Posts Tagged ‘PNP’

And you think President Barack Obama has problems?

In Puerto Rico, Republican pro-statehood Governor Luis Fortuño is feeling the pain, with the release of a new poll sponsored by WAPA-TV, the island’s largest TV network.

The findings were quite telling, as Fortuño — a Fox News media darling, a potential Vice Presidential candidate for the Republican nomination (memo: he would have to move to the mainland for this to happen), and a staunch loyalist to the pro-statehood cause — faces a recent credit downgrade and mounting economic problems for the island.

The following points are made in the video:

  • Fortuño’s disapproval ratings span all socioeconomic groups, which bodes poorly for the Governor, given than his base would naturally come from a higher socioeconomic class.
  • Fortuño also has the same disapproval ratings between men and women.
What is also interesting to note is that the poll occurred before recent news of Puerto Rico’s credit downgrade occurred last week. The incumbent governor, who had tried to reassure the island that things would be okay, faces a major political challenge if he were to indeed continue his re-election bid.

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Even with the historic White House Report on Puerto Rican status published this year, a new social media movement is gathering steam on the island of Puerto Rico on the heels of a June 14 visit by President Barack Obama.

Inspired by recent movements in both the Middle East and in Spain, residents of the Western Hemisphere’s oldest colony (a territory of the United States since the Spanish-American War of 1898) will gather in the streets demanding for political justice. President Obama, who had promised during his 2008 campaign bid that Puerto Rico’s paradoxical political status would be a top priority for his Administration, has nonetheless issued a White House Report that has failed to fulfill his promise. The report, which has been widely touted by the Republican, pro-statehood and Fox News media darling Governor Luis Fortuño, has been criticized by many for its leaning towards a more pro-statehood movement. It is clear that the current political climate of the United States (Arizona, immigration, anti-Latino hate, Republican refusal of Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state) will not result in a statehood solution. Any plebiscites held on the island (and Fortuño is proposing phase 1 in late 2011 and phase 2 in 2013) will ne non-binding and still be decided and determined by the US Congress.

The time to stop depending on the United States and the island’s current political system is NOW. Join the cause on June 14, either by attending the rally or by supporting it through social media.

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As reported in Spanish by EL Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s largest newspaper, the lawsuit submitted in 2006 against the United States government by former pro-statehood Governor Pedro Rosselló to the Organization of American States (OAS) is still in at a preliminary stage with the OAS’ investigative commission.

Rosselló argued before the OAS commission that the residents of Puerto Rico do not have the right to vote for U.S. president or have a full-fledged representation in Congress, and that the US federal government violates the human and civil rights to the 3.7 million residents of the island.

The United States, responding to Rosselló’s suit, said through its OAS representative, said that the residents of Puerto Rico have “repeatedly” supported the current Commonwealth status through several plebiscites.

“The results of these status votes have not expressed a preference for statehood, the status which will give [Puerto Ricans] the federal right to vote,” said Milton Drucker, deputy US representative to the OAS.

For the popular representative Jorge Colberg Toro the position taken by Drucker represented a “face mask” to the PNP.

But, the resident commissioner in Washington, Pedro Pierluisi, chosen by the pro-statehood new Progressive Party (PNP) disagreed.

“Nothing is going to have more weight in our struggle that the vote of a majority of American citizens residing in Puerto Rico for statehood. It’s time to assume our own responsibility, “said Pierluisi.

According to chief executive of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), Fernando Martín, the position at the OAS is a reaffirmation that the United States recognizes its responsibility to decolonization.

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EL NUEVO DÍA, Puerto Rico’s largest and most widely-read newspaper, released a poll today that concludes that the current administration of Republican pro-statehood Governor Luis Fortuño is being seen as the worst in the island’s history.

The most telling statistic is 31% of voters in Fortuño’s own party, the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP), says that Fortuño’s performance has been “worse” since he was took office in January, 2009. 50% of PNP voters say that Fortuño’s leadership is within expectations.

Governor Luis Fortuño

Facing a possible reelection bid, Fortuño has a tough battle ahead, since 69% of all the island’s unaffiliated voters (the key “swing vote”) say that Fortuño’s performance is worse than expected.

