NR – La Super-Mayoría a favor de la Estadidad demuestra claramente la decisión del Pueblo de Puerto Rico. El que se oponga es por caprichos con falsedades. Si AGP no cumple, cuando jure sera un delincuente que no merecerá el respeto de nadie y no podara gobernar. Fueron los mismos votos, AGP legitimo el Plebiscito haciendo campana y votando.
Longing to be American VOTERS may have voted for more of the same in America on election day, but in Puerto Rico they opted for decisive change. In a two-stage plebiscite—the island’s fourth referendum regarding its relationship with the United States—54% of the electorate voted to change Puerto Rico’s current status as a self-governing “commonwealth”, and 61% wanted the new form of government to be full American statehood. It was the first time a majority of boricuas, as the islanders are known, has voted to become the 51st state. In both the last two plebiscites, held in 1993 and 1998, only 47% chose that option.The United States gained control of Puerto Rico in 1898, following the Spanish-American War. Puerto Rico set up its own government in 1952, and its residents do not pay federal income taxes to Washington on their local earnings.BENEFICIOS DE LA ESTADIDAD
Nonetheless, it is still effectively a colony: boricuas are subject to American law even though they cannot vote for president or Congress.Puerto Ricans broadly agree on their preferred status: in a 1967 referendum, 60% voted for a commonwealth they were told would be gradually enhanced. In this scheme, they would keep their American citizenship, currency, defence and tax exemptions, But they would also receive long-sought-after improvements, possibly including a “compact” making their relationship with the United States permanent. They might also gain the right to control immigration, sign treaties, act independently in international groups and choose which federal laws (such as the minimum wage) would apply to them.Unfortunately, this proposal is legally flawed. According to Christina Duffy Ponsa of Columbia Law School the only permanent way of belonging to the United States is through statehood. Any other status approved by one Congress could be revoked later. Similarly, Congress could exempt Puerto Rico from any given law, but could not let the island exclude itself from federal legislation at will.
A presidential task force has concluded that the only permissible status options are statehood, free association, continuation of the current commonwealth status or independence.As a result, when the ruling pro-statehood party won a legislative vote last year to hold a new referendum, it did not put “enhanced commonwealth” on the ballot. Residents were first asked whether to continue with the current arrangement, and then what other form of government they would prefer: statehood, independence or “sovereign free association”, a voluntary, reversible collaboration with the United States that has been adopted by some Pacific island groups. Supporters of the status quo could choose a second-best option, but many left the second question blank.Support for statehood has increased over the years, as ties between the island and the mainland grow closer.
There are now more boricuas in the continental United States than in Puerto Rico itself, and American film, television and sports have gained popularity. Moreover, because of the Earned Income Tax Credit, a cash-transfer scheme for the working poor, many Puerto Ricans would gain more than they lose by becoming subject to federal income tax. But even among the rich and among Puerto Ricans without close links to the rest of the United States, the framing of the question ensured that statehood would prevail among the options for change. Both independence and sovereign free association would have put the islanders’ American citizenship at risk.
The vote will not have immediate consequences. Congress would have to pass a law admitting Puerto Rico for it to become a state. With a fiscal squeeze looming at the start of 2013 lawmakers will have their hands full in the coming months. And the island’s government is unlikely to push the issue aggressively following the election as governor of Alejandro García Padilla, who supports a continued commonwealth.Moreover, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has little incentive to address the topic. According to exit polls, 83% of boricuas on the mainland voted for Barack Obama. Statehood would add two Senate seats and a House delegation of five, the same size as Oregon’s and probably as reliably Democratic.
Unless the island holds another vote that yields a different result, however, Puerto Rico has now officially requested statehood. If Democrats retake the House in 2014, they would be well-advised to try to add a 51st star to the flag. CONFIDENTIALITY NOTE: This communication contains information belonging to Alfonso Fernández, Jr. Esq. which is confidential and/or legally privileged. The information is intended only for the use of the individual or entity named above. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution or the taking of any action in reliance on the contents of said information is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication by error, please delete it from your computer and notify us immediately.
