Posted by: Raul Vidal | May 2, 2010

Aprobación del HR 2499

Estimado miembro de PRSSA,

Con orgullo anunciamos la aprobación del HR 2499, el Puerto Rico Democracy Act, por un margen de 223 votos a favor y 168 en contra. Hoy pueden mirar a la cara a todo enemigo de la igualdad, pseudo-nacionalista popular y estadista de brazos cruzados que se equivocaron cuando dudaron de que aprobaríamos el proyecto.

PRSSA asume responsabilidad por decenas de congresistas en este margen de victoria, 30 de los cuales fueron co-auspiciadores de la medida. En el Senado estamos muy adelantados, habiendo asegurado el apoyo de al menos dos senadores de alcance bipartito a través de quienes podremos asegurar los votos que requiere la medida.

La lucha no será fácil ni mucho menos breve. El Senado es notorio por su excesiva reglamentación y estorbos protocolares. La enmienda de la Cong. Foxx (R-NC) nos ayuda a desmentir aun más contundentemente el argumento de exclusión ideológica, y el proyecto se presta para ser considerablemente menos controversial que la legislación que se debate actualmente: la reforma de regulación financiera.

Algunos miembros en Washington ya han estado ayudando a la organización en sus esfuerzos, y nos entusiasma compartir esta agenda con toda la membresía.

Gracias a todos los que pudieron estar para vivir este momento histórico con nosotros.

Cordialmente,

Raul R. Vidal
President
Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association

Posted by: William-José Vélez González | April 29, 2010

Puerto Rico’s Statehood Is a Matter of American Values

William-Jose Velez, Guest Writer
Writing from: Florida International University

Today, Congress is scheduled to vote on a piece of legislation that has been making headlines across the country – HR 2499. Also known as the Puerto Rico Democracy Act, this would give Puerto Ricans the opportunity to determine their future. There are two steps in this process: one, a plebiscite asking if Puerto Ricans would like to change their territory status, and two, whether that change in status means becoming a state or establishing their own nation. While this seems as a perfectly reasonable project to undertake, especially when considering that it targets a century-old issue, Democrats in Congress have refused to take up the matter until just recently.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has delayed the vote for over nine months. Why does Pelosi insist on delaying democracy to the four million American citizens residing in Puerto Rico?

HR 2499 currently has 181 cosponsors, including 57 Republican Representatives that have stood for the core American values: democracy and justice. These leaders have recognized that it is time for Congress to step up their act and allow for Puerto Ricans to express their views about their future. For over 100 years, Puerto Rico has been a United States territory with no voting representation. In addition, Puerto Ricans residing on the island cannot vote for the President – despite serving in the military equally amongst their fellow American citizens and ranking in the top 5 jurisdictions for per capita military service.  It is against our fundamental values to have disenfranchised soldiers who cannot vote for their commander in chief.

This is the chance to stand up for our ideals, and tell Congress to act. The status quo is unacceptable and undemocratic, both to Puerto Ricans and mainland Americans. Like in the past, today we face a challenge, and must make a decision: are we going to be consumed by trivial concerns that ignore our principles, or to stand up, defend and act on the principles that make us Americans? Abraham Lincoln did not hesitate to act based on principle when he faced the challenge of a divided nation, and neither did Ronald Reagan when the time came to call for democracy around the world. Today is our chance to follow suit, reaffirming our compromise to democracy.

Our country is one of values, where every man has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Let us stand for those rights and reaffirm once more that we are the United States of America, and that when it comes to HR 2499, and the issue of Puerto Rico’s status, it is a matter of American ideals.

The author is a junior at Florida International University and the Vice President of the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association.

This article, Puerto Rico’s Statehood Is a Matter of American Values, was originally published in The Politicizer.

Posted by: William-José Vélez González | April 29, 2010

Watch HR 2499 House Session Live

Today the United States House of Representatives will consider HR 2499 – The Puerto Rico Democracy Act. Today is also our last chance to make a final push for democracy. Call Congress before 10:00am and urge them to pass HR 2499.

