Puerto Rico's Future
March 26, 2007
Four million U.S. citizens live under the U.S. flag in Puerto Rico, yet they can neither vote for president nor have voting representation in Congress, which enacts the federal laws under which they live. Residents of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories are deprived of basic rights of self-determination that U.S. citizens generally enjoy and that the United States has committed itself to achieving for peoples around the globe.
This volume provides a comprehensive historical and constitutional framework for addressing increasingly serious issues of national policy concerning the political status and federal governance of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories. Political gridlock in Congress and in Puerto Rico has stymied efforts to put Puerto Rico on a path toward a permanent political status that ensures full self-government for its residents. If Congress does not act soon, U.S. courts may be asked to give more serious consideration to whether the residents of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories have political and human rights under U.S. and international law that can no longer be ignored by the political branches of government.
Dick Thornburgh is a former attorney general of the United States, a former governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and a former undersecretary general of the United Nations. He currently serves as counsel to Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP in Washington, D.C.