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

October 31, 2019

There is A Path For Puerto Rico Statehood on a U.S. Bill Which Will Authorized A PR Election

Image result for puerto rico as state 51


The question of statehood for Puerto Rico would be put to voters of the U.S. commonwealth for the third time since 2012 under legislation introduced in Congress on Tuesday.  Proponents of the bill said it would provide the island with the same path to statehood taken by Alaska and Hawaii, the last two states admitted to the union. 
Under the legislation, which has some bipartisan support, a federally authorized referendum would appear on the Nov. 3, 2020, ballot in Puerto Rico. Approval by a majority of the island’s voters would lead to a presidential proclamation within 30 months making Puerto Rico the 51st state. 
President Donald Trump has called Puerto Rico “one of the most corrupt places on earth,” making the bill’s future murky. The island’s non-voting congressional representative, Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, said the measure has 45 sponsors.  The island is still trying to recover from devastating hurricanes that hit in 2017, while it works its way through a bankruptcy process to restructure about $120 billion of debt and pension obligations. 
Gonzalez-Colon said the bill provides political equality for Puerto Rico. 
“The American citizens of Puerto Rico will have the opportunity to participate in a federally-sponsored vote and be asked the following question: ‘Should Puerto Rico be admitted as a State of the Union, yes or no?’” she said in a statement.  “This is similar to what happened in Alaska and Hawaii, which is what ultimately makes this legislation different.” 
In a non-binding 2017 referendum here 97% of the island's voters favored statehood, although turnout was just 23% due to a boycott against the vote. 
In a 2012 vote, 61% of Puerto Ricans favored statehood over other alternatives. Neither result moved Congress to act on statehood. 
Puerto Rico, which has been governed by the United States since 1899, has suffered the effects of unequal treatment under federal law compared with U.S. states, hindering the island’s development and economy, according to the bill. 
Reporting by Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis

July 2, 2018

The Republican Leaning Non Voting Representative of PR Introduced Bill to Make It 51 State

Don't start sewing that extra star to the flag yet. Even though the Government of PR is a Republican-leaning government (Governor, Nonvoting Representative in Congres). The Representative which caucus with the Republicans decided it was the right time before the elections. to do this. They quote the last referendum in PR which went for the first time for statehood, except most people refused to vote and stayed home, which could be the reason Congress turns them down, which will have an enormous impact in the relationship of Puerto Rico and Washington DC. It will have aftershock which will not be seen right away but this would be a staved in the back after being promised that Puerto Rico could decide its own destiny. Commonwealth, Independence or statehood.

The Republican government of Trump and his allies in Congress could not care less about Puerto Rico or any Hispanics for that matter whether they are American citizens(PR) or wishing to be(South Americans). Their eyes are in making Trump happy with their eyes, ears, and mouths close until this year passes and they find out whether they are still in the government or not. All their energies are going into getting another Trump justice and tilting the court for decades to come which really it could be a game changer with settle law being revisited and losing this time around because the court is stock against everything that had been done for the benefit of the many in the past 30+ years.

[This is how Justice Kennedy was asked to retired and when to retired by Trump]:

