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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Veteran PDP lawmaker to González Colón: Admit it, your cause is lost

Rep. José “Conny” Varela Fernández

Gibe comes after GOP drops support for Puerto Rico statehood from its draft platform

By The Star Staff

Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Rep. José “Conny” Varela Fernández challenged New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate Jenniffer González Colón to admit Puerto Rico’s defeat in its pursuit of statehood after the Republican Party excluded language supporting statehood for the U.S. island territory from its governing platform.

For the first time in more than 50 years, the GOP did not include explicit language in its party platform supporting statehood for Puerto Rico. González Colón, however, said the latest GOP action does not worry her.

“For years, Jenniffer González and other Republicans in Puerto Rico had cited the GOP government program to try to convince us of supposed support for statehood in the United States,” said Varela, the deputy speaker of the island House of Representatives. “[This week,] The Republican Party adopted a government program where that supposed commitment is eliminated. The only thing we have heard from Jenniffer González is to try to minimize what her party has clearly told her.”

On the afternoon of July 8, the Republican Party platform replaced its support for statehood with a commitment to promote “greater participation in all aspects of the political process for Puerto Rico and the other territories of the United States: Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.”

Varela said removing that long-term endorsement for statehood now is a clear sign that neither the presumptive GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump nor the Republican Party are interested in Puerto Rico becoming a state.

“Even so, Jenniffer González insists on carrying out another plebiscite without the approval of Congress on election day, wasting public money to try to create an artificial majority in favor of statehood,” the Caguas lawmaker added.

“More importantly, it is time for them to explain why time and money should be invested and the November general election process complicated with a pro-statehood plebiscite, when it is clear that, like all previous local plebiscites, this one will not advance the statehood that they long for,” Varela said.

González Colón, who is a Republican, said the GOP platform is not final, so “there is still an opportunity to make changes for one thing or another” and to talk about the annexation of Puerto Rico as a state, “a position the NPP defends.”

️“I’m not worried,” the resident commissioner said. “The previous platform had 800 pages or […] so, and now they lowered it to 14 pages, 15, so you already notice, in advance, that there is an intention on the part of the party to reduce and not be so specific and leave things more macro.”

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