Last week Congress approved to assign $2.5 million so that Puerto Rico can celebrate yet another plebiscite, one that will almost certainly give the same results as the results from November 2012. There is a catch, though. The Justice Department must approve which status formulas are consistent with the Constitution and with the Administration’s public policy.
This will certainly be a shock to the island’s Popular Democrats (PPD), as they should—if Justice Department does their job—be forced to choose between non-territorial constitutionally valid formulas (i.e, statehood or any form of independence like an associated republic) outside of the current system.
As usual, the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP) is supporting the 2012 election plebiscite results, and wishes for statehood “Yes or No” ratification vote.
On the other hand, both the PPD and the Independence Party (PIP) are moving towards convening a Status Assembly to negotiate with the Justice Department the terms and “definitions” of the new plebiscite.
Certainly, the incumbent PPD has the votes to decree the formation of a Status Assembly, but Resident Commissioner and statehood leader Pedro Pierluisi has, time and time again, reiterated that the PNP will not participate in such a mechanism.
The question should then be this: What is President Barack Obama’s public policy regarding the status of Puerto Rico? He has stated he will support the voice of the people of Puerto Rico, yet his Administration has been ambiguous about whether the “Estado Libre Asociado” is a viable sustainable mechanism for Puerto Rico’s future. If the DoJ does its research, it should see that the current territorial form of government limits and halts the growth of the Puerto Rican economy.
Whether you support statehood or independence, one thing must be made clear to the U.S. government:we cannot and we refuse to continue in the current territorial arrangement. Like Patrick Henry once said, “give me liberty or give me death.” or as I say, “give me equality or give me a divorce.”