In August of last year, I wrote an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel where I predicted Hispanics playing a key role in the next presidential elections and the possibility of Hispanics running for President or Vice President of the United States. As of today, everything seems to be happening as predicted. Two Hispanics within the Republican Party have officially announced their candidacies for President (Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas) with an additional candidate expected to announce, and who although not Hispanic, speaks fluent Spanish (Jeb Bush). During the final week of April, Bush was actually in the non-voting US territory of Puerto Rico raising money for his campaign, shaking hands and kissing babies like all politicians do, except for one new twist—he was giving speeches in Spanish!
The island territory of Puerto Rico has more American citizens than 21 U.S. States but cannot vote for our Commander in Chief. So you may be left asking yourself, “What the hell is Jeb Bush doing in Puerto Rico campaigning?” For two reasons and two reasons only. First, to woo the Puerto Rican vote in battleground state of Florida (there are 1 million Puerto Ricans living in the Sunshine State, and they continue to flock here in the thousands every year).
The second reason is MONEY. The Bush dynasty has tapped into the fundraising machinery of the pro-statehood movement on the island for decades, and for decades they have verbally supported Puerto Rico becoming a state of the Union, but have never made true movements to actually make it happen. Now, don’t get me wrong, Barack Obama did exactly the same thing in 2011 when he became the first sitting President since John F. Kennedy to visit the island. Did I mention Obama won Florida in 2012?
George H. W. Bush verbally supported statehood for the island during his presidency, even mentioning the idea during one of his State of the Union addresses. Obviously, nothing ever happened. (And it wasn’t just George H.W. Bush. It was also Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.)
Interestingly, on the flip side, George W. Bush was quite silent on the issue throughout his entire two terms as President. This year, while in Puerto Rico, Jeb Bush announced his unwavering support of statehood if elected President and spoke of a united America. I guess support for statehood skips a generation within the Bush family. My question to Jeb Bush is: Why wait until you are elected President (assuming he’s elected) to tackle the issue?
The Republican Party (his party) is in control of both the U.S. House and Senate. Considering that Congress has absolute authority and jurisdiction regarding the Puerto Rico political status issue in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, why doesn’t Jeb just publicly pressure the GOP majority in Congress to get it done now? After all, the people on the island territory did vote overwhelmingly for statehood in 2012. The answer is simple. He will not do that, because he knows the GOP Tea Party Congress will never accept a Hispanic majority state into the Union and Jeb’s fellow party members in Congress not answering his call will project him as a weak leader within his party and ultimately hurt his presidential campaign.
Hillary Clinton on the other hand, has never publicly supported statehood, but has supported the presidential vote for Puerto Rico regardless of whether or not it becomes a state—sort of like Washington, D.C. residents who can vote, although the nation’s capital is not a state.
However, Clinton disappointingly ommitted Puerto Rico from her voting rights speech yesterday in Houston.
Both prominent Republicans and Democrats have gone to Puerto Rico, made promises and taken campaign money, yet have done nothing to facilitate the right to vote for 3.5 million U.S. citizens. The Hispanic community in general is tired of the lip service regarding both the Puerto Rico equal rights issue and as well as real comprehensive immigration reform. We will be viligant in 2016 by demanding candidates to take stronger stances regarding the issues that affect us. We are tired of the lip service… even if it is in Spanish.
Phillip Arroyo is currently a Juris Doctor student at Florida A&M College of Law in Orlando, Florida. Mr. Arroyo was selected as the only Puerto Rican to serve in the 2012 White House Internship, having worked in the office of the Vice President Joe Biden, where he analyzed domestic and economics issues while at the White House. You can follow him on Twitter @PhillipArroyo.
Roberto you are dead on.. Great point you made. I’ve brought this up to Phillip via Twitter. Most PNP are looking for a lifesaver to be thrown their way without realizing the whole picture. The U.S. gains absolutely nothing by having PR as its 51st state. When will our boricuas wake up and see that this won’t happen. Theres too much crime, not enough jobs, unemployment is double the avg U.S. rate. Los cuponeros fill the island and the working class professionals cant make a decent living anymore. This saddens me.
