Puerto Rico’s Territorial Status is a Dilapidated House

In Citizenship Equality, Commentary and Analysis, Enemies of Equality, H.R. 2499, Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Democracy Act, Self-Determination, Tennessee Plan, The Big Lie: The PPD's "Commonwealth" on July 6, 2010 at 11:33 PM
Why There is no Future in “Commonwealth”–Enhanced or Not


Imagine you have a house that is in great disrepair, and you have lived in it for a long time. Also imagine that the government (as the “landlord”) tells you that you must vacate the house because after so long of cheating catastrophe he can no longer accept the current status. Now, the landlord has made it easy for you by having picked three other houses that fit you in different ways, but, at the end of the day, only two are decent places to live in and one is the same dilapidated house you have now. Got it?

What I just described above is exactly what is happening with Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination. We have talked for over a century about what the sovereign options are for Puerto Rico. We have ascertained the correct answers (i.e. statehood or independence). We know what each means. But we keep getting a third option in the mix: the dilapidated, stagnant, corrupted, menacing, cancerous, bankrupted relationship (i.e. house) we are being told to vacate.

There is one thing that everybody agrees on: Puerto Rico’s current political status is that of a territory and as such Congress holds plenary powers. From that true (constitutional) statement, then, we can “extrapolate” that as a territory Puerto Rico has no true sovereignty. Does Puerto Rico control its local affairs? Yes. Does Puerto Rico vote in free elections? Yes, resoundingly. Does Puerto Rico have control over its political, economic, democratic future. NO!

If one is to support Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination, then one must be willing to accept the facts of what that means. Puerto Rico self-determination means that the people of Puerto Rico finally accept that there is one of two options available to them if they are to call themselves an independent people. Through independence, the Republic of Puerto Rico would have the ultimate form of sovereignty–but not necessarily the most advantageous in the Twenty-First Century. Through American federation, the State of Puerto Rico would have to share in the sovereignty–but the yield of such a shared-sovereignty is well proven. These two options represent the most decent ways of living in today’s world.

Under the aforementioned premise, then, how can we continue to offer Puerto Ricans the third option of remaining the same once we have condemned the current status? Easy. Form a political machine that stands to defend dilapidated ideologies, no matter what the costs and risks are to the inhabitants of the house. In Puerto Rico, that machine is known as El Partido Popular Democratico (PPD)–the Popular Democratic Party. The original mediator is now one of Puerto Rico’s strongest parties.

So, how has Puerto Rico become such a “complex” issue to deal with? That is why this blog is here. To answer such a question. The U.S. Congress, the Office of the President, Republicans and Democrats, Puerto Rico’s Legislative Assembly, Puerto Rico’s governor, Puerto Rico’s political parties, American citizens (in the mainland and in Puerto Rico)–all share part of the blame. Periodically, I will cover most of these actors (sometimes one by one and sometimes in group form) and how their decisions affect the issue of Puerto Rico’s status and its right to full sovereignty through self-determination.

P.S. Things to look forward to:

1. Puerto Ricans have NEVER voted “against” statehood.

2. Why do they call it “Commonwealth” in English, but “Free-Associated State” in Spanish?

3. Puerto Rico is NOT detrimentally “different” from any other territory.

4. Puerto Rico is NOT “too poor” to be a state, it is poor because it is not a state.

5. Puerto Ricans ARE American citizens already and Puerto Rico costs U.S. taxpayers money, NOW.


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