Yesterday, Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares announced that he would support a "statehood yes-or-no" referendum on the island.
The Governor made the announcement, through a press release issued in the afternoon, but did not mention whether he would introduce a bill for these purposes, an essential requirement to call a referendum.
He indicated that he is willing “to support a federally-sponsored, binding political status referendum,” that would allow for Puerto Rico to become the 51st state.
In recent days, Republican congressman Rob Bishop, outgoing chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, drafted a letter proposing acting US Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to support a federally sponsored "statehood yes-or-no" referendum in Puerto Rico.
There are doubts about whether the letter was sent or not. El Nuevo Día had access to a draft of the document.
Bishop (Utah) did not hold a single public hearing to address the Puerto Rico pro-statehood bill, introduced by Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González. However, on Wednesday, Bishop´s spokesperson told El Nuevo Día, that the letter was discussed with González.
Bishop and Rosselló had public differences when the House Committee on Natural Resources, chaired by Bishop, called a hearing to discuss the financial crisis in the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA)
“In the last seven years, our people have twice rejected our colonial relationship with the United States and favored equal rights for the American citizens of Puerto Rico, voting overwhelmingly in support of statehood for Puerto Rico,” said Governor Rosselló yesterday.
President Donald Trump has ruled out both the 2017 and 2012 plebiscites since he considers that there is no consensus on the issue. He has also given an "absolute no" to statehood.
A 2014 federal law allows an allocation of $2.5 million in funds for the island to call a federally sponsored referendum.
On June 11 2017, Statehood won the majority vote with 97 percent and with a 23 percent voter turnout.
“Reaffirming our call for Puerto Rico statehood, I am grateful for the support received from Congressman Bishop and I am willing to support a federally-sponsored, binding political status referendum that would allow for Puerto Rico to become the 51st state of the Union.
Puerto Rico’s current colonial political status is not sustainable. Our generation has been called upon to deliver justice to our people once and for all,” concluded Governor Rosselló.
Former president of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, José Aponte Hernández, has expressed himself in favor of the proposed referendum.
Legislative presidents have not made public expressions on the issue.