I appreciate meaningful dialogue without referring to name-calling and ignorant ranting, ASantos, and I thank you for that.. Especially so when it involves the island I was born in. It seems like the plan is for increased crime, high unemployment, and the complete elimination of all PR as the standard for carrying on a conversation about statehood for the US. Much like Alaska and Hawaii, we don’t want to repeat their mistakes and as much as I love the US, I am also compromised by my connection to Boriken.
Everything could be lost as far as cultural identity. People on the island who speak little to no English want to become a state as if it were a lifeline. There are no easy solutions to fixing PRs economy. I was also born there educated here in the states. Soy nativo de Vega Baja.
asantos12886 The problem with most of you that claim that Congress will not “give” statehood to PR is that you do knot want to see that Congress in this regard is like all you husbands in your home where you have the last word in arguments with your wife . . . YES DEAR. There NO reason other than petty political not to give statehood to PR and all of the can be argue for it and win. We are 3.5 Million AMERICAN CITIZENS on the Island and add to that what ever milliond that support Statehood here on the mainland. Now, the only thing holding statehood are the 3.5 millions on the island. If or when the PPD do define their ELA Non-Territorial and Constitutional and had to defend that Free Association (the Associated Republic) to it followers the PPD will loos well over 5% of its followers and Statehood will win with a very high % of a Plebescite. I would say well over 65% or even over 70% (and this is not wishful thinking)
Now, when the island come together like that to DEMAND equal treatment for those AMERICAN CITIZENS. the Congress will bring up all kind of obstacles BUT non will hold water BECAUSE the US been the CHAMPION of democracy and equality in front of the hole world have NO REASON to deny us Statehood. The Political Future of Puerto Rico is in Puerto Rican Hands . . . NOT in Washington.
I have a question for you, how did the last plebiscite go? Supposedly Statehood won but meanwhile the people were confused about the 2nd question which tons of people left blank. They’ve had multiple plebiscites and these haven’t produced any results. Statehood would probably win if they voted right now, but thats only a product of how terrible Alejandro Garcia Padilla has ran the economy, which btw was already in crisis before he even got into office. People tend the lean in the opposite direction when a certain party in power fails terribly. PNP thinks that the US is going to be the knight in shining armor but it’s not happening. America doesn’t care about us or our family members on the island. America is all about what can benefit them. I love America don’t misunderstand me, its a wonderful country. But the country has turned its back on PR meanwhile trying to be buddy buddy with Cuba. This is bad news for PRs economy.
To Mr. Jorge A. Rivera:
Your response is all over the place but I will try to narrow the focus on the
reality of the future of PR. You have no evidence to support your claim that
despite the 3.7 million folks in PR desire statehood, those PRs who live on the
US mainland feel the same way….if I were you, I’d do research before I’d make
such a bold and erroneous statement. In November of 2012, a referendum resulted in 54 percent of
respondents voting to reject the current status under the territorial clause of
the U.S. Constitution,while a second question resulted in 61 percent of
voters identifying statehood as the preferred alternative to the current
territorial status. The 2012 referendum was by far the most successful
referendum for statehood advocates and support for statehood has risen in each
successive popular referendum. However, more than one in four voters abstained
from answering the question on the preferred alternative status. Statehood
opponents have argued that the statehood option garnered only 45 percent of the
votes if abstentions are included. If
abstentions are considered, the result of the referendum is much closer to 44
percent for statehood, a number that falls under the 50 percent majority. As
far as your assumption that the future of PR is in PR’s hands, not Washington, under
Article IV, Section Three of the United
States Constitution, which outlines the relationship among the states, ONLY
Congress has the power to admit new states to the union. You can vote , you can
shout, you can be a nasty politician (El tiburon blanco Schatz) a corrupt
governor Fortuno, but all of those attempts are merely futile. Again, your
assumptions are typical of the ranting I see and hear in PR by PNP devotees,
and there are many, I must add. But they are NOT the exception! At this
juncture in political timing terms, a new Republican or Democratic government
in the next election will once again place the question of PR’s future in the
back burner. There are far too many other more important events to deal with. If
anything, any new annexation would probably be Washington DC
as the 51st state. Those 2.5 million dollars the US gave to PR on
January 2014 for another plebiscite are still in the bank earning interest for
the many corrupt politicians in the island; both PNP and PDP. Be sure you
supply evidence before making your remarks and please proof read your notes:
others are reading this and we need to make certain to others that we are highly
educated people. My opinion.
asantos12886 Excellent observation, asantos12886!!!!