The bill, called the Puerto Rico Admission Act of 2018, was introduced by the territory’s resident commissioner, Jenniffer González-ColĂłn, a nonvoting Republican member of Congress.
“This is the first step to open a serious discussion regarding the ultimate status for the island,” Gonzalez said. “To sum everything up, this is about equality.”
The proposed legislation would create a bipartisan task force, the Congressional Task Force on Equality for American Citizens of Puerto Rico, charged with assessing which of Puerto Rico’s laws would need to be changed before granting statehood, and also with recommending economic measures to assist the island during the transition.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo RossellĂł, a Democrat who made obtaining statehood a pillar of his campaign, has been pressing continental lawmakers on the issue since taking office in 2017.
“No longer do we want ambiguity. No longer do we want this kicked down the road,” RossellĂł said at a news conference. “In Congress, you’re either with us or you’re against the people of Puerto Rico.”
The bill is currently co-sponsored by 36 members of Congress, 22 Republicans, and 14 Democrats. In June 2017, a vote showed that 97 percent of Puerto Ricans who cast ballots supported statehood. But some questioned the results due to low voter turnout.
Statehood would bring Puerto Rico’s 3.3 million residents, who are U.S. citizens but cannot vote in presidential elections, benefits like low-income tax credits, equal access to federal social programs, a higher minimum wage, and better representation for obtaining disaster relief funding, which some say the federal government failed to adequately provide in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
But statehood would also subject residents to federal income taxes, a possibly unwelcome change in light of the commonwealth’s high unemployment rate and steep local taxes.
Puerto Rico faces more than $70 billion in debt. It’s a complex problem borne over the past two decades from irresponsible borrowing, the phasing out of economic incentives from the mainland, a dwindling population, and the Great Recession. As a result, the economically crippled commonwealth was catastrophically ill-equipped to handle Hurricane Maria.
An aerial view shows the flooded neighborhood of Juana Matos in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Catano, Puerto Rico. (Photo: RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images) 
In 2016, Congress passed a law establishing PROMESA, an oversight committee in charge of restructuring Puerto Rico’s debt. Statehood could compromise the territory’s ability to pay off debt because U.S. states cannot declare bankruptcy.
“Puerto Rico under PROMESA has a bankruptcy procedure, and that is not something that a state would enjoy,” Desmond Lachman, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told CQ Researcher. “That bankruptcy protection is very important when the territory is more than $70 billion in debt.”
In a recent meeting with President Donald Trump, RossellĂł said, “we don’t want to be a territory anymore. We want to be a state. We want equal treatment,” to which the president replied, in an apparent joke, “If Ricardo can guarantee us two Republican senators it can be a very quick process.”
Still, it’s unclear whether the legislation has a realistic shot.
“It’s late in the term, before midterm elections,” Carlos Vargas-Ramos, a research associate at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, told NBC News. “I don’t see how this can get passed.”

October 27, 2017

36% of Americans Think Puerto Rico should Become a State

Americans continue to criticize the federal government’s response to the Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, a public reaction that is quite different from the positive evaluations of the response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, the public wants additional action – including increased support for Puerto Rico’s financial crisis, which predated the hurricane’s devastation.

Only one in three believe the federal government responded adequately or as fast as it could have to the damage on the island. More disapprove than approve about how the President is handling the situation. That was also the reaction last week. It’s unclear whether or not the island’s status as a territory was a factor in the government’s less-than-praised management. Only 34% say the response would have been faster if Puerto Rico were a state.
Hispanics, as well as those who knew someone affected by Hurricane Maria, are somewhat more likely to think that the island’s unincorporated status made a difference. 
However, most agree that more can and should be done. Only 8% oppose the $29 billion proposals to assist victims of the recent hurricanes. And the public is willing to go even further. The commonwealth is more than $70 billion in debt, and the devastation of Hurricane Maria has made the island’s financial situation even worse. Six in ten Americans want the US government to provide financial assistance to Puerto Rico to ease its financial crisis and help it recover.
Support for financial assistance has grown dramatically since July when fewer were paying attention. Only one in four said they had been following the situation then, and only a third favored US financial assistance to help out. Now about half, the country say they have been following the financial crisis.
Support for aid and assistance comes from across the political spectrum, even from the White House. The President said last week that he believed the government should “wipe out” the island’s financial debt, though later the White House walked that comment back. A majority of Republicans are in favor of helping Puerto Rico get through both the hurricane and the financial crisis.
But there hasn’t been much increase in the percentage that would like to see Puerto Rico become a state. Just over a third favor that today. 
Puerto Rico is about 1,000 miles from Miami, less than half the distance between the state of Hawaii and the West Coast. But, like Hawaii, there is an ocean in between, and one in four Americans see Puerto Ricans as different. Asked whether someone born in Puerto Rico whose parents was also born in Puerto Rico is an American citizen or a Puerto Rican citizen, half answered American. That’s up from 41% in July. 28% said such a person would be a Puerto Rican national, a significant minority, though down 14 points from the 42% who said that in July. More than a third of Republicans and conservatives today say those born in Puerto Rico to parents born in Puerto Rico are Puerto Rica


June 13, 2017

Puerto Ricans Voted Sunday on a Referendum to Decide Status, What Does It Mean?

