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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Rep. Aponte Hernández: Statehood needed as antidote to China’s presence in Caribbean



Rep. José Aponte Hernández

By The Star Staff


Pro-statehood lawmaker José Aponte Hernández said Monday that the fact that China is building facilities, including docks and an airport, in the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, creates a situation that moves Puerto Rico back to the center of U.S. geopolitics.


“The creation of dual infrastructure on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, because the docks and, in particular, the airport, are being developed for the purpose of being used for the landing and take-off of Communist Chinese bombers, is the greatest threat to our nation since the Soviet Union established a robust military presence in Cuba in 1961,” the veteran New Progressive Party lawmaker said in a written statement.


The at-large House legislator’s remarks followed numerous media reports last week about the investment being made by construction and development companies owned by the Chinese government in Antigua and Barbuda in the eastern Caribbean .


Officials from the U.S. Armed Forces Southern Command, based in Florida, have indicated that the “increase” of personnel and facilities of the Chinese government in the Caribbean is part of its effort for espionage actions and military use on islands that are just 220 miles from the U.S. Virgin Islands.


“Puerto Rico, as it did in the 1960s, plays a crucial role in stopping the advance of communism in the Caribbean,” Aponte Hernández said. “Leaders of our nation, both in Congress and in the Executive Branch, know about this and know that Puerto Rico is the democratic enclave that is needed to stop these advances of an ideology that enslaves its people, that does not allow freedom of expression and that oppresses its opponents.”


“I call on all New Progressives to incorporate this new geopolitical reality to take the message and raise awareness among congressmen, state legislators, governors and other elected officials, both federal and state, to talk about this in their messages about the need for statehood for Puerto Rico,” the former speaker of the island House of Representatives added. “We have to be active and move on this issue quickly, because it is a matter of national security that, whether we like it or not, places us at the center of this new political reality in the Caribbean, and we must capitalize positively to finish solving the problem of the territory.”

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