58% of all voters gave the Governor a grade of D or F. 30% of PNP party members gave him a D or an F. The overwhelming majority of 65% of unaffiliated voters awarded Fortuño a D or F. Only 10% of this group rated Fortuño with an A or a B.

When compared to former Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá in May 2007 when it comes to grades of D and F, Fortuño look worse, 58% versus Vila’s 48%.

Secretary of the Interior Supports Fortuño, Blames Previous Governors for “Tsunami”

“There is tremendous frustration. That is what happens when an eight-year that means when a tsunami occurs,” said Puerto Rican Secretary of the Interior Marcos Rodríguez Ema in a radio interview, when asked about the survey results.

Ema Rodríguez also said the Government’s recovery signs are starting to show “little by little,” but people are still pessimistic about the results.

Puerto Rico's Secretary of the Interior Marcos Rodríguez Ema

“People in Puerto Rico traditionally has always been very pessimistic about the future of our island,” said Rodríguez Ema, who accused former Govenors Sila Calderón and Vilá for creating this perception. Both Calderón and Vilá are members of the island’s Popular Democratic Party (PPD)

“If they the [PPD] stayed in power, the government would have been a total failure,” said the owner, noting that the economy and health care have improved with changes made by the Fortuño administration.

Ema Rodríguez also indicated that there is still a year and a half for people to see the changes made by Fortuño.

“It’s better have people in government who know what they are doing than to be governed by people who sank us into tsunami of terror,” he said.

PPD Leader Says Fortuño Government Has Collapsed

Meanwhile, the president of the Partido Popular Democratico (PPD), Héctor Ferrer, told the NotiUno radio station that Fortuño’s government collapsed long ago and people are very clear about it.

“Note that the percentage of those who do not want to share their opinions does not exceed 2%. In other words, people are clear that the government has collapsed,” said Ferrer, referring to the people who abstained when asked what grade they would give Fortuño.

Héctor Ferrer, President of the PPD

“The government collapsed and collapsed in each and one of the issues important to the country. It is a government bus going in reverse,” said Ferrer.

Former Senator Miriam Ramírez de Ferrer of the PNP gave the Fortuño government a C minus.

Former PNP Senator Miriam Ramírez de Ferrer (left)

“The government still cannot deliver, even with all the money it is spending, all the money being spent on advertising and public relations, with all those millions is degrading and that money could have solved many problems in Puerto Rico. I think this figure has already reached a billion dollars with everything. and that the people of Puerto Rico do not realize or feel that things are better, ” Ramírez de Ferrer said in a radio interview.

He added, “I can not agree with someone who thinks that things are good and getting better in Puerto Rico.”

PPD Leadership Says Fortuño is the Worst Governor in Puerto Rican History

In a press release written in Spanish, the PPD leadership said the following: “Luis Fortuño is not a viable candidate (for the elections of 2012) and the remainder of the leadership of the New Progressive Party (PNP) will suffer the consequences of involvement in the thousands of layoffs under the law.”

“Fortuño has become the worst governor in history,” the press release reads.

Regarding the spending of funds for the island’s latest status plebiscite, the group called it “immoral” because thousands of parents and families are without a livelihood on the streets. The funds to support the operational costs and publicity of the plebiscite should be redirected to reinstate the unemployed workers who have been laid off.

“The plebiscite does not obligate anyone and the second round is scheduled as a blackmail to reelect Fortuño, the same one who has fired us from our jobs,” the group concluded.

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The weekend was a busy one for Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood party and its Republican Governor Luis Fortuño. The island’s New Progressive Party, which is led by Fortuño, approved two plebiscites that will determine Puerto Rico’s political status. The first one would be held in late 2011, with the second one to be held in early 2013.

Puerto Rican Republican Governor Luis Fortuño

Inspired by the recommendations of the White House Task Force on Puerto Rico, the PNP would not allow the island’s current Commonwealth status (Estado Libre Asociado, or Associated Free State—also known as the ELA) as an option on the first plebiscite.

“We will file management legislation as recommended on page 28 of the task force established two ballots, the first one between the non-territorial options, statehood, independence and free association, as defined on pages 24, 25 and 26 of the report, “said Fortuño.

