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Posts Tagged ‘EL NUEVO DIA’


Proving once again that when it comes to the issue of Puerto Rico’s political status everything that is up is down and everything that is down is up, last night the White House backtracked on what Press Secretary Jay Carney said earlier in the day about the island’s recent plebiscite vote on political status, according to a report by El Nuevo Día.

Yesterday afternoon Carney said that the results of the plebiscite’s first question clearly showed that Puerto Ricans had rejected its current commonwealth status, but that the process behind the second question of the vote was not as clear, even though 61% of Puerto Ricans chose statehood in the second part. It is a similar position that the co-chairs of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status said last week. (For my thoughts as to why this is all muddied in the first place, read this post.)

© Associated Press

© Associated Press

Last night, all that changed, as Luis Miranda, the White House’s Hispanic Affairs spokesperson, said that all the results of the vote were “clear.” Miranda said that the Puerto Rican people wants its political status to be resolved and that a majority favored statehood in the plebiscite’s second question.

According to El Nuevo Día, Miranda’s comments corrected Carney’s prepared White House statement, which was shared with END last Friday.

In the meantime, END also reported that the office of Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor (R), the House Majority Leader, will be talking with his colleagues about Puerto Rico. The newspaper says that Cantor is a key player in favoring a new process that would help to determine Puerto Rico’s status.

Stay tuned for more topsy-turviness. As if this should surprise anyone.

To read the entire END article, click here.

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In response to a November 6 plebiscite vote in Puerto Rico, where 54% of voters rejected the island’s current status quo and 61% chose statehood as its preferred option, the White House today said that Puerto Rico has “made it clear” that it wants to resolve its political status, according to a report in El Nuevo Día.

puerto_rico_0527

As the newspaper reports in Spanish, David Agnew and Tony West, co-chairs for The President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status, stated that the Obama Administration “will work with Congress to provide the people of Puerto Rico a clear process that would establish ways that Puerto Ricans could determine their status. [Note: this quotes and others were translated from the END report in Spanish. They do not reflect the official English version of the statement. END received an advanced copy of the statement.]

Agnew and West also stated the following:

“This Administration is committed to the principle that political status is a topic of self-determination for the people of Puerto Rico.”

“Besides the status question, the Task Force will continue to work with Congress, the people of Puerto Rico and its leaders to address the concerns of the (close to) four million American citizens who call Puerto Rico home, implementing the recommendations of the 2011 report to promote the creation of jobs, improve security, education and address other important education, health and clean energy goals.”

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Now it gets interesting. Just a month before Puerto Ricans get to determine the fate of incumbent pro-statehood Republican governor Luis Fortuño as well as vote on yet another non-binding political status plebiscite, today’s poll by El Nuevo Día (the island’s largest newspaper) has Fortuño trailing pro-commonwealth Democratic challenger Alejandro García Padilla by just two points, 41%-39%.

The poll, published today, suggests that Fortuño continues to gain as he seeks his second term as Puerto Rico’s governor. According to reports, García Padilla was leading by 5 percentage points after an August poll and by 7 percentage points after a poll in May. Fortuño, who favors statehood for Puerto Rico and is head of the island’s New Progressive Party, has recently turned his campaign push as a push for statehood, even though the upcoming plebiscite—held the same day as the elections—would be non-binding, meaning that the US Congress would still have to decide Puerto Rico’s political status and while Mitt Romney has promised that if Puerto Ricans chose statehood in the plebiscite he would push for the island’s entry into the Union, President Obama went on record last year to say that the plebiscite’s results would have to be pretty definitive before Congress could act.

As for Puerto Rico’s Independentista candidate Juan Dalmau? According to the latest poll, he is still stuck at 4%. That is less than those who told said they were still undecided (6%). Ouch.

So, in the end, what can be said about where Puerto Rico’s race stands? Let’s just say this: In the end, Fortuño, the Republican, is like President Obama, the Democrat. Both are trying to tell voters that things are getting better, and they both have a tough case to make. Fortuño can also dangle the fantasy of statehood, which is still attractive to about 40%-45% of the island.

García Padilla is a lot like Romney. Not the greatest of candidates. But just like Romney, if García Padilla keeps pounding Fortuño’s record, just like Romney is pounding Obama’s, García Padilla (and Romney) just might win. But polls are polls, and who knows what will happen on November 6. What we can guarantee is this: it should make for an intense night, both on the mainland and on the island.

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