You can watch this momentous occassion on our Facebook Application HR 2499, beginning at 10:00am EDT.

Don’t have a Facebook account? You can also watch here.

Posted by: William-José Vélez González | April 28, 2010

Serrano, others push P.R. status bill as vote nears

By : JOHN MARINO
marino@caribbeanbusinesspr.com

Top Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress urged colleagues to support H.R. 2499 the Puerto Rico Democracy Act, which is slated to come to the House floor for a vote on Thursday.

The letter sent Tuesday to fellow members of Congress was part of a burst of lobbying activity aimed at ensuring support of the measure in the days before the vote, which also included Gov. Luis Fortuño traveling to Washington to be present for the historic vote. “We belong to both parties and our views span the political spectrum,” stated the letter “But we are united behind H.R. 2499, sponsored by our colleague, Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s sole representative in Congress.

The letter was signed by island-born U.S. Rep. José Serrano, D-N.Y., and fellow Democratic Reps: George Miller, D-Calif; Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.; John Conyers, D-Mich; Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I.; Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.; Sam Farr, D-Calif; Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-Fla.; and Alan Grayson, D-Fla. Republicans signing the letter, included U.S. Reps. Don Young, R-Alaska; Lincoln Díaz-Balart, R-Fla.; Ileana Ros-Lethinen, R-Fla.; Aaron Schoc, R-Ill.; and Mario Díaz-Balart, R-Fla.

“The U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico have never expressed their views, in the context of a vote sanctioned by Congress, on the island’s political status,” the letter continued. “This contradicts our nation’s commitment to democracy and self-determination.”

The League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest and largest Hispanic civil rights group, also reiterated its support of the measure in a letter this week to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The four-page bill, which has amassed at least 182 co-sponsors, authorizes the island government to hold a referendum in which voters will choose whether they think Puerto Rico should continue its current status. If voters choose that Puerto Rico keep the same status, then the local government is authorized to hold a vote every eight years to determine if public opinion has changed.

If voters say they want a change in status, then a second vote would be held in which voters could choose between statehood, independence and a third option of sovereignty in association with the U.S. that isn’t subject to the territorial clause.

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee gave the green light to Pierluisi’s status bill in July, clearing the way for the measure to pass to the full House for a vote.

The letter from the members of Congress also confronted critics of the bill, largely from the island’s Popular Democratic Party, who have called “stacked in favor of statehood,” and defended its two-step process as “absolutely fair.”

“The objection of these opponents is that the ballot does not include their preferred status option, sometimes referred to as ‘enhanced commonwealth,’ under which Puerto Rico would receive more federal benefits than it does now while also having the power to decide which federal laws apply on the island,” the letter stated. “This proposal has been consistently opposed by federal authorities in the executive and legislative branches on both constitutional and policy grounds.

Two stateside Congress members of Puerto Rican descent—U.S. Reps. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., and Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill.—have been vocal critics of the bill, largely over the view that it is unfair to commonwealth supporters. Gutiérrez, through an aide, told the Politico website Tuesday that he is not “terribly happy” about the “nature of how the bill is moving through Congress” and expressed surprise it was reaching the floor this week.

Because of the opposition of the Puerto Rican lawmakers, Serrano’s support, which he withheld for months, is seen as key to the bill’s chances at passage.

Local statehood leaders, including Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz and New Progressive Party Rep. José Aponte, have been pressing for a local status plebiscite this year, while NPP President Fortuño and Pierluisi have urged time for Congress to act.

While the measure is expected to be approved by the House, t here is not guarantee that it will be acted upon by the Senate, and many political observers say there is little chance the upper chamber would act on the legislation this year given its full calendar, not to mention looming midterm elections.

This article, Serrano, others push P.R. status bill as vote nears, was originally published in Caribbean Business PR.