Free association is loosely defined as a state that is “a minor partner in a formal, free relationship between a political territory with a degree of statehood and a (usually larger) nation, for which no other specific term, such as a protectorate, is adopted.” All free associated states either are independent or have the potential right to independence. Unlike the ELA, which has a more colonial relationship with the United States, a free associated state is more in line with current thinking of political status, as supported by the United Nations.

The PNP leadership claimed that they are following the White House report faithfully.

“And we will pass legislation at the state level are going to write so that the voting process is a requirement to the President and Congress to resolve this once and for all,” Fortuño said. “We are voting to make a claim the Puerto Rican people.”

The White House report states the following on page 28 (we include part of pages 27 and 29 for more context) of its recommendation:

Two Plebiscites. In response to concerns about the potential for uncertainty that may result from a single plebiscite, many advocates have supported an approach with two plebiscites, the first of which would narrow the options and the second of which would make a final decision.A challenge with any two-tiered plebiscite system is the perception that how the votes are ordered may favor one outcome over others.

H.R.2499, the Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2010, provides for just such a process.It would first require voters to choose between the current political status and a different political status.Under H.R.2499, if a majority voted for the current political status, then a plebiscite would be held every 8 years to see if the electorate has changed its mind.

In the original form of the bill, if a majority voted for a different political status, the people of Puerto Rico would then have another plebiscite to vote on three options: (1) Statehood; (2) Independence; or (3) Free Association.There was criticism that, under H.R.2499 in its original form, if change of status won the first vote but the vote was close, the second vote would not include an option that perhaps 49 percent of the population supported as a first option and an unspecified number believed was the second best option.In part, for this reason, those supporting certain options objected to the bill, and, as a result, it was amended to include a fourth option in the second plebiscite: the current political status.

A second option would be the reverse of the original version of H.R.2499.Under this approach, all of the status options would be included in the first vote, except the current political status.The option that received sufficient votes from the first plebiscite (plurality, majority, or supermajority) would then be paired against the current political status in the second plebiscite.Another variation of this type would have all status options as part of the first plebiscite, with the top two vote-getters being the two options in the second plebiscite.This would effectively operate like a single plebiscite with a runoff, as discussed above.

Another variation of the two plebiscite option is to have a first plebiscite that requires the people of Puerto Rico to choose whether they wish to be part of the United States (either via Statehood or Commonwealth) or wish to be independent (via Independence or Free Association).If continuing to be part of the United States were chosen in the first plebiscite, a second vote would be taken between Statehood and Commonwealth.If independence were selected, a second vote would be taken between full Independence and Free Association.

As noted above, this last variation has certain appeal.To the extent that a core question is whether—given clear and specific information about each option and commitments that the United States would or would not make—the people of Puerto Rico would prefer to remain part of the United States or (as noted below, with their existing citizenship protected) be an independent nation, this approach would address that question directly.

Alternative Voting Systems. To overcome the limitations of a single plebiscite and the criticisms that would attend any of the above ways of managing two plebiscites, one could choose from several other systems of voting rather than a pure one-person, one-vote, one-option approach.The benefit of such systems is that they may provide more information about the will of the people; the drawbacks are that they are complex and require significant voter education.In addition, these systems do not answer the question of how many votes are sufficient to justify a change in status.

One option would be ranked voting, which would allow voters to rank the status options in order of preference.Such an approach would reveal, for example, in a single plebiscite, if a substantial majority of the people put one status option as first or second, whereas another status option was the first choice of a similar number of people, but poorly ranked by the rest of the population.A further step in this regard would be cumulative voting, which could give each voter four votes that could be distributed among several options or dedicated entirely to one; such an approach would reveal the strength of the voters’ views.

Constitutional Convention. Given the uncertainty about the status options and the need for a full debate on these issues on the Island, some advocates have suggested that a constitutional convention is a superior means for reaching resolution on the status question.Constitutional conventions have the advantage of being able to adapt the language of the status options and to allow for a more complete consideration of a variety of subsidiary issues.However, if (as discussed below) congressional legislation commits to honoring the outcome of a determination made by the people of Puerto Rico, the virtues of a constitutional convention are reduced.Any changes made by the constitutional convention to the status options outlined in the legislation could negate the commitment made by the United States, or at least require further congressional action reflecting consent to the changes made.

