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"The Commonwealth Was Only But A Step Forward In Puerto Rico's Permanency In The Union"

January 31, 2000
Copyright © 2000 THE PUERTO RICO HERALD. All Rights Reserved.

To The Puerto Rico Herald:

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the collaborators of the Herald. Thank you all who are writing on the Puerto Rican situation. I myself have a deep concern over our present situation, as well as what is to be our future.

I do not know if its too late for statehood, but it is certainly too late for independence. We Puerto Ricans must ask ourselves in regards to a man that all of us agree to admire, our first elected governor Luis Munoz Marin.

Way back when, he was an independence supporter, way back when we had nothing to lose by opting for independence, he had the chance to fight for it. Why then, we must ask, he chose to do otherwise? Why he chose to fight for the union between our island and the states? The answer to me is simple, we had much to gain, not only economically, but as a people. Not too many people admit it, but we Puerto Ricans are as much different from Americans as we are similar. We share similar interests, and goals. And we want to help in all we can, we want to work hand in hand with the rest of the nation.

Our nation is changing as we know it. In a few years, Latinos will become the first minority group surpassing Black Americans who have been here long before Latinos officially migrated here. Spanish will be a common language along with English. Why shouldn't Puerto Ricans fit in this world to come? Why shouldn't we fit in our world now? We can.

I believe Luis Munoz Marin foresaw this, because he understood the meaning of what America stands for, what America was, and what it was to become. He saw that Puerto Rico was there to enrich America, to help, and to work side by side. The Commonwealth was only but a step forward in Puerto Rico's permanency in the Union, as a means for the island's economics and education to catch up with the rest of the state's. The Commonwealth has done its job, and has done it very well. But it can no longer do its task because it has already done what it was meant to do. Now it's time to take that step further.

I understand all the fears on both sides of the shore. The loss of culture, and language, etc. But look around what's happening, what I mentioned. America is changing. It is to benefit all Americans, Hispanics, blacks, whites, Indians, Asians, you name it. This is also our place, our land. A land who had conquered us, and now a land that we have conquered. Taking a step towards separation now is an economic, cultural, and social suicide. And I think more and more people are realizing this.

The independence supporters are taking the Vieques situation to their advantage, giving mainland Americans the feeling that Puerto Ricans don't want them there. This is not true. I for one wish the Navy either to retire and do their thing else where, or to remain and give most of the lands back to Vieques. Either way, see I as most Puerto Ricans, respect our armed forces, and view them as something crucial and necessary for our security.

But it still cannot justify the loss of lives of any kind because of this necessity in a time of relative peace. That is our main argument. The armed forces are not only there to make war, but they should also be there to protect lives. A task they failed to do in Vieques, and other places. American lives, including Puerto Ricans, and any and every life is worth too much to keep jeopardizing them unnecessarily.

With this I leave you, and once again thank you very much for your efforts for Puerto Rican self-determination, and for your time.


Julio Figueroa


Julio Figueroa is a 21 year old Puerto Rican currently studying in a 4 year liberal arts college in Sioux City, Iowa. Although born in Caguas, he considers himself from Cayey, PR. He writes that "I have been worried about our political situation since the age of 12, and have been studying the issue on my own ever since."

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