Posted by: William-José Vélez González | April 28, 2010

George Miller se une a otros congresistas en defensa del 2499

WASHINGTON – George Miller, uno de los congresistas más cercanos a la ‘speaker’ Nancy Pelosi, se sumó hoy a otros 14 colegas que le han pedido a los miembros de la Cámara baja federal un voto a favor del proyecto de status 2499.

“Pertenecemos a ambos partidos y nuestras visiones cubren todo un espectro político. Pero estamos unidos detrás del 2499”, indicaron los congresistas -9 demócratas y seis republicanos – en una carta a sus colegas, previo a la votación del jueves en la Cámara baja federal en torno a esa legislación.

La carta está suscrita por demócratas como Miller; Nick Rahall (West Virginia), Patrick Kennedy (Rhode Island); José Serrano (Nueva York), John Conyers (Michigan); y Debbie Wasserman (Florida).

Por los republicanos la suscriben aliados tradicionales del gobernador Luis Fortuño: Don Young (Alaska), Dan Burton (Indiana), Ileana Ros Lehtinen (Florida), Mario Díaz Balart (Florida), Lincoln Díaz Balart (Florida) y Aaron Schock (Illinois).

Los 15 legisladores ya se habían expresado a favor de la legislación.

El comisionado residente Pedro Pierluisi agradeció el respaldo de esos legisladores y sostuvo que la carta la encabeza el congresista Serrano. “Agradezco el apoyo incondicional de mi compatriota José Serrano en esta lucha para que el Congreso escuche la voz de nuestro pueblo”, agregó Pierluisi.

Este artículo, George Miller se une a otros congresistas en defensa del 2499, fue originalmente publicado en El Nuevo Día.

Posted by: Eduardo J. Soto | April 27, 2010

Universitarios pro estadidad ejercerán presión en Washington

Por José A. Delgado / jdelgado@elnuevodia.com

WASHINGTON – Una organización de universitarios pro estadidad espera tener decenas de activistas ejerciendo presión entre hoy y el jueves en el Capitolio a favor del proyecto 2499 sobre el status político de Puerto Rico.

“Nunca se había efectuado una movilización de esta escala en la capital, al menos en torno a este asunto”, indicó Eduardo Soto, director ejecutivo de la Asociación de Estudiantes Estadistas de Puerto Rico.

La Cámara de Representantes puede llevar a votación el jueves el proyecto 2499, que estaba pendiente de ser debatido en el hemiciclo cameral desde septiembre de 2009.

Soto indicó que además de visitar legisladores federales y llamar a sus oficinas por teléfono, asistirán a una sesión informativa que ha convocado el comisionado residente Pedro Pierluisi para el miércoles en el Capitolio, con la participación del gobernador Luis Fortuño y el consultor Jeffrey Farrow.

Este artículo, Universitarios pro estadidad ejercerán presión en Washington, fue originalmente publicado en El Nuevo Día.

Posted by: PRSSA | April 26, 2010

PRSSA goes to Congress

PRSSA goes to Congress

For well over a year we have filed through the Halls of Congress to exert our rights as American Citizens. Now, the time has come to march one more time into the House of Representatives and demand that the Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2009 be ratified!

On Tuesday, April 27, we will meet at 10:00 am outside the Capitol South Metro Station (Orange/Blue Line), and begin our advocacy.

Can’t come? Add our HR 2499 Facebook App at
http://apps.facebook.com/democracyact and take action!

Posted by: William-José Vélez González | April 26, 2010

Spread the facts

Dear Friends,

The time has come for us to stand up for our rights, for the opportunity to vote for the first time in a federally sanctioned plebiscite to decide our future. However, there are still those with doubts about HR 2499 – The Puerto Rico Democracy Act, partly because of falsehoods spread by those against democracy.

Now is our chance to stand up and spread the facts, and demand that Congress pass HR 2499. Below you will find facts you can share on Facebook, Twitter and through email. These facts are also available at the HR 2499 Facebook App.