Fortuno was a big time crook. He was caught with his hands in the cookie jar many times. Alejandro Garcia Padilla is no better. The biggest issue in PR is that there is way too much division between the parties. PPD and PNP can’t agree on simply passing a law, they act like gangs. Pedro Pierluisi is a wolf in sheeps clothing, as is Jennifer Ms. Piggy, and many others. Both parties need to put their beliefs aside and do whats best for the island and its people before theres nobody left over there. Y que se pongan a trabajar a los cuponeros.
I only speak the truth hermano.. Thanks..
asantos12886 you can not look prior to 1998 Plebiscites as simple as Statehood against Independence and Free Association. Puerto Rico elections, General or Plebiscites are NOT that simple. You see, Don Luis Muñoz Marín made his ELA to be the PPD and vise versa. So, prior to the Plebiscite were political parties facing each other. For the first time the 1998 Plebiscite a “definition” of the so called ELA Soberano comes into the picture to take the “PAVA” out of the game and bring Statehood head on with a real NON-Territorial ELA. This is the reason why the PPD fought to include :Proposition #5 -“Non of the above” into the ballot winning that Plebiscite with over 50% of the votes- all just because the PNP presented the voters a Satatehood vs Free Association.
The 2012 Plebiscite even though the Statehood option did win . . . the 500,000 Blank ballots on the Second question alone made that win in reality inconclusive. The PPD was pushed into the corner. If they backed the ELA Soberano, as defined on the Ballot they would be supporting Independence and the PPD knows that if they support Independence they will loose well over 50% of their voters. . . thus asked their people to leave that question Blank and the same reason why they are afraid of defining their ELA Nos-Territorial and Constitutional as requested by the Senate on the hearing on August1, 2013.
Elections or Plebiscites on the island are not as simple as Democrats and Republicans here on the mainland. You have to know and understand what Don LMM did did and governed Puerto Rico. Which is the mistake many people make when discussing PR Politics.
AgueybanaUno JorgeARivera asantos12886 please read my prior reply. nor when I say 3.5 million I am generalizing of course because when the Government of Puerto Rico talk in the name of Puerto Rico they are representing the 3.5 million Puertorriqueños. IF or when Statehood face off the ELA Soberano (free association), Statehood should win with well over 60% or even 70% and at that time the Government will demand Statehood for PR. As you know we will not be able to send you people to Vieques, Culebra and Mona in order to make the big island a State so your independentistas friends will be part of the people represented by the government.
I hate to break this to you but America isn’t going to bail Puerto RIco out. It’s time to stand on their own feet and make real decisions that produce real results. PR will not become a state. The only reason most people fear independence is because people fear what they don’t understand. We as Puerto Ricans have never had independence which we were taught from infancy that we would be poor like RD or Cuba. What is the fear? How much worse can it get? What if PR became the 51st state? Are you prepared to lose your culture? Are you prepared to be a farce of a nation? Sucking up to the Yankees for help because we are what Inferior? Are we not strong enough that we need to continue to beg for a lifesaver? Why are so many people too blind to see that America doesn’t care about Puerto Rico or its debt!
asantos12886 Did I said that US was going to bailout PR? If you have “dos dedos de frente” you know what independence is. All you have to do is look west and south of PR and see Independence in ALL Latin American countries. Tell me which of those countries has done in over 158 years since the very first independent republic came to be, have done what PR did in some 20 – 25 years bringing government stability a for its people? The only problem is that the independentistas do not want to see this because they think that they are better educated and more just than the rest of our Latin brothers in the Americas. If we did accomplished all this was because of the government stability the US constitution give us and not because we are any better than anyone else.