Ever since the United States invaded Puerto Rico in 1898 and then was handed the island by Spain as part of the settlement for the Spanish-American War, the island’s people — American citizens since the passage of the Jones Act in 1917 — have been continuously put in situations where they are simultaneously auditioning for statehood, agitating for independence, and making the very best of living in limbo.
Despite what my name suggests, I am Puerto Rican. I grew up with a mother from the island and a Scots-Irish father in a small town in rural North Carolina, at a time when there were so few Hispanics in the area that my mom liked to go to a Mexican restaurant just to speak some Spanish. That was 20-odd years ago. The local Latino population has grown so much since then that my mom, who retired two years ago, was able to work for a decade as a translator for the local school system.
I was used to being “discovered” as Puerto Rican. Sometimes when this happened, I’d be called upon to explain things. In fourth grade, that meant being assigned to give the class — half black kids, and half white kids — a show-and-tell presentation on Puerto Rico and its strange status as a self-ruling commonwealth, with its own governor and legislature, the American president as its head of state, but whose residents lack a vote in national presidential elections or voting representation in Congress despite being American citizens.
I was asked, “Do you eat a lot of tacos?” The answer, “Probably not any more than you do.” I was also asked, by one of the two dark-haired girls that I had a crush on, this one a doctor’s daughter, “Why don’t we just sell it?”
Even fourth graders can be left speechless. It later occurred to me that I should have answered: “You can’t just sell it. It’s not your beach house!”
If Puerto Rico were our beach house, we’d pay more attention to it.
It has long been conventional wisdom among many Puerto Ricans that the status quo will hold because neither of the American national parties has decided that converting the island into a state would benefit them politically. Paired with this is the conventional wisdom that the Republican Party doesn’t actually want nearly four million more Hispanic voters, and their corresponding electoral votes, at play in national elections. (Both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum did pronounce themselves pro-statehood when courting votes — and fund-raising dollars — on the island during last year’s Republican primaries.)
When Spain granted Puerto Rico to the United States in 1898, President William McKinley initiated a project that he defined as “benevolent assimilation” on an island filled with people who already had a strong identity of their own and who, of course, primarily spoke Spanish.
Some of the same people who had resisted rule by Spain, and who had even achieved an extremely brief autonomy — nine months — for the island before the American Navy’s arrival, continued to resist rule by the United States. Among them was a family member — the poet, journalist and statesman Luis Muñoz Rivera. It was during the Spanish reign that he had written, “Annexionism had always seemed to me absurd, depressing and inconceivable.” Though Mr. Muñoz Rivera continued to make the case for autonomy, he was also essential in the creation of some useful accommodations to American rule, like the Jones Act.
Luis Muñoz Rivera’s son, Luis Muñoz Marín, was the first democratically elected governor of Puerto Rico — and my grandmother’s first cousin. He was also a poet and a journalist, and collaborated closely with the United States Congress to have the island declared a commonwealth in 1952. I often think of two lines from his poetry, “I have broken the rainbow across my heart/as one breaks a useless sword against a knee,” especially when I encounter idealists who have summoned the will to force large, dramatic, practical accomplishments.
In 1949, Mr. Muñoz Marín told American officials, less poetically, that Puerto Rico was looking for “a new kind of statehood,” and that matters were evolving “more like phonetics develop than like Esperanto is constructed.”
And this story of language and its confusions continues. The Nov. 6 referendum consisted of two parts, the first of which requested a yes-or-no vote on the question “Do you agree that Puerto Rico should continue to have its present form of territorial status?” The second part instructed voters to “please mark which of the following nonterritorial options would you prefer.” Three choices were offered; statehood, independence or “sovereign free associated state.”
