March 9, 2010

Letter to the Editor: Governor’s push for statehood undemocratic

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To the Editor:

Re: “Gov. Luis Fortuño Advocates for Puerto Rican Representation,” Opinion, March 9

As President of the National Youth Committee of Puerto Rico’s Popular Democratic Party (PDP) it is my duty to inform the truth behind Puerto Rico’s Governor Luis Fortuño’s speech at Cornell University. The event on Monday night, titled “The Road to Equality: Puerto Rico, The 51st State?,” intends to portray statehood as a goal shared by a majority of Puerto Ricans and promote a false self-determination bill presented in Congress.

On Feb. 12, 2008, President Barack Obama made clear his commitment to solving the issue of Puerto Rico’s status through a “deliberative, open and unbiased process …[recognizing] all valid options … including commonwealth, statehood and independence.”

The so-called “Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2009” (H.R. 2499) sponsored by Gov. Fortuño does not meet President Obama’s principles of fairness and neutrality. The bill is built to favor statehood through a two-round election. In the first election, advocates for statehood and independence face off against supporters of a commonwealth plan in a “yes-or-no” vote. In the statistically probable case that a commonwealth plan is defeated (52-48 based on previous plebiscite results), a second vote is warranted between the options of statehood (46.5 percent in 1998), and two forms of independence (3 percent in 1998). With “commonwealth” off of the ballot, statehood will triumph with an artificial super-majority.

This bill provides for an unjust, strategic and undemocratic process to decide a nation such as Puerto Rico’s future.

Pedro Diaz Santiago