Puerto Rico Governor Signs ‘Tennessee Plan’ Into Law: Will DC Care?

Jun 5, 2017
10:57 PM

Ok, stick with us for a few minutes, since we think we have figured out what Puerto Rico’s statehood supporters are trying to do. It is all making sense now, and within weeks, we could possibly see a group of Puerto Rican “congressmen” and “senators” head up to Washington, D.C. and demand that the United States’ colony be admitted into as the 51st state of the Union.

On Monday, Puerto Rico governor and pro-statehood supporter Ricardo Rosselló signed the Equality Plan into law. It is basically a law that follows what Tennessee did in the late 18th century to become a state. It would essentially have a seven-member commission that would become two “senators” and five “members of the House of Representatives” to represent Puerto Rico. These individuals would then go to Washington and try to get Congress to recognize them as actual voting members. Once recognized, boom—Puerto Rico becomes a state.

The timing of this new law is no coincidence, since on Sunday June 11, Puerto Ricans will be part of yet another status plebiscite vote (the fifth one in the island’s history). Apparently, those who favor independence or the status quo don’t plan to be part of the June 11 vote and there is this whole issue of the United States Department of Justice telling the Puerto Rican government to postpone the vote. The vote won’t be postponed, and it is very likely that the number of statehood proponents in the 2017 plebiscite will be lower than those who voted for statehood in 2012.

So don’t be surprised when Gov. Rosselló claims a victory for statehood on June 11 and then suddenly the Tennessee Plan is put into action. The question, however, is simple: will DC even care? So far, there has been no indication that a Trump administration or a Republican-controlled Congress will even pay attention to the June 11 vote. (See this story to catch up on that.) And at a time when —wait for it— it is beneficial for Puerto Rico to remain a territory (um, colony) of the United States because the PROMESA legislation needs Puerto Rico to remain a territory (um, colony), the appetite in DC for any action from Puerto Ricans with no voting power to demand statehood is invisible.

This will get interesting for sure, but we seriously doubt that seven Puerto Ricans trying to become a part of Congress will even make national news in this age of Trump.

Let the farce known as Puerto Rico’s political status shell game continue.