Posts Tagged ‘La Fortaleza’

Originally published at LatinoRebels.com

Leave it to pro-statehood and GOP darling Luis Fortuño to conveniently stop being a pro-US-statehooder during the London Olympics. The last few days, Fortuño, who is facing a tough re-election this November, has suddenly become one proud boricua during Puerto Rico’s Olympic efforts. Never mind the fact that as someone who fervently supports Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state of the Union, Fortuño knows that in a tough election year, you got to wrap yourself around the Puerto Rican flag and overlook your political principles.

We will got out on a limb and say that if Puerto Rico were to become the 51st state of the United States, it would no longer be an Olympic country, but what does that matter less than 100 days before an election? The irony of a passionate pro-statehooder like Fortuño now sounding like the other pro-commonwealth and pro-independence candidates he has criticized for exploiting Puerto Rico’s unique boricuaness is quite telling.

But don’t tell that to Fortuño and his campaign, since they have become Facebook addicts the last few days. Here are just a few of the posts from the official Fortuño51 page (yes he even has a 51 in his Facebook URL):

First off, change your Facebook Page cover image to exploit a picture of you and the family of bronze medal winner Javier Culson. Umm, the little girl to the right of Fortuño looks absolutely thrilled to be next to the governor.

Then start posting photos of different athletes and pushing Puerto Rico’s unique pride and love for the Olympics. Here are just a few samples of what Fortuño and his campaign posted yesterday. First off, send everyone a personal Facebook post:

Then post your first Culson pic.

Post another Culson pic an hour later. Go viral.

Then an hour later, raise the city flag of Ponce (Culson’s hometown) over La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion.

The Olympic Facebook blitz began on Fortuño’s page over the weekend. Here are a few more screen shots of what the page posted:

Here is the hypocrisy: Fortuño is head of a statehood party (the New Progressive Party, or PNP) that wants to become a state of the Union, no ifs, ands, or buts. However, if Puerto Rico were to become a state, there is no more Olympic team for Puerto Rico. This hasn’t stopped Fortuño and his campaign from pushing Olympic pride the last few days. Talk about being inconsistent in your messaging.

In addition, many PNPers who have commented on these Fortuño posts and the posts of the PNP think that if Puerto Rico were to become a state, the Puerto Rican Olympic team would still continue because there is an Olympic charter. Yeah, right. Memo to the PNPers: the United States trumps you on your desires to keep the Puerto Rican Olympic team intact.

All this boricua pride and flag waving would go away. Puerto Ricans would become part of the US team, and give or take a Culson or a few boxers, the chances to make the bigger team would be slim.

If Fortuño were truly the pro-statehooder that he was, he would be pushing the US team’s feats to his followers. But that would not make any political sense, since it is clear that even Fortuño will admit that when it comes to being politically convenient, it is best to push the boricuaness to the masses instead of staying true to his statehood message. But, hey, fuzziness is all part of Puerto Rico’s politics. We do find it amazing that many on the island buy it because it is coming from Fortuño.

A little advice to the PNPers: If you want to become a state, put away the Puerto Rican flags and start chanting “USA USA USA!”

Are you ready to do that? Are you?

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Just two days after Governor Luis Fortuño announced new amendments to Puerto Rico’s vote on its political status, the Puerto Rican Senate approved the changes for plebiscite, which will be held on the island next August.

The plebiscite, which will once again try to check the mood of the island regarding its colonial relationship with the United States, will now be held in one step, instead of the two-step proposal that was originally pushed by Fortuño earlier this year.

As reported today by Prensa Latina:

San Juan, Dec 21 (Prensa Latina) After days of wrangling and disagreements in the leadership of the ruling New Progressive Party (PNP), the Senate in Puerto Rico approved the legislative measure to carry out a plebiscite to define the future status of the island with the United States.

Governor Luis G. Fortuño persuaded the presidents of the legislative chambers to approve the project to consult the people on relations with Washington, which maintains colonial rule in the country since the military invasion in 1898.

Jenniffer Gonzalez, president of the House of Representatives had always supported that the bill be voted on in accordance with the wishes of the Puerto Rican governor, which was ratified after a meeting at La Fortaleza, government house.

However, Senate president Thomas Rivera Schatz voted for the measure despite rejecting the changes introduced by Fortuño to allow the consultation to be made on Nov. 6, 2012, the same day of the general elections.

Neither did the leader of the Senate agree to eliminate the colonial word referring to the “Free Associated State” created by Washington in 1952 to remove Puerto Rico from the United Nations register of those countries under colonial rule.

Originally, the status consultation was scheduled to take place in two stages, in August and November 2012, for the people to decide in the first round if they wanted to continue as a colony of the United States and in the second, to say what status would they prefer: annexation, free association or independence.

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Today at 5:45 pm local Puerto Rico time, Republican and Pro-Statehood Governor Luis Fortuño will make a special announcement to the people of Puerto Rico. In a brief email sent this morning, Governor Fortuño provided very little details about his special message, but include links so that people can watch or listen to him.

Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño

The best place to catch it on the Internet is on the official page of La Fortaleza. You can also catch the Governor locally on the following media outlets on the island:


Canal 2 WKAQ TV/NBC Telemundo
Canal 11 Univisión
Canal 4 WAPATV
Canal 10 OneLink
Canal 6 PRTV
Canal 7 WSTE
Canal 24 CV24
Canales 40 SistemaTV
CDM Internacional

Cadena del Milagro
– Canal 8 Guayama
– Canal 54 Arecibo / Yauco
– Canal 63 Aguada
– Canal 54 Liberty / Dish
– Canal 68 OneLink

NCN Televisión
– Canal 58
– Canal 50
– Canal 15 OneLink
– Canal 10 Liberty/Choice

– Canal 46 OneLink
– Canal 63 Liberty

Telecadena SBN
– Canal 20.1 San Juan
– Canal 48.1 Quebradillas
– Canal 119 Liberty

Victoria Visión
– Canal 34.1
– Canal 11 Choice



630AM Noti Uno
580AM WKAQ / Univisión Radio
680AM / 1260AM Cadena WAPA Radio
95.7 FM Fidelity
96.9 GM Radio Triunfo
97.3 FM Magic
97.7 FM Nueva Vida
98.5 FM Salsoul
104.1 FM Radio Redentor
105.7 FM Alpha Rock
106.1 FM Radio Renacer

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The former governor of Puerto Rico, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, wrote an essay last month in Spanish called “La fiebre no está en la sábana,” which literally means “The Fever is Not on the Bed Sheet,” a saying that speaks to the superficiality of the island’s dysfunctional political problems. For Puerto Rico to truly be a better political society, we must dig deeper, go beyond the “bed sheet,” and truly reform a political system that has been egocentric, self-serving, and quite frankly, has kept the island passive for decades. We have published a loose English translation of Vilá’s essay, which calls for electoral reform that actually follows the process of the world’s top democracies.

It’s no secret that over the last thirty years the discontent and dissatisfaction [Puerto Ricans] have with the Legislature has resulted into a lengthy and gradual crescendo of complaints and “reform” legislated to have resolved nothing.

Our reasons for these reforms are numerous: because legislators do not work hard enough and had no time to legislate their projects, because we need to create the second ordinary session of the Legislature and also adopted the principle of full-time legislator. Because they spend too much so we gave them a “stipend” (as if it were not the same) and had them pay taxes on that income. Because they legislated late at night, we a strict schedule and so they are not seen as being too close with the candidate for Governor, we created the third ballot.

Because there are way too many legislators and because they spend too much, we the people of Puerto Rico voted for the one-chamber system, but then the PNP [pro-statehood party] ignored the people’s mandate and now there are way too many legislators, who spend too much and annoy the people. I would venture to say that if a solution to have the people vote for no chamber or no legislators, it would be pass.

And last but not least, the scandal and the resignation of Sen. Roberto Arango of the PNP have added to this debate.

All these proposals, as legislated and proposed now, are all symptoms, but not the root of the problem. Our biggest problem is the intellectual quality, diligence, and ethics of our legislators. Nothing proposed will address that issues, which is the real problem. The proposal is being discussed now so that we have a Legislature with fewer legislators, what it means is that instead of having Chuchin and Arango in the same chamber, we will have either Arango or Chuchin. That’s not real change.

I’ve seen this problem from different perspectives and experiences: as a consultant at La Fortaleza when it approved the second session, as a legislator when legislators approved the full-time law, as the Resident Commissioner —where I could see the differences with the federal Congress— and as a governor having to govern with a PNP-controlled legislature. The experience gained and the failed attempts of legislative reforms aimed at a deeper diagnosis of the problem: the poor quality of our legislators is the result of a deficiency in our democracy.

It is true that we as a people vote for these legislators, but the other truth is that every four years in Puerto Rico almost nobody knows who their legislators and candidates for the House and Senate are. We live in a highly “executive” system, which is what truly influences move the elections for our Governor and Mayors. These are the ones who work to have the people know and think about them when they vote. But let’s be honest, people are not thinking about their legislative candidates when they go to the polls. That is the root of our problem and legislators who are elected are the symptom.The problem is a deficiency in our political and democratic framework.

I have always believed that the remedy for the deficiencies must be more a democratic democracy. And in the case of our Legislature, after so many scandals and mediocrity of so many failed attempts at reform, it’s time to make real changes that are deep and dramatic. We have the power as a people to truly examine who the candidates are for our Legislature.

Therefore I propose to open a discussion about we can amend our Constitution effectively, so that legislators are chosen in a separate election from those of Governors and Mayors, just like in other countries and how it is done most of the time in the United States. (We should also discuss how many legislators we want.) We can keep the legislators’ terms to last four years, but the elections would occur every two years between the elections of Governors and Mayors. Thus, in this election the only thing on the ballot would be candidates for the Legislature and the people can focus on the performance of their legislators and the other candidates that could  replace them. What I propose is a direct relationship is between the legislature and their constituents. Let’s get to the root of the problem. The fever is not on the bed sheet.

Aníbal Acevedo Vilá

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If Puerto Rico becomes a state, popular Krispy Kreme stores would need close.

