Puerto Rico Governor Approves Status Referendum amid Sharp Criticism

The Associated Press reports that Puerto Rico’s governor Luis Fortuño approved a two-part referendum to help decide its political status, although many have deemed the decision to hold both votes on the same day as unfair. [If you have any doubts as to where he stands, see photo at left.] Here is the full article with a link to the original below:

The first part of the referendum will ask voters if they want a change in status or prefer to remain a U.S. commonwealth. The second part will ask that voters choose from three options: statehood, independence or sovereign free association.

The original proposal was to hold the first part of the referendum in August 2012 and then, only if the majority sought a change in status, hold the second part during the November 2012 general elections. But under the new proposal, the both parts will be held on Nov. 6, said Gov. Luis Fortuño, who leads the pro-statehood New Progressive Party. Regardless of what voters decide, any change requires approval by the U.S. Congress and president.

Sen. Eduardo Bhatia said holding both parts of the referendum on the same day makes no sense because it assumes that the pro-status quo option doesn’t win and the second round will be necessary. “This law is proof that the leadership of the pro-statehood movement turns to trickery, deceit and the technique of confusion as political weapons,” said Bhatia of the Popular Democratic Party, which supports the current commonwealth status. “What opportunity do voters have to seriously reflect between one vote and the other? None.” The questions will be on the same ballot, and critics fear that being forced to choose from the three options could influence how people vote in the first part.

Kenneth McClintock, secretary of state for Puerto Rico, denied accusations that pro-status quo supporters would be ignored, saying that people were free to leave the second part of the ballot blank. He said Bhatia’s party had previously agreed to holding the referendum in one day. McClintock said the U.S. Congress would interpret the results if the majority chose something other than maintaining the status quo.

Fortuño also discarded criticism of the referendum. “All processes aimed at resolving Puerto Rico’s political future assumes that the current situation no longer has majority support,” he said. Fortuño spokeswoman Ana del Valle said his administration chose to hold the two-part referendum on the same day to get a sense of what people prefer for the island’s political future.

The referendum received praise from Luis Delgado, leader of a group that is pushing for Puerto Rico to have a sovereign free association with the U.S. But Delgado urged Fortuño to demand that the U.S. outline terms and conditions for each of the choices before the referendum is held.

Puerto Rico has long debated its political status, with no majority for any particular status emerging in referendums held in 1967, 1993 and 1998.

Rafael Cox Alomar, a PDP member who is seeking the island’s nonvoting Congressional seat, dismissed the referendum as expensive and unnecessary. “This referendum does not work and does not involve nor commit in any way the U.S. Congress,” he said. “In a moment of economic crisis… the cost of this referendum is an insult to the people who reject it.” Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who is running against Fortuño, said the Popular Democratic Party would soon issue its official stance on the referendum. Critics also noted that if Fortuño’s party loses the election, millions of dollars spent on the referendum will have gone to waste.

For original article, see http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/americas/puerto-rico-governor-approves-status-referendum-amid-sharp-criticism/2011/12/28/gIQAP4I1MP_story.html

3 thoughts on “Puerto Rico Governor Approves Status Referendum amid Sharp Criticism

  1. Our citizenship along with our statehood, will bring a degree of satisfaction and vindication to many of us who were treated as second class citizens as history will show, because of the status of Puerto Rico as a commonwealth. We can become the Hawaii of the caribbean with a diverse spanish culture, if only our people can see how important that is to us and our future… and compared to many who wish they were in our shoes. -Think about it !!!

  2. This is another ploy by a corrupt administration which hides behind the facade of statehood to simply steal, skim, and scam. The opposition party is correct in stating this is to deviate attention from a failed agenda.

    As for the Hawaii of the Caribbean, many of the native born Hawaiians are dissatisfied with their statehood status. They cannot afford to buy land or homes as rich Americans seeking a tropical lifestyle has had an accumulative escalating effect on real estate prices. Their culture has been reduced to dancing barefoot with Tonga torches at luaus arranged for tourists.

    Yes – I have thought about it !!!

  3. ” In fact discomfort is your body’s way of telling you to stop doing whatever you’re doing. Music is for all ages, it is not restricted with any kind of limits. Moviegoers should check local listings for other participating theaters and showtimes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s