Jenniffer González, Resident Commissioner.  (GFR Media) (horizontal-x3)
Jenniffer González, Resident Commissioner. (GFR Media)

Washington – Yesterday, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) backed Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González statehood plan for Puerto Rico at the Texas convention.

The organization states in the resolution that bill 6246 is a "a major first step" towards realizing "the democratic will of the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico… that would result in the formal admission of Puerto Rico as a state of the United States on an equal footing and in true permanent union with the other states in all respects, effective no later than January 1, 2021.”

Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares was one of the speakers at the NAACP convention.

By using words that echo within the African-American community, Rosselló Nevares said – according to La Fortaleza –  that “Colonialism is political segregation and it has no place in our country”.

The governor asked the NAACP members at the San Antonio convention in Texas to call their representatives and ask them to support González's bill, which seeks to create a Congress Working Group to study the changes that must be done to laws in order to achieve the admission of Puerto Rico as state 51.

This is the second time that the group, considered the most important African-American civil rights organization, supports statehood for the island after the June 11, 2017 plebiscite, in which – with a voter turnout of just 23 percent– 97 percent of voters supported statehood.

The Equality Commission, created by the government of Puerto Rico to promote statehood, had already included the NAACP support among its achievements.

In that very report, the Commission recognized that consensus among US media is not to consider the 2012 and 2017 plebiscites as self-determination exercises for Puerto Rico. Specifically, they acknowledge that American journalists often warn that last year turnout was too low to give strength to their results.

Commissioner González has insisted that the intention of her bill is to incorporate Puerto Rico as a territory – which is considered a promise of statehood – as soon as it is approved.

Lawyers with different ideologies believe that, according to the language of the bill, it only orders the study of the Congress Working Group, and that the incorporation, such as the admission, would depend on approving, in another law, that nine- federal legislators committee recommendations.

Under the incorporated territory, Puerto Rican residents would have to start paying contributions on income, without having the political rights to vote for president and members to Congress yet. The legislation aims for transition to allow flexibility.

Rosselló Nevares said that, as in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa are governed without their residents consent.

According to La Fortaleza, the governor praised Dr. José Celso Barbosa, an Afro-Puerto Rican who is considered the "father" of the statehood movement.

On Twitter, the M-18 (Junte de Mujeres), created by six sovereignist and independent leaders, urged NAACP to reconsider its position and to see the colonial case of Puerto Rico as the lack of self-determination of a nation, not simply of US citizens residing on the island.

“The NAACP should be more careful with their choices. The Governor of Puerto Rico is not a good one,” they said on Twitter.


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