The Death Knell for “Enhanced Commonwealth”

Last week senators Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) sent a letter to Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner, expressing that any future process chosen to change the status of Puerto Rico must not contain either Commonwealth or an Enhanced Commonwealth, advocated by different sectors of the ruling Popular Democratic Party (PPD).

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The past weekend, has been filled with reactions from all involved, including Governor García Padilla calling Wyden and Murkowski “anti-democratic.”

“I find the expression very anti-democratic, but they should hang it up in a frame in the office of some pro-statehooder, because those letters have not served any purpose in the last 100 years,” García Padilla said in a press conference quoted by El Vocero and El Nuevo Día newspapers.

The governor emphasized that senators Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Mark Udall (D-Colorado) and Roger Wickers (R-Mississippi) have expressed previously that Puerto Ricans must choose between Enhanced Commonwealth, Independence and Statehood.

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“While two senators close the door to the determination of the people of Puerto Rico, more senators are willing to allow Puerto Ricans to choose their future,” concluded the governor.

Meanwhile, Rubén Berríos, president of the Puerto Rico Independence Party wrote an open letter  to Governor García Padilla stating:

“Even in the United States- a far impregnable bastion of immobility in terms of relationship with Puerto Rico- clear indications of interest and concern are perceived. No doubt that the combination of the message that the majority of Puerto Ricans want to overcome the limitations of the current political relationship, along with the deepening of the economic crisis which we live and the impending fiscal insolvency, has begun to raise awareness beyond also the need for a thorough re-examination of the political relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States.”.

Berríos has invited García Padilla to a meeting with himself and Pierluisi, president of the New Progressive Party (PNP), to discuss common ground where all can proceed towards the same goal.

Pierluisi has responded that he will not accept any Status Assembly, or the incorporation of the “Enhanced commonwealth” status option, according to PNP insider, Hernán Padilla.

PNP legislators have expressed in a press released published by La Tribuna, and divulged by Representative José Aponte’s office, that the minority legislators will introduce a Resolution to the state House of Representatives in support of Wyden and Murkowski.

“Every day we see that the leadership of the PPD in an effort to continue to administer the colony puts equal civil rights to American citizens residing in Puerto Rico at risk. The communication of Wyden and Murkowski last Friday, reiterated our appreciation of August 1 at the hearing in the Senate … the improved ELA, does not work, and it is a hoax, ” Aponte said in a press release published by La Tribuna.

Finally, local news analyst and pro-statehooder, Luis Davila Colón, expressed via Twitter that the Status Assembly is illegal because it goes against the democratic vote expressed last year and that it favors Enhanced Commonwealth.

Who knows where this goes, now that issues about the island’s pension reform and teacher protests have begun to dominate the island’s news cycle.

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