By Charles R. Venator-Santiago, Carlos Vargas-Ramos, and Jossianna Arroyo

The 2017 Plebiscite for the Immediate Decolonization of Puerto Rico was held on June 11. This is the fifth vote on the political status of Puerto Rico since the United States annexed the island in 1898.
Only 23 percent of the 2,260,804 registered Puerto Rican voters participated. This is in stark contrast to the last plebiscite held in 2012 – in which 1,363,854 people, or 78.19 percent of registered voters, cast a ballot.


A pedestrian walks along a street in Old San Juan a day after the Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla gave a televised speech on June 30, 2015 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Are Puerto Ricans American Citizens?

This year's results were as follows:
The statehood option received 502,616 votes, or 97.18 percent of the votes cast.
The sovereignty/independence option received 7,779 votes or 1.5 percent.
The current territorial status option received 6,821 votes or 1.32 percent.
Moreover, this plebiscite was not authorized or certified by the U.S. Department of Justice or Congress, which throws its impact into question. Although the U.S. DOJ did not offer any reasons for not certifying the plebiscite, the most likely reason is a dispute over the language of the ballot, which was the subject of a memorandum the DOJ sent to the Governor of Puerto Rico in April. 
Given the low voter turn-out and the failure of the U.S. DOJ to certify the plebiscite, Congress is likely to ignore the outcome of this vote – much as it did in 2012.
Voters Fail to Turn Out
The overwhelming majority of eligible voters in Puerto Rico chose not to participate. 

In this Wednesday, July 29, 2015 photo, a bronze statue of San Juan Bautista stands in front of Puerto Rico’s Capitol as U.S. and Puerto Rican flags fly in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The June 11 vote brought out the second lowest turnout rate of all electoral contests conducted in Puerto Rico since 1967. This is unusual in a political system in which turnout in general elections has ranged between 78 and 89 percent of registered voters. Three of the four political parties that participated in the elections of November 2016 called for a boycott of this plebiscite – which seems to have had a large impact. 
Moreover, the low turnout in this plebiscite follows on the heels of another historically low-turnout election in 2016, in which only 55 percent of voters turned out. The results from these elections are but a reflection of, not simply the economic crisis Puerto Rico is facing, but of the political crisis it is facing as well.
Calls for Protest and Action
Many who boycotted the vote believed the plebiscite's cost – more than U.S. $8 million neglects the needs of citizens living in precarious economic conditions in Puerto Rico.
After Puerto Rico declared bankruptcy in 2006, the government entered into a process of "debt analysis" and arbitration, directed by a financial control board appointed by President Obama. The board recommended, among many measures, to cut US$300 million to $500 million from the Puerto Rican state government budget. That would mean a 30 percent cut to the administrative budget of the University of Puerto Rico.
In March 2017, students, faculty, and staff went on strike, closing the gates of the 11 public campuses on the island.
Many Puerto Ricans view the government as subservient to this board, some representatives of which have been connected to Wall Street. Critics feel these board members may be motivated by a desire to make money or threaten the island's sovereignty. While students and faculty protests continue, all campuses are now opened and classes resumed. Still, the fate of the University of Puerto Rico is not clear. Faculty, students, and staff are taking matters into their own hands.
On May 24, representatives of the Board of Students met with members of the Financial Control Board to present a plan to negotiate debt and build a possible consensus for an open and democratic university, which will be able to continue as the top rated public institution on the island. It was the first time the Financial Control Board met with a collective of citizens. The students believe that the promise of a more democratic future for Puerto Rico will not happen via traditional polls or call to the electorate, but with an active mobilization of all citizens.
This article was written by Jossianna Arroyo-Martinez, Chair/Professor of Latin American and Caribbean Literatures and Cultures, Depts. Spanish and Portuguese, African and African Diaspora Studies,the University of Texas at AustinCarlos Vargas-Ramos, Professor of Political Science, City University of New York, and Charles R. Venator-Santiago, Associate Professor of Political Science and El Instituto, University of Connecticut.This article was originally published on The Conversation. It is republished here with permission. Read the original article.

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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