An additional challenge of a constitutional convention is the selection of delegates for that convention.The Task Force’s outreach indicated that there would be significant disagreement concerning how delegates would be selected.Delegates could be elected, but it is unclear whether such a process would be an improvement on the idea of a plebiscite itself.Some advocates argued that delegates should be selected from a broad swath of Puerto Rican society, with a de-emphasis on political parties.

The most common form of a constitutional convention suggested was one that itself would define the status options, which would then be taken to the people for a popular vote.Under such an approach, the constitutional convention would define the status options (or choose a single option to be presented to the people), develop a process, and draft a ballot, which would then be presented to the people of Puerto Rico, who would vote in a referendum.The constitutional convention could precede a vote of Congress defining the status options or could follow it.If the convention preceded congressional action, the status options defined by the convention could take effect only with congressional approval.If Congress failed to provide such approval, the constitutional convention might need to reconvene to consider other options.If the constitutional convention followed congressional action, the convention could approve the congressionally defined status options or modify them, but any modification would then require further congressional approval.H.R.1230, the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2007, proposed a process that included a constitutional convention.

Because 2012 is a year full electorally in Puerto Rico and the United States, the second query would be left in early 2013 and that would involve the formula that is winning on the first ballot and “territorial status” as described the first executive to the Commonwealth.

The PNP decided to not have the second plebiscite until 2013 because 2012 is a major election year both in the United States (President) and in Puerto Rico (Governor).

As expected, the PNP’s actions created some very strong reactions from the island’s other political groups.

Alejandro García Padilla

The gubernatorial candidate for the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), Alejandro García Padilla, said the intention of excluding the ELA in a vote this year demonstrated the “lack of seriousness and determination on the issue of status.”

He noted that nothing prevents the two plebiscites to be conducted this year, as proposed by the PDP.

“With the President pledging to present the results to Congress, the PNP cannot seriously justify neither the structure nor the separation proposed so wide of the two events,” said García Padilla.

“Just looking to create artificial and false appearance of support for statehood is worthless. And to postpone the second vote for the next two years, the Governor seeks only to remove the President and to wait to see if there is a change of government in the United States to return to the crooked ways of the past. The Popular Party strongly rejects the decision of the board of the PNP as an insult to Puerto Ricans who want this settled now and as a rebuke to a president who is committed to address this issue, “said the gubernatorial candidate.

Earlier today, García Padilla sounded more determined when he said the following at a PPD press conference: “The PPD will not stand idly by, we’re going to expose here and in Washington. The PNP has positioned itself as the party of tricks and deceptions.”

PPD Senator Eduardo Bhatia

PPD Senator Eduardo Bhatia was very clear when saying that the PNP’s intentions to include the current ELA as a option is “illegitimate, anti-democratic, and has no validity.”

“The United States, since Congress and the White House and the people of Puerto Rico have been emphatic that the Commonwealth [ELA] must be included in any process of self-determination. Democracy can not be a half democracy, without all the options there is no democracy, “said Bhatia.

Julio Fontanet, the former president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association and spokesman for the United Sovereignty Movement (MUS) , focused on the political reality that the PNP is facing in the 2012 elections

“They are doing this process on the premise that their option will prevail in this first round, perhaps with the hope that it will strengthen their party in 2012 because they anticipate a big defeat, and that’s why they put the second round after the election,” said Fontanet.

Fernando Martin, President of the Puerto Rican Independence Party

As for comments from the island’s Independence Party (PIP), Fernando Martin, the PIP’s executive president, said the following:

“It is clear that this decision is a politically motivated move which is not intended or will result in accelerating the decolonization of Puerto Rico and it is being made by the New Progressive Party (NPP) to create an electoral advantage for the upcoming elections.”

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While Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño still has not commented about the remarks made by Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez that compared Fortuño’s activities to that of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, another pro-statehood student association published an open letter to Gutiérrez.

