Luis A. Ferre
State Chairman for Puerto Rico
Republican Party
P.O. Box 366108
San Juan, PR 00936-6108
(809) 793-4040
(809) 792-4740 fax



July 28, 1998

Hon. Trent Lott
Majority Leader, U.S. Senate
S.R. - 487
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Lott:

As you are no doubt aware, last Saturday, July 25th, the centennial of Puerto Rico's administration under the American flag, President Clinton responded to Governor Rossello's call for a 1998 plebiscite, by asserting that he will ask Congress to implement the results if a majority of Puerto Ricans vote for a status change. Through a spokesman, the president further stated that the federal government has a responsibility to provide the people of Puerto Rico with a choice if no bill is approved in Congress.

Clearly, President Clinton's endorsement of the Rossello initiative is intended to portray to the American electorate an intransigent Republican controlled senate and a non-inclusive National Republican Party hostile to Puerto Rico self-determination, specifically, and Hispanic American equality, generally. Unanswered, our party's continuing success in implementing the Contract With America here in Puerto Rico may be compromised while the national party's efforts to win back support among the 6.6 million stateside Hispanic American voters this fall will be jeopardized.

Tragically, a long standing Republican Party commitment to Puerto Rico self-determination, subsequently launched by a Republican controlled Congress is now fast becoming a Democratic Party campaign issue potentially threatening the Republican's House majority. Similarly in the balance is our party's political competitiveness and its ability to extend a conservative agenda here.

Ironically, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's postponement of the S. 472 mark-up, and the reliance on the chamber's calendar to forestall full Senate action on the bill before adjournment, appears to be bowing to the interests of commonwealth opponents of the legislation, all of whom are staunch allies and major financial backers of the Democratic Party.

Senator Lott, Puerto Rico's Republican Party finds itself in a quandary as a result of the stalemate in the Senate over S. 472. Championing the national party's policies here, Puerto Rico has become the leading American jurisdiction in their enactment, but we face an electoral backlash if voters believe that Puerto Rico has been abandoned on the critical issue of self-determination.

There is still time for the senate to act. In so doing, the Republican Party would recapture the Puerto Rico self-determination issue and restore its credibility and appeal among Hispanic Americans on the mainland while enhancing our party's standing in Puerto Rico.

We urgently request the National Republican Party, which has always given us generous support under the leadership of the Senate and House, to provide us with assistance, direction and support on this important issue to all Americans.

Sincerely yours,

(s) Zoraida F. Fonalledas
Zoraida F. Fonalledas
National Committeewoman
  (s) Luis A. Ferre
Luis A. Ferre
Chairman, State Committee
  (s) Edison Misla-Aldarondo
Edison Misla-Aldarondo
Speaker of the P.R. House
National Committeeman

cc The Hon. Don Nickles
The Honorable Larry Craig
The Honorable Frank Murkowski
The Honorable Newt Gingrich
The Honorable Tom DeLay
The Honorable Don Young
Mr. J. Nicholson,
Ms. P. Harrison

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