"El Arzobispo González ha dado un paso al frente valientemente en asuntos bien importantes para Puerto Rico, como la lucha por conseguir la paza en la isla de Vieques, la necesidad para proteger los derechos civiles y la libertad de expresión, la libertad de los prisioneros políticos, y el trato justo a los pobres", expuso.
"Pero el asunto que ha inflamado las pasiones del partido en el poder en contra del Arzobispo ha sido su clara y firme posición sobre la necesidad de afirmar la identidad puertorriqueña, y la existencia de una nación puertorriqueña", añadió.
"Tuvo la temeridad de incorporar la bandera puertorriqueña en la Iglesia Católica, la Iglesia Puertorriqueña", concluyó al recordar que esta semana vuelve a la Isla para una actividad en Adjuntas sobre el gasoducto.
Texto íntegro en inglés del discurso de hoy:
REMARKS BY REP. LUIS V. GUTIERREZ
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
NOVEMBER 3, 2011
I have come to the floor on several occasions this year to denounce the abuses of the current government in Puerto Rico and discuss a number of interrelated issues where the government has taken action to suppress dissent and to conduct business in secret -- cutting the people out of their own government's decision-making process.
I have discussed the current Regime's push for a dangerous, environmentally risky 92-mile natural gas pipeline known locally as the "gasoducto."
The violations of the civil rights and human rights of workers who protested the firing of up to 30,000 government workers
Closing the legislature to the press and public and conducting their business in secret.
The violent treatment of students who opposed a steep fee increase and whose protest was broken up with Billy clubs and pepper spray.
The civil rights abuses revealed in the devastating report by the Department of Justice about the systematic abuses by the Puerto Rican police.
And, with the help of a federal judge, the government has literally tried to destroy the Puerto Rico Bar Association, one of the most important independent organizations of civil society.
And the reaction in official Puerto Rico to my denunciations here in this House is telling as well.
The legislature in Puerto Rico -- both houses, controlled by the ruling party -- approved a joint resolution condemning me -- not condemning the abusive tactics and oppressive practices I denounced -- and that the DOJ confirmed exist -- but condemning me for telling you about them.
Now the effort in Puerto Rico to silence any and all opposition has gone beyond censuring remarks made in this body and appears maybe to have reached a new low.
Incredible as it may sound, according to press reports published in Puerto Rico, the Vatican sent a church official to conduct an investigation on allegations of political involvement by the Archbishop of San Juan. According to these reports, the investigation had been conducted in secrecy until the press got wind of it this week.
While no names have surfaced of who filed an accusation against the Archbishop or who was in contact with the Vatican, it is telling that the elite of the ruling party have been quick to saturate the airwaves and pages of local papers with loud public accusations against the Archbishop.
As they have done repeatedly in the past. Attacking the Archbishop is nothing new.
I am a strong supporter of the democratic principle of the separation of church and state.
But as someone who has spent my life working to defend the rights of workers, minorities, working class people and immigrants, I have often been joined by people of faith and particularly, leaders of the Catholic Church.
Just as here on the mainland, in Puerto Rico there is a broad religious leadership that has joined with the people there as they strive to achieve a higher degree of social justice.
Among those people is Archbishop Roberto González Nieves of San Juan.
Archbishop Gonzalez Nieves has courageously stepped forward on very important issues in Puerto Rico such as the struggle to achieve peace on the island of Vieques, the need to protect civil rights and free speech, the freedom of political prisoners and the just treatment of the poor.
But the one issue that has inflamed the passions of the ruling party against the Archbishop has been his clear and firm stance on the need to affirm Puerto Rican identity and the existence of a Puerto Rican nation.
He has expressed a bold and comprehensive opinion, in reference to Puerto Rican nationhood that: "Motherland, nation and identity are indivisible gifts of God's love".
He had the temerity to incorporate the Puerto Rican flag into the Catholic Church -- the Puerto Rican church.
Mr. Speaker, while this is a church matter with which of course, this body has nothing to do, this is yet another instance where the regime, through any means necessary, seeks to silence all voices of opposition and undermine all independent institutions on the island. Whether they initiated the effort to silence the archbishop or whether they are just cheering it loudly from the sidelines, the current regime is repeating its pattern of driving all opposing voices into the wilderness.
Mr. Speaker, I am one voice -- and I suspect Archbishop Gonzalez Nieves is another -- that cannot be silenced or driven into the wilderness.
I will be going to Puerto Rico on Friday night and trekking to the mountain town of Adjuntas to meet with the good people of Casa Pueblo this Sunday where we will discuss the next steps of the people's opposition to the "gasoducto" pipeline project.
Interestingly, the Archbishop also expressed serious concerns about "gasoducto" and in June participated in a meeting with leaders of the communities discussing possible actions they could take in case construction of the pipeline actually begins.
I am sure that the regime's attempts to suppress the will of the people and to impose upon them politically driven policies such as the "gasoducto" or get the institutions of civil society to shut up will not be happy to hear what I have to say next week in Puerto Rico.