February 16th, 2011

Hon. Luis Gutierrez

2266 Rayburn House Office Building

United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Gutierrez,

Today, you stood up to denounce the Government of Puerto Rico and its response to violent student protests. You also used the opportunity to address resting issues such as the Puerto Rico Bar Association and the elimination of its compulsory membership fees. You are widely regarded as a fearless champion for causes such as immigration reform, where I must admit that I stand with you. In fact, I stand with you on nearly every single controversial issue.

However, it troubles me that you insist on venturing into issues pertaining to Puerto Rico and the state of affairs there. As a member of Congress, you have consistently spoken against the people of Puerto Rico, rather than with them. You have opposed the government they elected, the political status option they prefer, and today you seemed appalled that its highest court would refuse to acknowledge a fictional right to strike.

As you spoke next to a large portrait of one of our most distinguished jurists, you spewed gross misinformation about the ongoing student protests in the University of Puerto Rico. For one, you said the right to free speech was being abridged. I would ask you to say whether the right to destroy public and private property has ever been gathered from the First Amendment. Maybe there is a United States Supreme Court ruling that protects the right to attack police officers. I am certainly not a constitutional expert, at least not yet, but I do not believe those rights are there. Neither is the student body’s right to strike in our Constitution or the U.S. Constitution. I do not believe there is a single state in the Union that acknowledges that right.

Since you are so concerned about the protection of the First Amendment, there is one U.S. Supreme Court decision that I think is very relevant to your argument. In Keller v. State Bar of California (1990), the Court voted unanimously to oppose the use of a state bar’s collected dues to finance its political and ideological activities. As far as I know, the State Bar of California is far from dismantled. Again, I fail to see how the Government of Puerto Rico acted in a way that was so anathema to the laws and rights guaranteed by our great nation.

I know you care about my Island as much as I do; that you only want what’s best for its people. Therefore, it would be negligent of me to miss this opportunity to make an all-too-familiar appeal. Stop obstructing Puerto Rico’s self-determination and allow us to vote on our political status. And if we choose statehood, please stand aside and allow us to enjoy the rights you so fiercely demanded in your speech today.


Eduardo J. Soto


The Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association

As with a previous letter we published by an anti-UPR-strike organization, we have several questions for Mr. Soto and we hope he can reach out to us to answer them. Here are just a few questions we would like to ask him:

  • Representative Gutiérrez is Puerto Rican and like most Puerto Ricans we know, he has opinions about the island. Are you implying by this letter that Rep. Gutiérrez does not have the right to freely express his opinions about Puerto Rico just because you do not agree with him?
  • The current status of The Puerto Rican Democracy Act is with the Senate, and not the House of Representatives. Even though Rep. Guitérrez did not support the act, it still passed the House. Why are you saying that Rep. Guitiérrez is obstructing Puerto Ricans’ right to self-determination? Shouldn’t you be lobbying the US Senate instead?
  • You write as if the act has already passed the Senate. Are you also aware that this Act is a non-binding resolution and Puerto Rico is still at the mercy of the US Congress, no matter what option it chooses, assuming there will even be a vote?
  • As for your claims that the UPR students do not have a right to protest and strike, the Constitution is contradictory between Amendment 1 and 2. Have you read the Constitution of the United States?
  • Have you done research about Constitutional law or do you like to draft political rhetoric to make your point?

We are here to interview you any time you like.

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There are facts and then there is political reality. As Americans, we are very well aware that all the facts in the world will never suppress politics. In the end the perception that politics create always wins. I won’t go into examples to prove this, since American politics has several of them, with Madison, Wisconsin being the most current manifestation of this.

Americans will never accept a flag with 51 stars in it

So my attention now turns to the Puerto Rico Democracy Act, H.R. 2499, which was passed by the US House of Representatives last April. As a Puerto Rican-born American citizen, this issue is dear to my heart, and I plan to cover it in my blog because it speaks to issues of self-determination, government, and Puerto Rican identity—a paradox to say the least.