Each option had a definition attached to it, in both Spanish and English, and an icon associated with it: the number 51 emblazoned on a star, the word “libre” framed by a map of the island, and the silhouette of a gray kingbird, respectively. Statehood and independence are familiar concepts, but it’s worth quoting the definition of the less familiar sovereign free associated state: “Puerto Rico should adopt a status outside of the Territory Clause of the Constitution of the United States that recognizes the sovereignty of the people of Puerto Rico,” the ballot explained, “based on a free and voluntary political association, the specific terms of which shall be agreed upon between the United States and Puerto Rico as sovereign nations.”
On the first part of the plebiscite, 54 percent of those who voted disagreed with the “present form of territorial status.” On the second, 61 percent voted for statehood, 5 percent for independence, and 33 percent for sovereign free associated state. The current commonwealth status was not listed as an option.
Enough voters left the second part blank — some as a protest against the exclusion of the commonwealth option — that one could credibly argue that only 45 percent of the people voted for statehood. Indeed, a recent article in The Hill quoted an unnamed Capitol Hill staff member as saying that some in Congress considered the 61 percent vote for statehood to be a “statistical fiction.”
This is a common attitude in Puerto Rico as well. My cousin Vicky in San Juan — a politically sophisticated liberal and a good-humored pro-commonwealth patriot — called the plebiscite “una trampa” (a trap). In Vicky’s view — and many others’ — the departing governor, Luis Fortuño, who is pro-statehood, put the plebiscite on the ballot in an effort to draw his voters to the polls.
PEDRO Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner, who acts as the island’s representative to the executive branch and in Congress — where he can vote in committee, though not on the House floor — says that action is needed.
On Nov. 14, he gave a speech on the House floor offering a compelling defense of both the process and the results of the Nov. 6 plebiscite. Mr. Pierluisi, who is pro-statehood, correctly called the island’s current status “colonial in nature” and made a forceful argument against those who would dismiss the election’s outcome. “Some wish to downplay the results of the plebiscite by citing the voters who left the second question blank, but this argument does not withstand scrutiny,” he said. “In our democracy, outcomes are determined by ballots properly cast. Power rests with the citizen who votes, not the one who stays home or refuses to choose from among the options provided.”
I had a long conversation with Mr. Pierluisi the day after he spoke on the House floor. He insists that either Congress or the Obama administration should respect the plebiscite and take action — perhaps by creating another, improved plebiscite that includes both the current commonwealth status as an option, and clearer, fuller explanations of what the alternatives would mean.
He hopes public pressure, including from other Hispanic voters, and possibly international prodding, encourages Congress or the White House to act. “If Congress doesn’t do anything with this,” he told me, “I don’t rule out going to the United Nations or the Organization of American States.” Mr. Pierluisi won’t do so immediately, he said, “because I have to believe in Congress doing its job.”
One of Luis Muñoz Rivera’s best-known poems, “Paréntesis,” ends: “I will not fall; but if I were to fall, amid the roar/ will tumble down, blessing/ the cause in which I melted my entire life;/ my face always turned to my past/ and, like a good soldier,/ wrapped in a shred of my flag.”
Puerto Rico’s history still exists in Mr. Muñoz Rivera’s parenthesis. And I don’t think we’re doing any better in a national discussion about Puerto Rico than we were doing in Mrs. Grant’s fourth grade class.
The congressman is right. American citizens — the people of Puerto Rico — have spoken. They deserve another, clearer, definitive ballot — and soon.
Once those results are in, let’s all figure out what to do about it.
David Royston Patterson is a literary agent at Foundry Literary + Media in New York.
Puerto Rico should become the 51st state
Published 9:29am Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Column: Pothole Prairie, by Tim Engstrom
Here’s a news item from the Nov. 6 general election that probably went unnoticed up here in Minnesota: A majority of voters in the territory of Puerto Rico favored becoming America’s 51st state.
A two-part referendum asked Puerto Ricans whether they want to change their 114-year-old status as a territory, and 54 percent were in favor with 46 percent opposed.
The second part asked them to pick three options: statehood, independence or greater territorial autonomy. Statehood garnered 61 percent.
