; it’s only a matter of time. We will continue to dialogue with federal senators, including Manchin, to present the truth: 125 years of colonial rule must end; our people, for the most part, want statehood and the Constitution of our nation, the United States, empowers Congress to provide admission, does not require a national consultation, because Congress already represents the states.”

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