In America (US) nothing is free and you must fight for what you want get that in your head. It is NOT that America(
US) does not care about PR is that we have to measure up to heir standards of fighting for what we want. Apparently you think America (US) is a free society where they give you what everything you want . . apparently the “mantengo” mentality has reach you.
It seems Mr. Rivera is 1) either ignoring my valid, evidence based points 2) answering to some questions he has in his mind that are incongruent with mine. He has not answered any of my points. Again, what “government will demand statehood for PR?” Demand?? Isn’t that a bit like communism? Demand? And to add insult and offense, without valid and intelligent discourse, he now states that we will not be able to be sent to Mona, Vieques, or Culebra? Hey, you conveniently (or hopefully, ignorantly) fail to mention Isla de Cabras or Caja de Muertos Island among many others. This is how PNP devotees think and write: almost like the Nazis – everyone else is wrong except them. Incidentally, Mr. Tiburon Schatz is of German extraction. NO, Mr. Rivera, PR will not become a state in your lifetime. Stop whining about it and do research, your own history, stop elevating people like Columbus who discovered nothing: boriken was always there – if anything, you brought disease, slavery, and pain to this beautiful island. Mr. Rivera, search your past as you and read more: you just may be able to join the elite and small group of true PRs: the independentistas whom you cry so much about!!! Viva PR libre!!!!!!
AgueybanaUno asantos12886 What valid valid evidence? I think I know ho to read and comprehend but where is the eidence . . . your opinion? What ever government is in power after the Plebiscite. will demand and yes DEMAND Statehood . . .hat else beg? please. A you better read again, I did not say we were to send you anywhere. Your arguments are way out of left field. So, I will leave you to answer your own questions. I do get tire of commenting silly comments.
JorgeARivera AgueybanaUno asantos12886
I guess I better stop trying to make an innuendo of sense in this conversation which in reality is leading to your non-existent points: absolutely nowhere! I do recommend you review PR & US history…
Julio I think we can become technical on the issue of the blank votes, but it is clear to everyone, including the pro statehood crowd that those blank votes came from people following the stupid strategy of the PPD. It may have been a bad strategy but the reality is that the statehood vote has been dclining, not rising in Puerto Rico. Everyone should read Juan Torruellas, prostatethood federal judge in the First Ciurcuit court’s speech on why Puerto Rico is a colony….the system was constructed so Puerto Rico would not achieve statehood. Harvard U just publshed a book on the insular cases which estblished the legal construct for Puerto Rico colonial condition.
rodrigvm yes, but it was still a reall bad strategy because it allowed for the statehood debate to win the vote in the eyes of U.S. media. The stubborness of the established PPD leadership led to their losing the debate on this and right now, they are doing very little to change that debate. It is interesting times for sure.
JulioRVarela rodrigvm I agree it was a bad strategy, but most who deal with this in congress have ignored the “pro statehood” vote. In fact PPD is now as conservative or more (exept manipulating nationalist feelings, waving the flag etc) than the PNP. I found this ironic, I was reading for an article I am working on came across this old quote which I had forgotten, one from Barbosa 1918 and Albizu intriguingly similar..
“No se puede ser dueño de un pais sin ser dueño
de sus riquezas (…) si hemos de hacer una patria nuestra, si nuestros hijos han
de ser felices en su tierra, tienen indispensablemente que ser dueños de las
riquezas de su patria. No hay independencia politica sin la independencia
economica (…) Los ajenos, esos a quienes no les importa nada nuestro estatus
presente of futuro, aprovechan la oportunidad del nuevo dia, para acaparar las
industrias, el comercio y las tierra y se adueñan del pais.” (1918)
“Sabido es de todos que el presente regimen
tiene por orientacion definitiva la eliminacion del terrateniente, del
industrail, del comerciante y del financiero nativo para suplantarlo con
AgueybanaUno JorgeARivera asantos12886 If you say so . . . I guess from my point of view I could say the same to you Agueybana . . . But I will not . . . no need
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