The referendum, however, was non-binding, and it is unlikely that the divided Congress will begin admitting the island to the union anytime soon. For the Republican-controlled House, approving statehood for Puerto Rico would be like handing electoral votes and seats in Congress over to the Democrats. The political parties on the island are really just different shades on the left side of the political spectrum. There isn’t much of a right wing.
It’s the same political split that prevents Democratic-dominated District of Columbia from getting a voting member of Congress. The district does get three Electoral College votes in presidential elections but does not have a senator or representative in Congress. D.C. almost got a representative in 2009. The plan was to add two members to Congress, with one in D.C. and another among the 50 states that would’ve ended up in presumably conservative Utah. The deal failed, so the U.S. House of Representatives remains at 435 members.
That’s why the license plates of automobiles registered in the District of Columbia say, “Taxation without representation.” They pay federal taxes like anyone who lives anywhere else, but the only representation they have in the federal government is in the executive branch. As you know, federal taxes originate in the legislative branch.
Presently, residents of Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens who cannot vote in presidential elections, have no one representing them in Congress and do not pay federal taxes, which avoids the taxation-without-representation issue. The territory, nevertheless, is subject to U.S. rule. In the 1951 it was allowed to have autonomy over its internal affairs, so it has an elected governor and a bicameral Legislative Assembly.
The push for statehood passed earlier this month after similar efforts failed in 1967, 1993 and 1998 because voters feel becoming a state would bring more jobs to the Caribbean island, pundits said.
In fact, many Puerto Ricans have moved to the mainland United States. The island has suffered population loss, and most — yes, most, something like 54 percent now — Puerto Ricans no longer live in Puerto Rico. The ones who move away gain full voting rights when they become residents of a state.
I’ve been to Puerto Rico twice. The name means Rich Port. People there also call it La Isla del Encanto, (the Island of Enchantment) similar to how we call Minnesota the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
I was there for a week as part of an Army exercise in 1990 called Ocean Venture, and I returned in 2004 with my new bride. Our honeymoon cruise began and ended in San Juan, the capital. I also served in the Army with many Puerto Ricans, and they were proud of being from the place but — like my rural hometown in Iowa — everyone they knew was moving away.
I wish the issues of congressional seats and electoral votes weren’t in the way of making Puerto Rico a state. Expanding jobs is a big deal, and being a state could help. It’s silly that politics gets in the way.
Besides, the place seems like it should be a state anyway. It has its own flair, like any state does, but it also has American traditions like baseball, elected government, political speech, capitalistic beliefs and cherished rights and liberties. There are Puerto Ricans all over our pop culture, from Jose Feliciano to Jennifer Lopez and from Joaquin Phoenix to Jimmy Smits.
We’ll see what happens in 2014, but I would bet that before 2022, our country has 51 states.
This compilation incorporates sections, shown in italics
, from Mulford Winsor’sArizona’s Way to Statehood
(Phoenix, AZ: n.p., 1945 (reprint, Arizona Secretary of State, n.d.); AZDocs No.: SS 1.2:S 71). The Honorable Mulford Winsor
(1874-1956) was a delegate to the Arizona Constitutional Convention of 1910 and was elected to the Arizona State Senate five times. He also served as Director of the Department of Library and Archives (now Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records) from 1932-1956. Mr. Winsor
noted that Arizona’s road to statehood was not an easy one:
In all, thirty-nine bills and twelve joint resolutions aimed exclusively or in conjunction with other Territories at statehood for Arizona were introduced in the two houses of Congress. Of these, twenty-nine bills and nine resolutions died in the committee of the house of origin, three bills were reported favorably but received no further consideration, four bills and one resolution passed the House of Representatives but did not reach a vote in the Senate, one bill passed both houses but died for want of agreement concerning amendments, one bill became a law but failed when its terms were rejected by the people of Arizona, one resolution passed both houses but was vetoed by the President, and one bill and one joint resolution, effecting the purpose for which they were designed, passed both houses and received the President’s approval.
Vean la historia de Arizona: In 25+ years “39 bills and 12 joint resolutions for statehood” – but only one made it for Statehood.