Last night, I presented my reasons as to why the US colony of Puerto Rico will never become the 51st state. As I suspected, the charges of me being a tool of the Castro regime and a Puerto Rican socialist infiltrator started appearing in my Twitter stream and in the places where I share my blogs on Facebook, since I did make it a point to post the blog on several pages covering Puerto Rican politics, such as the Puerto Rico Libre page. The admins of that page also shared it with other pro-statehood pages, such as the one that promotes the Puerto Rican Statehood Party. On these pro-statehood pages, it is common that if you post, you start getting called names like communists and socialists. Sound familiar, anyone? Yes, pro-statehooders like to drink their tea, too.

Nonetheless, I did come across a Facebook note that many pro-statehood groups shared called Facts Supporting Statehood. The note lists 12 “facts” that conclude why statehood for Puerto Rico is the one and only option for the island. But like I said, there are facts, and there is political reality. Here is my analysis of each point. (EDITOR’S NOTE: I did not edit any of the notes facts and have run them as they appear in the Facebook note, even with its stylistic errors in English grammar.)


The New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico, promoting Statehood, Security, and Progress

FACT 1: “Statehood applies the full Constitution of the USA, giving full rights to the US Citizens residing in Puerto Rico.”
REALITY 1: The current act, as worded, is a non-binding resolution, meaning that even if Puerto Ricans do indeed chose statehood, the US government can still deny them this right.

FACT 2: “The States of the Union have their US Citizenship and keep their State Identity, so we would never stop being Puerto Ricans. It’s like people born in Texas are Texans, people born in New York are New Yorkers, people born in California are Californians, people born in Washington are Washingtonians, people born in Hawaii are Hawaiians, people born in Alaska are Alaskans and so on, and they’re all US Citizens. The same way, we can continue being Puerto Ricans and US Citizens just like now (but having the full rights of the Citizenship when we step in the islands of Puerto Rico). Also, the States even keep their State Flag and Anthems (so we won’t loose our flag nor our anthem either).”
REALITY 2: Last time I checked, Puerto Ricans have their own culture and traditions, formed by 500 years of Spanish, Latin American, African, indigenous, and American influence. I highly doubt that Washingtonian culture is on the same level as Puerto Rican culture. Never mind those strong cultures and identities of states like Delaware, Rhode Island, North Dakota, and Idaho. The reality is that Puerto Ricans will lose their cultural connections in time if it were to become a state. As for Texas? Heck, last time I heard, Texas was to secede from the Union. But what about the state flags and anthems? Sure, states have flags but do they have state anthems? Quick, tell me the state anthem of Massachusetts. Maybe it’s this one by the Dropkick Murphys?

FACT 3: “The USA is a union of various cultures and nationalities with the purpose of defense and common currency for the wellbeing and greater good of their citizens. The USA has no official language, nor official culture because the language and culture is decided and protected by each State, not by the union. Therefore, we won’t loose our Spanish Language nor our Puerto Rican culture. Our two official languages already are: English and Spanish. Just like the State of New Mexico has English and Spanish, Louisiana has English, Spanish and French, California has English and Spanish, Hawaii has English and Hawaiian, and so on, as official languages. The issues of language and culture are local State matters and responsibilities, NOT Federal.”
REALITY 3: The whole culture thing is being called into question these days, especially with laws being passed in places like Arizona that are seen as anti-Latino. As for English being the official language of the United States, the U.S. English movement based out of Washington has been pumping money into achieving their goals. New Mexico and Louisiana are the only official bilingual states in the Union, so claims that California has English and Spanish as official languages is FALSE. As for Hawaii, their Constitution states: “English and Hawaiian shall be the official languages of Hawaii, except that Hawaiian shall be required for public acts and transactions only as provided by law.” And where is the “and so on?” Last time we checked, 28 states have official English laws and more are coming.

