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While Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño still has not commented about the remarks made by Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez that compared Fortuño’s activities to that of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, another pro-statehood student association published an open letter to Gutiérrez.

February 16th, 2011

Hon. Luis Gutierrez

2266 Rayburn House Office Building

United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Gutierrez,

Today, you stood up to denounce the Government of Puerto Rico and its response to violent student protests. You also used the opportunity to address resting issues such as the Puerto Rico Bar Association and the elimination of its compulsory membership fees. You are widely regarded as a fearless champion for causes such as immigration reform, where I must admit that I stand with you. In fact, I stand with you on nearly every single controversial issue.

However, it troubles me that you insist on venturing into issues pertaining to Puerto Rico and the state of affairs there. As a member of Congress, you have consistently spoken against the people of Puerto Rico, rather than with them. You have opposed the government they elected, the political status option they prefer, and today you seemed appalled that its highest court would refuse to acknowledge a fictional right to strike.

As you spoke next to a large portrait of one of our most distinguished jurists, you spewed gross misinformation about the ongoing student protests in the University of Puerto Rico. For one, you said the right to free speech was being abridged. I would ask you to say whether the right to destroy public and private property has ever been gathered from the First Amendment. Maybe there is a United States Supreme Court ruling that protects the right to attack police officers. I am certainly not a constitutional expert, at least not yet, but I do not believe those rights are there. Neither is the student body’s right to strike in our Constitution or the U.S. Constitution. I do not believe there is a single state in the Union that acknowledges that right.

Since you are so concerned about the protection of the First Amendment, there is one U.S. Supreme Court decision that I think is very relevant to your argument. In Keller v. State Bar of California (1990), the Court voted unanimously to oppose the use of a state bar’s collected dues to finance its political and ideological activities. As far as I know, the State Bar of California is far from dismantled. Again, I fail to see how the Government of Puerto Rico acted in a way that was so anathema to the laws and rights guaranteed by our great nation.

I know you care about my Island as much as I do; that you only want what’s best for its people. Therefore, it would be negligent of me to miss this opportunity to make an all-too-familiar appeal. Stop obstructing Puerto Rico’s self-determination and allow us to vote on our political status. And if we choose statehood, please stand aside and allow us to enjoy the rights you so fiercely demanded in your speech today.

Sincerely,

Eduardo J. Soto

President

The Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association

As with a previous letter we published by an anti-UPR-strike organization, we have several questions for Mr. Soto and we hope he can reach out to us to answer them. Here are just a few questions we would like to ask him:

  • Representative Gutiérrez is Puerto Rican and like most Puerto Ricans we know, he has opinions about the island. Are you implying by this letter that Rep. Gutiérrez does not have the right to freely express his opinions about Puerto Rico just because you do not agree with him?
  • The current status of The Puerto Rican Democracy Act is with the Senate, and not the House of Representatives. Even though Rep. Guitérrez did not support the act, it still passed the House. Why are you saying that Rep. Guitiérrez is obstructing Puerto Ricans’ right to self-determination? Shouldn’t you be lobbying the US Senate instead?
  • You write as if the act has already passed the Senate. Are you also aware that this Act is a non-binding resolution and Puerto Rico is still at the mercy of the US Congress, no matter what option it chooses, assuming there will even be a vote?
  • As for your claims that the UPR students do not have a right to protest and strike, the Constitution is contradictory between Amendment 1 and 2. Have you read the Constitution of the United States?
  • Have you done research about Constitutional law or do you like to draft political rhetoric to make your point?

We are here to interview you any time you like.

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On Friday, as reported by the Associated Press, Rolando Crespo, the House Majority Whip of the Puerto Rican House of Representatives, had tested positive for cocaine use during a mandatory drug test of the island’s legislators. Today, after facing pressure from his political allies, Crespo announced his resignation.

Rolando Crespo

El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s top newspaper, reported an article in Spanish at 3:34 PM EST (4:34 PM local island item) that chronicles Crespo’s resignation. Crespo met with Jenniffer González, Puerto Rico’s Speaker of the House, and offered his resignation. He also told González that he would go into a drug rehabilitation program.

“[Speaker González] who has given me advice. Over the weekend, I went through a process of reflection,” said Crespo in Spanish today. “I talked with my family, with God and with myself. Today, I announcement my resignation.”

Crespo, as well as González, are members of the island pro-statehood party the New Progressive Party (PNP), which is also the party of Governor Luis Fortuño. Fortuño, who won the election in 2008, had included a “zero-corrpution” government on his formal platform, and promised that any political leader—no matter what party—would need to follow all ethical and legal requirements. Fortuño and González were both very vocal in tell Crespo that he had to resign from his post. Initially, González had announced that a formal ethics hearing would be held in the House for Crespo, but the pressure for his resignation had already mounted.

