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Rossello Asks OAS To Help Define Puerto Rican Status

Hernandez Colon Proposes Constituent Assembly

Rossello: Status Plebiscite First

Rossello Asks OAS To Help Define Puerto Rican Status

May 31, 2000
Copyright © 2000 EFE NEWS SERVICE. All Rights Reserved.
Source: World Reporter (TM)

Washington, May 31 - The Organization of American States (OAS) agreed Wednesday to review a White House initiative to establish a new process to determine the political future of Puerto Rico .

After meeting with OAS Secretary-General Cesar Gaviria, Puerto Rican Gov. Pedro Rossello said he is hopeful the OAS will become involved in "a problem that serves as an example of the lack of representative democracy" in the hemisphere.

"This is not a controversial issue and all of the countries can recognize the United States' desire to define Puerto Rico 's political standing," said Rossello, the leader of the New Progressive Party (PNP), which favors statehood for the island the United States.

The White House will bring Puerto Rican political leaders and U.S. legislators together within two months to create a mechanism to define alternatives to Puerto Rico 's current status .

The legislators will also attempt to reach a consensus on the best method with which to allow the island, which is currently a U.S. commonwealth, to determine its status .

Rossello said he is hopeful that Congress will approve a resolution this year which defines the possible consequences of statehood , independence or the creation of an autonomous association with the United States.

The alternatives in the Caribbean island's political status and the method to consult Puerto Ricans on the issue should be agreed upon before Puerto Rico 's general elections in November, he said.

According to the Puerto Rican governor, he sought the meeting with Gaviria at the suggestion of the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Richard Holbrooke, with whom he met several weeks ago to stress the necessity for Puerto Rico to resolve "its colonial situation."

Rossello said he notified the U.S. ambassador to the OAS, Luis Lauredo, and the State Department of his intention to ask the OAS to intervene in the issue.

"The principal forum for this issue is the U.S. Congress, however international forums - such as the UN and the OAS - can serve as mediators," he added.

The lack of self-government in Puerto Rico "is an issue that is relevant in the international arena, particularly in the Americas," the governor said.

Rossello has gone before the UN in the past to seek intervention on the same dilemma.

"The United States still maintains that it should not have the responsibility of reporting to the UN regarding Puerto Rico , however, it also recognizes that Puerto Rico is a territory that is not fully integrated and does not have all the elements of self-governance," he said.

Rossello, who favors annexation, has not decided whether or not to participate in a hearing held by the UN's Committee on Decolonization later this year.

He will travel on Thursday to Boston to participate in Hispanic Day celebrations in Fenway Park baseball stadium. On Friday, he will meet with the mayor of the city, before returning to San Juan on Saturday.

Hernandez Colon Proposes Constituent Assembly

June 4, 2000
Copyright © 2000 Associated Press Newswires. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Former Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon on Friday recommended a Constituent Assembly to find a solution to the political status dilemma of Puerto Rico, saying this would end "useless plebiscites."

This is the first time that Hernandez Colon openly supports holding the assembly, since up to now he has fought for a plebiscite with U.S. Congress approval.

The PDP's former president's proposal emerged during a message offered Friday night to Rafael Hernandez Colon Library Foundation collaborators, where he said the U.S. government should enable the celebration of that assembly.

Hernandez Colon said a plebiscite authorized by Congress will not resolve the status problem because "there is no way a respectable majority will result from the three classic formulas:" statehood, commonwealth, or independence.

Rossello: Status Plebiscite First, Constitutional Assembly Later

June 6, 2000
Copyright © 2000 Associated Press Newswires. All Rights Reserved.

BAYAMON (AP) — Gov. Pedro Rossello on Monday said a Constitutional Assembly should happen only after the people have voted in a plebiscite for their favorite status option.

"Once the people tell politicians which way we should follow, then the Constitutional Assembly is a valid tool because then it would allow those officials, with those instructions, to get into the details of how to achieve for that political status to be established in Puerto Rico," Rossello said during a press conference.

He said he would veto a measure filed by Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Sen. Manuel Rodriguez Orellana, which seeks to hold a referendum this year so people can decide whether they want a Constitutional Assembly.

Last week, former Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon advocated for a Constitutional Assembly to solve the status issue in Puerto Rico.

Rossello said such an exercise would be "futile," and said people want a definition of the "viable alternatives agreed to by the U.S. government and that those alternatives don’t include ‘none of the above.’"

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