Showing posts with label Statehood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Statehood. Show all posts

June 12, 2015

Statehood for Puerto Rico is Growing


                                                                            




Puerto Rico’s path towards statehood is stronger than ever. In fact, we can state that the almost 3.6 million American citizens in this United States Territory are living their final days of this, immoral colonial status. That’s a fact, not an opinion.
The statehood movement, both on the Island, as well as in the States, has grown exponentially during the past 30 years. The evidence is overwhelming. The facts are there for everyone to observe.
In Puerto Rico, the New Progressive Party (NPP), which seeks statehood, have grown from a purely second political option to a commanding position only rivaled by the Democratic Party dominance over U.S. politics in the 1940s.
Since its inception in the Island’s political landscape back in 1967, the NPP has consistently increased its number of affiliated voters, a distinction no other party can claim. More to the point. In the last four elections the NPP has been the only party to topple the 48 percent mark, and in 2008, the party got almost 54 percent of the vote, something unprecedented in a multi-party system.
Even in the last electoral process, when the NPP’s candidate for governor loss by less than .02 percent, the party took more votes than its rival (48.4 to 48.2 percent).
In 2012 the statehood movement achieved its greatest victory so far when it won, hands down and without any doubt, a political status referendum. This is a sharp contrast to the marked decline in support for the current territorial status.
According to the official results of Puerto Rico’s State Electoral Commission, 54 percent (970,910 out of 1,798,987) of eligible electors voted ‘No’ to remain in the current political status. Furthermore, 61 percent of the people (834,191) voted in favor of our Island joining the Union as the 51st state. As of the others options in the ballots, Free Association gathered 33 percent of the vote (454,768), while Independence generated 5.4 percent (74,895).
That’s a resounding fact.
As the statehood forces increase on the Island, so does in the States. For the first time in history an admission bill, in accordance with the will of the people of Puerto Rico, was filed in the U.S. Senate.
Our Resident Commissioner, the Island’s sole member of Congress (without a floor vote), Pedro Pierluisi, has presented two admission bills in the House of Representatives.  
In the last two years, powerful U.S. Senators have called for grating statehood to the Island, including Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), among others.
                                                                    
 La Fortaleza(Governor’s Residence)
Puerto Rico has spent nearly 116 years as an American territory. That’s long enough,” Heinrich said. That’s a sentiment we have felt from most members of Congress every time we visit Washington DC.
Another factor in our growth has been the large number of Puerto Rican living in the States. For example, in Florida, the statehood forces need to be reckon with. Orange County alone is home to more than 150,000 Puerto Ricans. Overall, Puerto Ricans now number nearly one million statewide and represent 28 percent of Hispanic registered voters — closing in on a Cuban population of 1.3 million.
Even media outlets, not only the U.S., but in Europe as well, have consistently reported about the growing influence of statehood for the Island. It’s no more a matter of ‘what if’, it’s just ‘when it will be’.
Forget the silly arguments regarding the language and culture. Puerto Rico, as in the case of every state (Texas, Hawaii, Alaska, Nebraska, and so for) will maintain its own identity. The Congress and the White House, not only understand this, but supported because, after all, America is a multicultural Nation since its very beginning.
To those who for decades have supporter the admission of Puerto Rico into our great Nation, as an equal partner, your passions are paying off immensely. The statehood movement is more robust and stronger than ever.
Jose Aponte Hernandez
Hernandez was Speaker of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico from 2005 to 2009.

November 7, 2012

Slim Majority in Puerto Rico Vote For 51rst.Statehood


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A slim majority of Puerto Ricans sought to change their ties with the United States and become the 51st U.S. state in a non-binding referendum that would require final approval from Congress.

 

