- 2 -
In the House of Representatives a body of 39 members, the resolution
was adopted by a vote of 38 in favor and one abstention.
The adoption of this legislation at this particular time
'Would, in my judgement constitute a most opportune move in the fie1
of democratic advancement in the hemisphere.
I have just attended the Inter-American Conference for
Democracy and Liberty 'Which met in Havana, Friday, Saturday and Swday
of last week. This conference included as its delegates some of the
most outstanding exponents and defenders 0 democracy in our western
,hemi phere, both in orth and South America. Among these were four
distinguished members of this Congress, Congressmen Chet Holifield and
Clinton D. McKiniim, of California, and Congressmen Clifford P. Case
and Charles R. Howell, of New Jersey.
The conference, in: its final session on Sunday evening,
adopted a dec1aretion w1ch is al eady knolill as the Havana Charter for
Democracy advocating the termin tion of colonialism in our hemis here
in accordance with the principles of self determination. I want to make
it clear at this point however, that the three members of the Puerto
Rican Delegation who attended the conference, the Speaker of the House
of Representatives, Mr. Ernesto Ramos Antonini, the President of the
Free Federation of Labor of Puerto Rico (A.F. of L.), Mr. Hi 61ito
Marcano, and myself, were invited and attended, not as representatives
of a colony or a colonial government, but as repre!lentatives of the
democratic ideals of the people of Puerto Rico and of the democre..tic
reelity of the free institutions of Puerto Rico. I hasten to add
- 3 -
that we would not have attended as representatives "'" delegates of ~
colony because we do not consider Puerto Rico as a colony: We consider
ourselves" even before the adoption of this bUl, a community of citizens
of the United States who enjoy the benefits of all our democratic
institutions, as part of the Union, as much a art of the Union as
California or New York or Massachusetts and as evocebly bound in
the Union as any of them mi ht be. The American flag has now been
in Puerto Rico for 52 years. Full American citizenship was accorde
to us 33 years ago. eans that out of our two
d citi2ens,over 1,900,000 have been born
outside of Puerto Rico, 'Who in 1st in referring written documents as
under the AmeriCan flag and that over 1,500,000 luLve been born citizens
of the United States? There Is however, for. those in Puerto Rico and
the ultimate source for the definition of juridical institutions, and
our :w of laws, 0 Charter, our Constit tion, has not been drafted
or ever passed upon by the people of Puerto Rico. In this and only
in this sense, there is a remaining trace of colonialism in the relations
between the United StE..tes and Puerto Rico. The adoption of this bill
now before you and the subsequent adoption and re.tification by the
eople of Puerto Rico, of their own constitution. would wipe out any
such appearances of colonial situation in Puerto Rico.
We know this is not statehood, that is embodies no commitment
for statehood; we know it is not independence and that it embodi s no
coI:1Ill.ittment for independence. We feel that it does not, in any way.
egress and the people of Puerto Rico,
j the classical way or an independent Republic.
should become a stat
prevent that in the.
through representatiY s of their own choosing decide that Puerto Rico
Ve have no technical or juridical name perhaps, for this
a nama. What we naed
new set-up_ We do not need/- and wat we have in this bill - is a
political organization of full democratic dignity in loIhich citizens
of the United States, citizens of our hemisphere, can live in freedom
and peacefully proceed in th
I submit, the adoption of t i
of th citizens of Puert Rico, for t
of overwhelming force and
democra.cy in the eyes of
south of the
in a democracy, certairi.ly in a democracy like ours, all that should
have been said here t.lJ.is t those concerned want it.
...u e plica el ecto contr ctual el ?royecto •
l~ bl-yA e te art.! cu~o
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.
Sujeto a las leyes de derechos de autor de los Estados Unidos de América y del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico. En caso de publicación o divulgación de cualquier tipo de imagen reproducida, el usuario se compromete a dar crédito a la Sala Dr. Antonio Fernós Isern de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico, como custodio de este documento.