Since an online White House We the People petition calling for the ouster of Puerto Rican govenor Alejandro García Padilla reached the necessary 100,000 signatures in a span of 30 days earlier this year, the White House last week had to draft a formal response. Here is what the White House said (as we suspected):
Everyday (here in PR) there is more news about austerity. I was just searching the internet to see if anyone had written a whitehouse petition trying to gather support for delaying and stopping austerity in PR, which seems to be most necessary right now. Instead, there is this. One of the many problems contained in the colonial relationship btwn the US and Puerto Rico is the utter lack of self-determination, including the ability of the US to meddle in Puerto Rico’s affairs. This would be asking for more of that instead of less.
To me, this petition seems like a distraction tactic that puts the spotlight back of Garcia Padilla and the PPD, probably created by someone in the PNP. Garcia Padilla already announced that he would not be running for re-election in late 2015 (which many people considered a soft-coup enacted by the federal government). Targeting him for impeachment during the last months of his term isnt even helpful.
Right now, people are in danger of losing electricity, school buses, and pensions, among other things. If people are petitioning the US federal government, it should be to stop the austerity plan being pushed by congress. It should be to stop the fiscal control board, which will likely be installing a puppet or figurehead governor if their plan is pushed through. It is also what would likely happen should Gacia Padilla be removed as a result of this petition (which would be incredible because these petitions rarely lead to serious action.)
Yes, much action needs to be taken. People in the US need to start thinking and talking about this issue. It is their responsibility as they are benefitting from the colonial relationship that it crushing people on the island. But removing a democratically elected governor by way of the federal government only reinforces the power differential and pushes the island into further submission and impotency. It’s also misleading to people in the US as the blame is being levied only at Puerto Rican leadership while Wall Street, the federal government, colonialism, and other culprits are ignored.
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