Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi has announced his support for President Barack Obama’s plan for a limited strike against Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s regime, in response to the use of chemical weapons against Syrians. Pierluis is the first Puerto Rican official to issue comments on the matter.
“Although I cannot vote, it is important for my voice to be heard in this debate. I respect my colleagues in Congress and my constituents who wonder if the proposed plan will be effective in achieves our objectives.
However, after deliberating on the issue carefully, I arrived at the conclusion that launching a specific military attack as President Obama propose is necessary and appropriate” said Pierluisi in a statement released hours before the possibility of a US strike on Syrian facilities became unlikely, following a proposed Russian plan for Syria to submit its chemical weapons to international control.
The expressions by the Resident Commissioner would have most likely garnered attention from the national media as Congress discusses the possibility of authorizing the strike, but as a representative from a territory, Pierluisi cannot vote on the resolution. Despite Puerto Rico’s strong presence in US armed forces -the territory has one of the highest per capita participation rates in the military among all US jurisdictions-, island residents have no say on the use of military force since they cannot vote for the President and lack voting representation in Congress.
UPDATE: Puerto Rican State Senator Maria de Lourdes Santiago presented a resolution for the Senate of Puerto Rico to reject the President’s plan. Santiago is the only elected official of the Puerto Rican Independence Party.