While all the political attention was on the presidential elections here in the good old USA, Puerto Rico also had elections that were the center of attention for the island nation. With 4.2 million Boricuas here in the mainland I think it is important for us to also know what is going on the island that many of us relate to in one way or the other.
Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities had local elections for mayor, representatives and of course the islands major election for governor.
The present pro-statehood governor, Luis Fortuño had been involved in major controversies almost since his first year, like corruption of party officials within his administration, massive layoffs of public service employees, raising tuition in the almost-free University of Puerto Rico and then unleashing a brutal police attack against the students who were protesting to name a few.
Governor Fotuño is a Republican and follows the extreme policy line of the stateside Big Brother Republican party. Unfortunately for him and his candidate for president, Mitt Romney, he will be looking for another job title come January 2013.
However there was another aspect of the Puerto Rico elections that did not get too much attention, except with those Puerto Ricans who want statehood for the island. The island also held a plebiscite regarding the status of the island. This is not the first. There have been plebiscites held in Puerto Rico for decades and they never really resolve anything. The choices of remaining a commonwealth, becoming a state, or an independent country are still as elusive as they have always been.
This 2012 plebiscite was no different from all the others except that this one had a governor who is a staunch Republican and who probably cared more about bringing Puerto Rico closer to becoming the 51st state than the economic and social problems confronting the island. This is why the statehood lovers are creating a lot of hoopla over this vote where they are claiming that Puerto Rican's voted overwhelmingly for statehood. That is not true -- on the contrary Puerto Ricans voted overwhelmingly that YES, Puerto Rico is a colony and of that vote, it breaks down for a majority not wanting statehood, but some form of independence.
Because the statehood vote received the highest number of the options, those wanting statehood are claiming a victory for statehood. This has created a lot of excitement among those Puerto Rican's who want the island to become the 51st state. However, before statehooder's start singing the star spangle banner there are some details about this vote that need to be explained.
For the record, statehood got 803,849 thousand votes. Yes, true it is the most votes that were cast for the options given. But let's examine this closer.
- 797,720, thousand votes for remaining a commonwealth.
- 434 thousand votes for the ELA Soberano (República Asociada/Associated Republic) a form of independence with some association to the USA.
- 72 thousand votes for Independence.
- 460 thousand votes were left in blank. This was due to the autonomist organizations that protested the false plebiscite asking people to vote a 'blank ballot" as a protest. Obviously these are anti-statehood, pro-independence votes.
These numbers prove that while statehood received 803,849 thousand votes, 1.7 milion -- almost two million votes -- were against statehood, a big difference if you study the numbers carefully and not jump to conclusions.
Just like in the USA where the Republican Party poured millions of dollars to distort the truth and try to make Barack Obama a one-term president and they lost, and so did Fortuño and the Republicans on the island. Fortuño and his allies had an intense pro-statehood campaign with resources and money donated by the U.S. National Association of Republican Governors, of which Gov. Fortuño is a member. These two elections proved one thing -- money can not buy an election.
I hope this clears this up a bit because information is power and we Latinos have the power to do so much more.