Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

Congressman Serrano Statement on Events in Puerto Rico

Jul 19, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman José E. Serrano released the following statement on events in Puerto Rico:

“I support the right of Puerto Ricans to peacefully speak out against decades of frustration, mismanagement, and inequality under its colonial status.  For too long, Puerto Ricans have been treated with disrespect by the federal government and by their own local elected officials. 

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the language used and the sentiments expressed in the chat records.  Those words are not worthy of anyone, and in particular of leaders on the island.  The legislature, laws, and people of Puerto Rico will resolve the Governor’s future.  I hope that all involved take a few days to consider what is best for the future of the Puerto Rican people and the island that we all love so dearly.

“Corruption has occurred on the island for decades- one only need to look at the history of investigations and indictments to see that. It seems as though leaders on the island think that their second-class political status means that no one will hold them accountable. 

“But I cannot help but look at these protests and problems and wonder at why we are here at this moment. For 121 years, Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States. It is treated unfairly and unequally, and it lacks a political voice to change that. That inequality led to the fiscal crisis, and hampered the response to Hurricane Maria.  It feeds Donald Trump’s ignorance about the American citizens living on the island, and gives him an excuse to prevent needed help from getting to the people of Puerto Rico.  It prevents accountability and frustrates the popular will.

“For those of us who fight on a daily basis in Washington on behalf of Puerto Rico, this has been a very difficult time.  The events of the past couple weeks have made our efforts more difficult. But I will continue to fight for fairness for Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans, from now until my last day in office.”