Finalmente, luego de una desesperante espera de unos 60 años, Estados Unidos ha adoptado una posición oficial sobre cómo piensa resolver el status de la Isla y se ha comprometido a resolverlo lo más pronto posible…
Pero hicieron un “informe”. Con “propuestas”.
No quiero pararme ahí, porque ese no es el tema de este post. El asunto es que, al menos, ofrecieron unas “definiciones” sobre las “opciones” de status que tenemos los puertorriqueños, o más bien, las que el Congreso “avalaría”. Bueno, no que “avalaría”, si no que “podría estar dispuesto a avalar, a lo mejor, si así el divino creador lo permite”. Las opciones mencionadas fueron: Independencia, Libre Asociación, “Commonwealth” y Estadidad. En Qiibo, nos encantaría saber por cuál votarías si se hiciera un referéndum hoy mismo. Si tienes alguna duda sobre lo que significa alguna de las “opciones”, te incluimos las definiciones que el “Task Force” redactó, para que así “puedas” “tomar” una “decisión” “educada”.
Statehood would result in several significant consequences for Puerto Rico and the United States, only a few of which are laid out here If Puerto Rico became a State, citizens of Puerto Rico would be entitled to full representation in Congress, would be permitted to participate in Presidential elections, and would be eligible to receive Federal economic assistance identical to that granted to citizens of other States. This economic benefit would be offset, to some degree, by the impact of the Tax Uniformity Clause of the US Constitution, which would prevent Congress from treating Puerto Rico differently for purposes of Federal income taxes. Currently, Puerto Rican residents do not pay Federal taxes on income generated in Puerto Rico.
Congress has the ultimate authority over admission of States, and it could impose requirements on Puerto Rico prior to admission. Among other things, Congress could establish a transition period during which, for example, Federal funding could increase incrementally until parity with other States was reached and the Federal income tax could be phased in for Puerto Rican residents. Finally, including Puerto Rico as a State would affect the composition of Congress, as the new State would be entitled to two Senators as well as representation in the House of Representatives. To accommodate Puerto Rico’s representation in the House, Congress could increase the size of the House, reapportion the 435 representatives to include Puerto Rico, or temporarily increase the size of the House until reapportionment at the next census.
For purposes of this Report, the Task Force has assumed that Independence refers to full Independence from the United States with the prospect of government-to-government negotiation of a treaty between the United States and a new independent nation of Puerto Rico with all issues on the table. Congress would need to pass specific legislation to allow the creation of a fully independent nation of Puerto Rico.
As discussed below, a key issue with respect to Independence as a status option is the impact on Puerto Ricans’ US citizenship at the time of Independence. Citizenship is not, however, the only question raised by Independence. A host of issues, such as restrictions (or lack thereof) on travel to the mainland, immigration regulation, security arrangements, and economic aid would need to be specified in enabling legislation or negotiated by a subsequent treaty It is likely that a significant transition period from the Island’s current status to its future as an independent nation would be needed.
Free Association is a type of independence. A compact of Free Association would establish a mutual agreement that would recognize that the United States and Puerto Rico are closely linked in specific ways as detailed in the compact. Compacts of this sort are based on the national sovereignty of each country, and either nation can unilaterally terminate the association.
Free Association would provide for an independent Puerto Rico with a close relationship to the United States, similar in status to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau The United States provides defense and various forms of economic aid to these countries and exercises control over their defense and security policy. Their citizens may work and attend schools in the United States, but they are not US citizens. As noted below, the Task Force recommends that at the time of any transition to a freely associated state, all Puerto Rican U S citizens retain their US citizenship.
As with other options, Free Association could be accompanied by a transition period in which the United States would continue to administer certain services and provide economic assistance for a period of time. This option would require the Administration to consider border security and other security implications.
The Commonwealth option was the subject of much debate before the Task Force The Commonwealth is commonly referred to as the “status quo” option. At the same time, however, advocates have argued for the possibility of an “enhanced” Commonwealth that would give greater political autonomy to the Island, including, in some instances, a form of autonomy bordering on Independence.
Prior Task Force reports have focused their constitutional analyses on the Commonwealth option, in particular on whether some version of “enhanced” Commonwealth was consistent with the US Constitution. The results of those reports have been embraced by some and decried by others. The Task Force and the Administration committed to taking a fresh look at status, including the question of enhanced Commonwealth.
The Task Force’s review has led it to a number of conclusions, which both reaffirm and depart from past Task Force reports First, there has been confusion about what the Commonwealth option is, and is not. The use of terms like “status quo” and “enhanced Commonwealth” do not provide a complete picture for the people of Puerto Rico Some have commented that the notion of “status quo” suggests that the laws affecting Puerto Rico cannot or will not be changed But that is not the case; indeed, Congress enacts laws every year that have profound effects throughout the country, including on the Island.
Under the Commonwealth option, Puerto Rico would remain, as it is today, subject to the Territory Clause of the US Constitution. The present Commonwealth government system in Puerto Rico has its genesis in a set of legislative enactments (whether characterized as legislation or a compact). Currently, Puerto Rico has significant local political autonomy The Task Force believes that such autonomy should never be reduced or threatened.
Second, while some have argued that Commonwealth is not an appropriate option because it is said to be “territorial” or “temporary” in nature, the Task Force believes that it must be an available option for the people of Puerto Rico Although prior plebiscites have been unclear in many respects, there can be no doubt that a substantial percentage of the population has indicated support for some version of Commonwealth. The Task Force recognizes that some have criticized those prior plebiscites because of the lack of clarity about the definition of the Commonwealth option. The Task Force believes the remedy for this concern is to make the options as clear as possible before the next vote by the people of Puerto Rico But removing the Commonwealth option would raise real questions about the vote’s legitimacy.
Third, consistent with the legal conclusions reached by prior Task Force reports, one aspect of some proposals for enhanced Commonwealth remains constitutionally problematic—proposals that would establish a relationship between Puerto Rico and the Federal Government that could not be altered except by mutual consent This was a focus of past Task Force reports. The Obama Administration has taken a fresh look at the issue of such mutual consent provisions, and it has concluded that such provisions would not be enforceable because a future Congress could choose to alter that relationship unilaterally (Congress similarly could elect to enact legislation violating a treaty with a foreign country or to legislate over the opposition of one or more States).
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