Stand for democracy and spread the facts!

Sincerely,

William-Jose Velez
Vice President
Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association

H.R. 2499 is co-sponsored by over 180 Members, including 57 Republicans.
Puerto Rico historically ranks alongside the top five U.S. states in per capita military service.
Puerto Ricans are bound by federal law but don’t vote for president or have voting representation in Congress.
Puerto Ricans have never been able to vote in a Congressionally sanctioned referendum on the status issue.
HR 2499 authorizes a first plebiscite in which Puerto Ricans could choose between the current status or change.
If Puerto Ricans choose the current status, a referendum would be held every 8 years to keep Congress informed.
If Puerto Ricans choose change, they would choose between statehood, independence or sovereignty in association.
Unlike previous bills HR 2499 does not bind Congress to take action once it receives the plebiscite results.
Dear friends,
After a long year of efforts, advocacy, and tireless dedication, HR2499/The Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2009, will be brought to a vote this coming week.
We, as proud members of the PRSSA, have done well, and our friends in Congress have proven true, but this is not the time for lukewarmness, now more than ever, we need to stay focused and active. As we speak, the colonial minions and their English Only allies are mobilizing to stop this historic moment. A direct affront to our rights as US citizens in our search for full equality. However, we stopped them then and we’ll stop them now!
Visit our website: http://www.hr2499.com, each one of you should be able to call at least 5 Congressmen and tell them that as US citizens, we demand the right to determine our own political future and that HR2499 does just that. Call our leaders in Congress and encourage them to uphold our rights:
STENY HOYER
House Majority Leader
202-225-3130
NANCY PELOSI
Speaker of the House
202-225-0100
If you’re in the DC area, or wish to come to it, PRSSA is coordinating a Congressional effort on Tuesday, April 27, to march to every single Congressional office (535) to request their support for this historic bill. We will show them the faces of those who wish to be free from second class citizenship, and tell them in person to free us from the bonds of colonialism. More than just a task, this is our responsibility – to ourselves, and to the generations that follow.
Therefore, I call for each one of you to stand up and fight, and don’t stop until our rights have been granted.
This is our time.
Sincerely,
Raul R. Vidal
President
Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association
Posted by: Eduardo J. Soto | April 22, 2010

Estudiantes estadistas buscarán impedir el cierre de la UPR

SAN JUAN – La Asociación de Estudiantes Estadistas de Puerto Rico (PRSSA, por sus siglas en inglés) radicará el jueves un interdicto ante el Tribunal Federal para impedir el cierre de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto Río Piedras.

A esta acción legal se unen colegiales con el deseo de atender las preocupaciones del estudiantado sin necesidad de interrumpir el semestre académico.

“Con los ánimos tan caldeados y un ambiente tan violento, entendemos que la acción legal es la manera más responsable para los estudiantes afectados hacerse sentir.  Es la alternativa menos antagónica sin que los estudiantes sean censurados”, expresó Eduardo J. Soto, director ejecutivo de la organización.

Por su parte, el presidente Raúl Vidal añadió, “estoy confiado de que tener esta acción en récord ayudará a esclarecer el panorama y promover el diálogo en la Universidad.”

Dijeron que el resultado que se busca es que predomine la mayoría de estudiantes que no está en espíritu de confrontación, sino que quiere que los reclamos estudiantiles se atiendan sin perjudicar el calendario académico. “También buscamos restaurar la paz en el recinto mientras se pueda velar por el bienestar de todas las partes”, coincidieron.

PRSSA es una organización sin fines de lucro dedicada a promover la discusión sobre la libre determinación de Puerto Rico en mayores foros y representar a estudiantes estadistas en los Estados Unidos continentales y Puerto Rico.

Éste artículo, Estudiantes estadistas buscarán impedir el cierre de la UPR, fue originalmente publicado en El Vocero.

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