FACT 4: “Some people say Congress won’t allow PR to become a State because Puerto Ricans mostly speak Spanish than English, and we descend only from Spaniards, Tainos, and Africans. It is FALSE to say Puerto Rican blood is only of Taínos, Spaniards, and Africans ( thanks to the “Royal Decree of Graces” promoted by Spain during it’s Imperial Rule in PR ). The truth is that the ethnic origin is not a requisite to become a State, and nowhere in the US Constitution states that Statehood is only acceptable for territories of Caucasian origin. For example, the State of Florida was a territory of Hispanic population in 1821 when it became a State. In 1911, Arizona was admitted to the Union having a majority of indigenous population. And the same happened to the States that were Mexican territories before.”
REALITY 4: Caucasian origin? I don’t get that. But nonetheless, let’s ignore that one and focus on the reality: The states that were Mexican territories became states AFTER the U.S. defeated Mexico. But let’s follow the logic in Fact 4 and focus on Arizona: the territory was given to the US after the win over Mexico, Arizona declared independence, American troops took Arizona back and eventually it became a state in the early 1900s. Arizona became a state for economic reasons and because the US needed its resources. What does Puerto Rico have to offer to the US in the 21st century? PS: Arizona is having its own Latino issues right now.

FACT 5: “Some people say that Congress won’t give Statehood to Puerto Rico because ‘if they wanted so, they would’ve given us Statehood over a century ago’. The truth is that we don’t have Statehood (or Independence) because Puerto Ricans have elected to maintain the current Commonwealth Status. It is our responsibility to make the first decision to change our status and then Congress shall make a decision based on the decision made by the majority of the residents in Puerto Rico. That is democracy. If Congress or the President impose Statehood or Independence not counting with the support of Puerto Rico’s population that would be and act of dictatorship, against their own Constitution. Fortunately, the USA is a nation of democracy and they respect our decisions on whatever we want to be. Also, our last three presidents publicly said that they personally support Statehood for Puerto Rico, but it is up to our people to demand it and they’ll respect whatever our decision is. The Congress shall approve our petition, and in case they ignore it, we can proceed with the Tennessee Plan by which we would get Statehood anyways, just like happened with Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, and Alaska.”
REALITY 5: Basically what the pro-statehooders are saying is that even if Congress does not agree, Puerto Rico could bypass the will of the US Congress and institute a Tennessee Plan that was developed in the mid-19th century. Without getting into much specifics, Puerto Rico, if it did choose statehood in the next plebiscite, would in fact not need approval from Congress and would force the US government of the 21st century to make it part of the Union. Do you really think that the current Republican leadership and the Tea Party populist organizations would allow for a bunch of Latinos to overrule the US Congress? Pause for a minute and think about that. Have you absorbed that. For this point, I have to agree with Glenn Beck, which is almost never. Hit it, Glenn.

FACT 6: “Our economy won’t be any worse with Statehood. And taxes we would pay as a state would be almost the same of what we pay for I.R.S. under our current system. Sales Tax is only paid at State Level, not Federal Level, which means Sales Tax would rely on our local government. There’s no such thing as Federal Sales Tax.”
REALITY 6: For this one, I turn to my current state of Taxassuchetts. Massachusetts is like a lot of states: not only do you pay state taxes, you also pay federal taxes. And what about New York City, where you pay city taxes as well as state and federal taxes. Guess what? If Puerto Rico becomes a state and finds a revenue shortage, what do you think politicians will do? You got it. Raise state taxes. Welcome to the reality.

FACT 7: “Puerto Rico contributes to the nation in military service more than 25 States and all of the US Territories. According to the Department of Defense, PR is amongst the first 15 States and all US Territories recruiting soldiers.”
REALITY 7: So, wait a minute, pro-statehooders want Puerto Ricans to become a state so we can send more soldiers into the armed forces and possible more armed conflicts? Have you read about the reason why Puerto Ricans became US citizens in 1917? Yes, the US was about to enter World War I and needed fresh recruits. Here’s a great idea, instead of sending our own, let’s make Puerto Ricans US citizens.

FACT 8: “If Puerto Rico becomes a State, according to a study of the University of Stanford, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) will triplicate, because Puerto Rico would adquire some constitutional powers that would benefit our state and our citizenship, a power only States have. Today, Puerto Rico’s GDP is even lower than the poorest State of the USA (Mississippi) because of its territorial condition.”
REALITY 8: In this economy, pro-statehooders are saying that the island’s GDP would triple if it were to become a state. Have they read what the Lexington Institute is saying about the financial impact of Puerto Rico as it becomes a state? Here is a quote from their findings:

Puerto Rico, which received $18 billion in direct federal expenditures in FY08, has a population with a median national income of $17,741, nearly a third below that for the United States. While eligibility for many major federal social programs is the same in both jurisdictions, others, like the Food Stamp Program, including different eligibility requirements. This would like result in increased federal expenditures should statehood be achieved, but a lack of comparable data makes cost projections for such changes difficult.

