LULAC, the country’s oldest civil rights organization announced its support for Puerto Rico statehood on Monday, breathing new life into the debate over the most populous U.S. territory’s sovereign status.
The decision by the League of United Latino American Citizens (LULAC), a national organization, to take an affirmative stance on the issue marks a break from a historical trend where the status issue was seen as out of bounds to groups off the island.
“The moment is now,” said Sindy Benavides, CEO of LULAC.
“We see continuously how our Puerto Rican community is treated as second class citizens — the fact that there are over 235,000 men and women who have served honorably in the military, who have lost their lives, and yet they cannot vote for the president of the United States, it’s a double standard,” she added.
The issue of Puerto Rico’s political status is increasingly seen as a civil rights issue, as more than 3 million U.S. citizens are afforded partial political rights because they reside in a territory.
That civil rights perspective has come into sharper focus in the wake of the island’s latest status referendum, where a majority of voters chose statehood.
“Puerto Ricans on the island voted for statehood in the general election with a simple ballot, so it now becomes a civil rights issue,” said Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) the first Florida representative of Puerto Rican descent.”And that is LULAC’s main role among the Hispanic community, upholding the civil rights of Latinos across the nation,” added Soto, who […]