So, we were in San Juan this weekend and went over to La Fortaleza, the official residence of Republican pro-statehood governor Luis Fortuño. We asked for an interview, but Fortuño wasn’t home. (Bummer, we had brought coffee to chat.)


For those who don’t want to watch the video (and you should since my little sis Vanessa is in it), here is the latest Top 10 List:

10. You would need to change the kilometer signs to miles.

9.   You would need to add actual numbers to over 8 million buildings and street signs. We estimate this to be about $3 billion in additional costs.

8.   The drinking age would be raised to 21 from the current age of 12.

7.    You could not take your “whiskey to go” on the drive back home.

6.   The speed limit signs would need to change from miles to kilometers.

5.    NO MISS UNIVERSE!!!!! Wha?

4.    So long to the Puerto Rican Olympic Team. (Sidenote: One of my cousins is a sports doctor for some of the Puerto Rican national teams. He would be out of job. Another job loss under Fortuño.)

3.    No Krispy Kreme stores. No more late-night runs to eat donuts.

2 .  No casinos, unless we become an Indian Reservation.

1.    No accents in signs. So Mayagüez would be Mayaguez, Rincón would be Rincon, and so forth.


  • No LIVE BANDS playing at 11 am!
  • No more pigeons. All the pigeons would gone. And kids wold be sad.

So, what would you add?

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Populism is alive and well in Puerto Rican, both on the floor of the US House of Representatives and at La Fortaleza, the official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico.

In a stark study in political philosophies and beliefs that have dominated the island-colony of the United States since the 1898 Spanish-American War, two Puerto Rican political leaders took to the pulpit on Wednesday to spread their messages to the masses.

In Washington, Illinois Democrat Luis Gutiérrez blasted the current Republican and pro-statehood administration of Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño for serious breaches of US constitutional rights (Puerto Rico, as a colony of the US, falls under American federal jurisdiction) and the pro-statehood Puerto Rican Legislature for their attempts to censure Gutiérrez and his criticisms against the island’s current government.

Your efforts to silence me – just like your efforts to silence so many people in Puerto Rico who disagree with you — will fail, just as every effort to blockade progress only makes the march toward justice more powerful and swift.

I may not be Puerto Rican enough for some people, but I know this: nowhere on earth will you find a people harder to silence than Puerto Ricans.

You won’t locate my love for Puerto Rico on my birth certificate or a driver’s license, my children’s birth certificate or any other piece of paper.

My love for Puerto Rico is right here – in my heart — a heart that beats with our history and our language and our heroes.

Meanwhile, Fortuño, who returned to San Juan after attending the National Governors Association conference in Washington earlier this week, celebrated the island’s 94th anniversary of the 1917 Jones Act, which made Puerto Ricans American Citizens. Gov. Fortuño made a speech in Spanish (no English translation of the speech is available on La Fortaleza’s official web site) that celebrated the day when “Puerto Ricans acquired citizenship into the United States of America.”

Governor Luis Fortuño

Fortuño made it a point to emphasize the challenges facing Puerto Ricans and their right to American citizenship, and emphasized the importance of promoting democratic principles within the island:

As a Resident Commissioner and Governor, I have throughout the years participated in the swearing-in ceremonies of hundreds of new American citizens.

As I shared this special moment in the lives of many immigrants, I have occasionally reflected on how that we [as Puerto Ricans], who were automatically born into the protection of the privileges of American citizenship, rarely appreciate the full value of these privileges, nor do we take full advantage of their benefits, nor do we feel motivated enough to demand the prerogatives that these rights are conferred upon us.

In contrast, these immigrants —many of whom have suffered difficulties and injustices in this homelands that have always manifest themselves in societies what lack the democratic pillars of security, equality, stability, and opportunity— have provided a living testament of the blessing that becoming a citizen of the United States of America means to them.

A key principle of the American system of government, of which we are an integral part, is that the government is formed to serve the people, and not the other way around.

The individual and the family are the basic units of our society.

Therefore, it is to them that we must empower, putting power and opportunities in their hands.

It is this philosophy that creates the foundation of good government and it is what our administration has introduced.

Government is meant to support the individual and families, not to drown them by mortgaging the future of the next generations.

Government has the obligation to offer basic services of excellence, and services of support and help, especially to those who lack the least of resources.

But when government exceeds that essential and limited function, and instead converts itself into a paternalistic government that provides everything, a vicious cycle of dependence is created that punishes success and drowns the capacity of the individual to achieve self-improvement.

Fortuño Invites Gutiérrez to D.C. Reception

In an ironic twist to this political saga, El Nuevo Día reported on Tuesday that Fortuño had invited Gutiérrez and other members of Congress to a D.C. reception he was hosting with Puerto Rico’s Tourism Board.

In an email we sent to Douglas Rivlin, Gutiérrez’s Press Secretary, on Tuesday evening asking if the Congressman would be attending the reception, Rivlin replied:

[Congressman Gutiérrez] is not attending the reception and is here in Washington.  He has had a busy day and has a busy day with several hearings tomorrow, and as you can see, we are working late.

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