What would be the potential costs and implications should statehood for Puerto Rico result in establishing a Canadian-style system of bilingualism in the United States? Through a series of calculations and estimates, this report arrives at a projected total cost of $25.661 billion, or $85 per American.

That doesn’t sound like tripling the GDP of Puerto Rico to me.

FACT 9: By becoming a State, we would have the right to elect 2 Senators for the Senate of the USA, and a number of Representatives that will be determinated according to our population density in order to have a well balanced representation of our citizenship.

US Constitution, 1st Ammendment, Section 2: “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

(Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.) (The previous sentence in parentheses was modified by the 14th Amendment, section 2.) The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five and Georgia three.

US Constitution, 1st Ammendment, Section 3: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, (chosen by the Legislature thereof,) (The preceding words in parentheses superseded by 17th Amendment, section 1.) for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote….”
REALITY 9: This one rankles Republicans in Washington and beyond. I will let a Republican explain the reality of this one:

Yeah, Republicans would love the opportunity to have 2 more Democratic senators and 6 more Democratic congressman. Hey, add a Socialist or Independentista in once a while too.

FACT 10: We won’t loose our sovereignty. Each State of the Union is sovereign of itself, just like an independent republic, with the difference that our sovereignty would be covered and protected by the US Constitution which gives us the right of democracy and to be free citizens. Our sovereignty would be represented in Congress by our Representatives, Senators, and speakers in the White House, and we would also have right to elect our President and our State Governor.
REALITY 10: I believe there was a thing called The Civil War 150 years ago? Yeah, try to be an independent state in the US these days. Umm, that is not a great place to explore. Just look at Texas.

Pedro Albizu Campos

FACT 11: “Thousands of Puerto Ricans have given their lives defending the USA, our country, and thus Puerto Rico itself, in battlefield as US Citizens since 1899. Many of our soldiers demand Statehood for Puerto Rico . Also, many Puerto Ricans have worked and many still work in NASA, and have even gone to space as US Citizens.”
REALITY 11: Kind of repeating a previous fact, but we will not bring that up. Also, last time we checked Puerto Ricans became citizens in 1917 and not 1899. And yes, not all Puerto Rican soldiers supported statehood. Take Pedro Albizu Campos, the father of the Puerto Rican Independence movement. He was a US war veteran. No statehood support from him. Also, knowing that there is a strong NASA contingent of Puerto Ricans is comforting to know. Last time I checked NASA is having its own problems with the current government budget.

FACT 12: “Over a million of Puerto Ricans live in the states. Even a Puerto Rican descendant have become justice of the Supreme Court of the USA (Sonia Sotomayor). The 1st Hispanic and 3rd female justice of the Supreme Court of the USA. Our governor Luis G. Fortuño, born in Puerto Rico, has been elected President of the Council of State Governments. We are taking high roles in the nation today. Even a Puerto Rican have the possibility of becoming President of the United States of America if we reside in a current state for a certain period of time, but if Puerto Rico were a State, we wouldn’t have to move to another State to get that possibility.”
REALITY 12: A few things: first of all, the last thing the pro-statehooders want is to have Puerto Rican-born citizens vote in the plebiscite. It is very likely that mainlaind Puerto Ricans will vote for anything BUT statehood since they see Puerto Rico with romance and nostalgia. Think of the American Irish and Northern Ireland issue, or the Cuban exiles in Miami and Cuba. Also, sure, I am proud of Justice Sotomayor, but did you guys see the hearings? Do you think Republicans who voted against here were thrilled that she was Latina? And a Puerto Rican President? Huh? Certain US citizens call President Obama a socialist and a communist, imagine a Latino president? As for Governor Fortuño, being part of that Council of State Governments is really a powerful move. In the US. the federal government rules the country, and not a bunch of governors. Poll Americans about that organization and you will get blank stares.

So, to the pro-statehooders, keep sharing your facts and twisting the truth. But in the end, politics will push you aside.

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