Washington, D.C.–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–August 29, 2003–The American Veterans Committee for Puerto Rico Self-Determination, a national, non-profit, and non partisan veterans organization today commended the American Legion for adopting a resolution on August 28th, expressing support for Puerto Rico self-determination, during its annual convention held in St. Louis, Missouri.
The resolution states, “Resolved, that the American Legion requests that the Congress pass, and the President sign into law, legislation that would define the political status options available to the United States citizens of Puerto Rico and authorize a plebiscite to provide an opportunity for Puerto Ricans to make an informed decision regarding the island’s future political status.”
Major General Orlando Llenza, USAF (Ret.), Chairman of the American Veterans Committee for Puerto Rico Self-Determination, praised the action taken by the American Legion. “This resolution honors the sacrifices of more than 200,000 veterans of the island of Puerto Rico who have served and the thousands who continue to serve valiantly in the Armed Forces of the United States,” said General Llenza. The committee he chairs is dedicated to obtaining support for a Congressional-authorized process of self-determination for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico.
With this action, the American Legion joins the other leading national veterans organizations such as the American GI Forum, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Vietnam Veterans of America, and the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States in expressing support for Puerto Rican veterans and their fellow U.S. citizens who reside in Puerto Rico in their quest for self-determination.
The U.S. Congress granted Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship in 1917. Since then, more than 200,000 Puerto Ricans have served in the armed forces of the United States and 2,000 have sacrificed their lives in the defense of the nation, including nine who have thus far lost their lives while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Four Puerto Ricans have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for extraordinary valor in battle. Despite all these contributions and sacrifice on behalf of America’s defense, Puerto Ricans have never been offered the opportunity by Congress to choose a permanent political status that would lead to either statehood or independence.