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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07)

October 9, 2020

Press Release

Bill Led by Reps. Velázquez, Ocasio-Cortez Calls for Convention to Develop Long-Term Solution to Island’s Political Status

Bill Text (PDF)

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) signed on as a co-sponsor of the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2020, historic legislation led by Congresswomen Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) that would formally call for a Status Convention where delegates, elected by the people of Puerto Rico, would develop a long-term solution that would free the Island of its current status as a U.S. territory.

Congresswoman Pressley’s decision to co-sponsor the legislation follows a virtual meeting she convened last month with Massachusetts advocates and researchers who have close ties to Puerto Rico, including organizers who have long been working in support of those on the Island and the Puerto Rican diaspora in Massachusetts. The advocates shared their support for the legislation as it will allow for a transparent and democratic process created by and for Puerto Rican people to determine their future as an island. 

“For far too long, Puerto Rico’s status as a U.S. territory has served as a roadblock to the Island’s progress, inflicting over a century of hurt and harm on the Island’s residents and depriving them of their fundamental right to determine their own future,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “That’s why I’m proud to co-sponsor the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2020, bold legislation that would affirm the dignity and humanity of the Puerto Rican people by establishing a fair, transparent and inclusive process to determine a long-term solution to the Island’s political status. We must finally end the subjugation of Puerto Rico—and I am grateful to Congresswomen Velázquez and Ocasio-Cortez for their bold leadership in this effort.”

“Ever since the United States invaded Puerto Rico over a century ago, the people of Puerto Rico have been subject to a colonial status,” said Congresswoman Velázquez. “Puerto Ricans deserve the respect and dignity to determine their own future and that is exactly what the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act will help to facilitate. By developing a democratic mechanism to allow the people of Puerto Rico to vote on their political status, this bill is the progressive position on how we should discuss Puerto Rico’s status moving forward. I am thrilled to have the support of Congresswoman Pressley, who herself is a strong progressive voice in the House.”

The Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2020, introduced by Congresswomen Velázquez and Ocasio-Cortez in August, would prompt Puerto Rico’s Legislature to create a Status Convention whose delegates would be elected by Puerto Rican voters. This body would develop a long-term solution for Puerto Rico’s status, be that statehood, independence, free association or any option other than the current territorial arrangement. What the convention negotiates and puts forth would then be voted on in a referendum by the people of Puerto Rico before presentation to the U.S. Congress.

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