The two-part referendum asked whether the island wanted to change its 114-year relationship with the United States. Nearly 54 percent, or 922,374 people, sought to change it, while 46 percent, or 786,749 people, favored the status quo. Ninety-six percent of 1,643 precincts were reporting as of early Wednesday.
The second question asked voters to choose from three options, with statehood by far the favorite, garnering 61 percent. Sovereign free association, which would have allowed for more autonomy, received 33 percent, while independence got 5 percent.
President Barack Obama earlier expressed support for the referendum and pledged to respect the will of the people in the event of a clear majority.
It is unclear whether U.S. Congress will debate the referendum results or if Obama will consider the results to be a clear enough majority.
Puerto Rico's resident commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, who has championed statehood, did not return calls for comment. He received 48 percent or 874,914 votes, while his opponent, Rafael Cox Alomar, received 47 percent or 855,732 votes with 96 percent of precincts reporting.
The island is currently a U.S. territory whose inhabitants are U.S. citizens but are prohibited from voting in presidential elections. Its resident commissioner in the U.S. House also has limited voting powers.
The future of the island's political status, however, also is dependent on who governs the island.
According to partial election results, pro-statehood Gov. Luis Fortuno was ousted by a razor thin margin by an opponent who supports the island's current political status.
With 96 percent of precincts reporting, challenger Alejandro Garcia Padilla with the Popular Democratic Party received 48 percent or 870,005 votes. Fortuno, a Republican and leader of the New Progressive Party, received 47 percent or 855,325 votes.
Fortuno has not issued comment, while Garcia celebrated what he called a victory.
Highway 139"I can assure you we have rescued Puerto Rico," Garcia said. "This is a lesson to those who think that the well-being of Puerto Ricans should be subjected to ideologies."
Election results also pointed to a major upset for Jorge Santini, who has been mayor of the capital of San Juan for 12 years. His opponent, Carmen Yulin Cruz, received 71,736 votes compared with Santini's 66,945 votes with 96 percent of precincts reporting.
The island's elections commission said it would resume counting votes late Wednesday morning.                     
Posted in NYPost    

August 23, 2012

Puerto Rico Will Have Statehood Referendum Nov6 Do You lIke 51?


Adam in En La Bahia en Ponce

Puerto Rico Statehood Vote, Today marks the anniversary of the last state to join the union, as Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959. But in three months, Puerto Rico faces a similar vote to become the 51st state. And as of now, the results of its complicated statehood vote on November 6 are certainly up in the air.
Hawaii and Alaska (the 49th state) navigated a lot of political roadblocks to become states in the 1950s, since each state brought a pair of senators and a House member to Congress.
The Constitution is vague about the whole process of how a territory becomes a state, delegating the task to Congress.
In Article IV, Section 3, Congress is given the power to decide what states and territories are, but state legislatures would have to approve any act that would combine two existing states or form a new state from parts of other states. (So reuniting Pennsylvania and New Jersey, or Virginia, and West Virginia would be a very difficult task.)
And because any state automatically gets two U.S. senators and at least one member in the House of Representatives, statehood becomes even trickier if the balance of power is close in Congress.
Alaska faced a decade-long battle with Congress to become the 49th state that ended in January 1959. Its voters had first passed a statehood referendum in 1946, but they lobbied for another decade with Congress to get their request for statehood approved.
Hawaii helped and also complicated the approval process for Alaska, but a congressional compromise was brokered. After a vote in Hawaii and a separate act approving Hawaiian statehood, it became the 50th state on August 21, 1959.
And now, there is the issue of statehood for Puerto Rico. The island is a U.S. territory and its residents are U.S. citizens, but they don’t have voting congressional representation.
So effectively, Puerto Rico residents can’t vote in the presidential general election. (Articles I and II of the Constitution says that only states can vote, and the 23rd Amendment extends voting rights to the District of Columbia.)
Another statehood referendum is set for Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, and the territorial governor, Luis Fortuno, is supporting statehood as the best option for Puerto Rico.
Other statehood votes failed in Puerto Rico in 1967, 1993, and 1998.
The 2012 vote is different because it has two parts. The first question asks voters if they want to move away from Puerto Rico’s territorial status.
The second part asks voters to choose three options other than remaining a territory: becoming a U.S. state, an independent country, or a freely associated nation with legal ties to the United States.
To complicate matters, there are three major political parties in Puerto Rico, none of which align with the Democrats and Republicans–they are aligned to statehood, independence, and territory factions.
In a May 2012 poll, the newspaper El Nuevo Dia found general confusion among potential voters.
About 51 percent didn’t want to move way from Puerto Rico’s territorial status and 45 percent didn’t fully understand all the ballot options. Only 36 percent supported statehood.
But in a twist, polling data on this Sunday’s referendum in Puerto Rico on territorial constitutional changes didn’t match how people voted.
Voters rejected constitutional amendments that limited bail rights and downsized the island’s legislature, despite strong support from Puerto Rico’s two biggest parties.
The vote is seen as a win for a third party that supports full independence for Puerto Rico.
On November 6, voter turnout will be high. Back in 2000, more than 80 percent of registered voters went to the polls. Puerto Rico residents vote at much higher rates than residents of the 50 states.
Ponce Massacre 1937


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