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Posts Tagged ‘Political status’


Good to see Florida Senator Marco Rubio commenting about the upcoming November plebiscite question in Puerto Rico. Sure, Rubio, who is of Cuban American descent, represents the state of Florida, which has seen an increase in voters of Puerto Rican descent the last few years, so it makes sense that he would weigh on the island’s non-binding vote to determine its political identity (statehood, independence or enhanced commonwealth). However, Rubio’s opinion reflects what most of the US Congress and President Obama is saying: the final decision by Puerto Ricans on the island has to be a clear majority, whatever that means. Just for reference, the 1958 statehood vote by Alaska won by a 6 to 1 margin, although only about 46,000 voted in Alaska. In 1959, Hawaii gained a 94% voted for statehood. Ironically, the one person who is pushing for a binding resolution of the status question is GOP front-runner Mitt Romney.

This is what a report from Caribbean Business chronicled about Rubio’s comments:

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a rising star in the Republican Party and potential vice presidential pick, has broken ranks with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney over the issue off Puerto Rico statehood.

Rubio said in an interview that 50 percent plus one vote in a status plebiscite isn’t enough to put Puerto Rico on the path to become the 51st state.

“It doesn’t have to be 100 percent, nor 90 percent, but it cannot be, to say a figure, 51 percent of the votes,” Rubio reportedly told a local newspaper.

That puts the Cuban-American lawmaker, often mentioned as a vice presidential running mate for Romney, at odds with the former Massachusetts governor on statehood.

Romney has pledged to support statehood for the island if that option wins the Nov. 6 referendum on Puerto Rico’s political status, saying a simple majority at the polls should be enough.

The position taken by Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, actually puts him on the same page as Democratic President Barack Obama when it comes to statehood for Puerto Rico.

Right now, polls on the island show a virtual dead heat between enhanced commonwealth and statehood. It is highly doubtful that either option enters Hawaii or Alaska numbers, and in the end, the US Congress will still have final say. So, after 114 years of a complex (and colonial) relationship with the United States, Puerto Rico looks like it will still be stuck in the status quo.

One thing all Puerto Ricans, both on the island and the mainland, should agree on is that the upcoming plebiscite needs to be BINDING.

If you agree, let your elected officials know by visiting their official Congressional pages.

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The Miami Herald just reported the following statement from the Boston campaign office of GOP candidate Mitt Romney:

Puerto Rican Republican Governor Luis Fortuño

“It is an honor to have Governor Fortuño’s support,” said Mitt Romney.  “As president, I look forward to working with Governor Fortuño on the issues most pressing for the people of Puerto Rico – job creation, public safety and resolving the Island’s 113-year political status question.  Every job created on the Island is another American job added to our nation’s economic comeback.  Working together to continue Puerto Rico’s economic recovery will ensure Puerto Rico is part of the United States’ economic revitalization.  By implementing pro-growth policies that promote job creation, we can help Puerto Rico and the rest of the country.   We must also commit ourselves to stopping drug trafficking into Puerto Rico as a priority of the Federal Government and the required resources need to be assigned.  I will never neglect the U.S. Caribbean border and will continue to support strong trade and economic opportunity, and robust border security. In addition, I pledge to work with Congress to help the American citizens residing in Puerto Rico resolve their century-long status issue by choosing from the constitutionally-viable status options.  I look forward to working with Governor Fortuño on these issues as well as many other issues.”

“It is an honor to have Governor Fortuño’s support,” said Mitt Romney.  “As president, I look forward to working with Governor Fortuño on the issues most pressing for the people of Puerto Rico – job creation, public safety and resolving the Island’s 113-year political status question.  Every job created on the Island is another American job added to our nation’s economic comeback.  Working together to continue Puerto Rico’s economic recovery will ensure Puerto Rico is part of the United States’ economic revitalization.  By implementing pro-growth policies that promote job creation, we can help Puerto Rico and the rest of the country.   We must also commit ourselves to stopping drug trafficking into Puerto Rico as a priority of the Federal Government and the required resources need to be assigned.  I will never neglect the U.S. Caribbean border and will continue to support strong trade and economic opportunity, and robust border security. In addition, I pledge to work with Congress to help the American citizens residing in Puerto Rico resolve their century-long status issue by choosing from the constitutionally-viable status options.  I look forward to working with Governor Fortuño on these issues as well as many other issues.”

Announcing his support, Governor Fortuño said, “Mitt Romney is the one candidate who has the record, leadership, experience, and pro-growth plan to continue the course of private-sector job creation we’ve begun in Puerto Rico and provide economic stability for generations.  Mitt Romney has shown throughout his life that the principles learned in the private sector can be applied to all challenges, whether it was saving the 2002 Olympics or balancing the budget as Governor.”

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Read and sign the petition to Pass a Revised Puerto Rican Democracy Act here.

The time for games and votes that don’t matter are over. If the United States is truly serious about practicing the democratic principles it tries to spread all over the world, it must finally formally answer the Puerto Rican question. Next year will be the 114th anniversary of this paradoxical and colonial relationship. Five generations of Puerto Ricans have unsuccessfully resolved the issue of the island’s political status. Without this happening, Puerto Rico will continue to be a country in economic, social, and political limbo.

If you believe (no matter your opinion of what path Puerto Rico should take as a country) that President Obama and the US Congress are obligated to make the next plebiscite binding and formally recognize the will of its own citizens, please consider singing the following petition which is being address to ALL the members of the US House of Representative, the US Senate, and President Obama.

Read and sign the petition to Pass a Revised Puerto Rican Democracy Act here.

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