On Friday, the AP reported the following:

“I accept that I failed. I am human. I ask the citizens of Puerto Rico for forgiveness. … I will submit to all processes to rectify this ignorance,” Crespo was quoted as saying in the statement.

Gonzalez said Crespo had denied to her that he used drugs. She said he had stepped down as House majority whip.

Shortly after Gonzalez’s announcement, Gov. Luis Fortuño said he was indignant about the results and urged Crespo to resign immediately instead of waiting for a decision from the ethics committee.

“This is an uncomfortable and unacceptable situation for both the legislature and for the citizens of Puerto Rico,” Fortuño said in a statement.

Today, Fortuño commented from the National Governors Association meeting in Washington:

“I spoke with [Crespo] this morning. He knows that within minutes of my finding out about the revelations, I recommended and urged him to resign,” Fortuño said in Spanish. “He must focus on whatever personal issues that would arise from this situation.”

Fortuño also said that Crespo had assured him that Crespo would not seek a canadidacy to the Puerto Rican Legislature in 2012.

Governor Luis Fortuño

It has been a tumultuous month for the Puerto Rican Governor, the first Republican to be elected on the island since 1969. His remarks at February’s 2011 CPAC (The American Conservative Union) conference claimed that most Puerto Ricans are conservative in nature and that the Republican party can successfully reach out to voters on the island, as his victory proved. (Note: Puerto Ricans on the island cannot vote in national elections.) In the same speech, Fortuño urged Republican lawmakers to take advantage of the new House majorities on the mainland during the budget debate and “make the tough cuts early and stick to them with courage”.

Fortuño, who has been credited for improving the island’s debt issues and establishing the island’s highest bond rating since 1976, is still facing tough criticism for his handling of the recent strikes at the University of Puerto Rico. This criticism reached a crescendo when Illinois Democrat Luis Guitérrez publicly railed against the Fortuño government for violating basic American rights and suggesting that Fortuño’s tactics are similar to that our Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. In addition, The Puerto Rico Democracy Act, a referendum that would allow for Puerto Ricans to vote on their political status, is stuck in the Senate and Fortuño is facing pressure from his own party to ensure that the Act is passed to Puerto Ricans can vote on their political future.

The Crespo resignation has dealt a blow to the Fortuño administration, and it is no surprise that the governor wanted to distance himself from Crespo as quickly as possible.

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As reported by Fox News Latino today, a new survey by the Pew Research Foundation released this past Monday provides a more analytic look at how American view immigration issues in the 21st century.  Here are some of the conclusions that the Pew survey, conducted Feb. 2-7 among 1,385 adults, reveals:

  • The idea of increased border security combined with a citizenship path to illegal immigrants already residing in the US is an option most Americans would support.
  • 57% of Americans oppose changing the Constitution for the sole purpose of denying automatic birthright citizenship of children of illegal immigrants born in the US.
  • 61% of Americans support Arizona’s controversial immigration law, which allows law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of individuals. However, according to the survey, 27% of Hispanics are in favor of the law,  as compared to 72% of Whites and 42% of Blacks. Support and opposition is also categorized by political affiliation as 54% of Democrats oppose the law while 88% of Republicans support it. 62% of Independents support the law and 34% disapprove of it.
  • The survey also called out what self-identified Tea Party members think. 57% of Tea Party members support a change to Constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship with 38% opposing a change.

On the Facebook page of Fox News Latino, fans of the page have already started to comment and share their thoughts about the FNL story and the survey. Here are just a few of the posts that appeared there tonight (Editor’s Note: we did not edit any of these comments):

People who’s birth took place in this nation are citizens and not “undocumented,” as stated by the constitution (addressing the first sentence). The issue with border “security” is that a lot of Conservative don’t see the line between patrolling the border (to return people to their nations of origin) v. building a wall at the border (to keep all others out). If we pass job creating legislation to identify and naturalize already resident immigrants, things should work out much better. More jobs, more money being paid into the government and more tax paying citizens.

I agree with tougher enforcement and a path to Residency before citizenship… And we need to crack hard on the drug stuff too

In other countries if atleast one of your parents is not a citizen of that country then the child is not a citenzen.. The only reason that amendment is in the constitution is because of the discrimination againts people brought here AGAINTS THEIR WILL.. Not otherwise specified. 🙂

Other parts of the survey focused on how Americans view jobs and illegal immigration. Below are all the infographics that Pew shared with their article:

This survey paints a different picture from the more extremist views dominating the conversation, both nationally and in Arizona. Maybe there is hope for America after all.

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