A recent poll conducted by El Nuevo Dia resulted in 65% support for Puerto Rican statehood, 28% against, and 7% unsure.
This “poll” reminds us of the old adage: “There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics.”
The owners of El Nuevo Dia, the Ferré family, are well-known supporters of the statehood option. In addition, the size and demographics of the sampling universe for this “poll” were not clearly announced.
Most significant of all, statehood for Puerto Rico is an illusion.
It is a pipe dream.
The PNP should stop smoking that pipe, and here is why…
THE UNITED STATES OF ATTITUDE
In 1898, when the US first occupied the island, this was their attitude…what some of the “best and brightest” had to say about Puerto Ricans:
“They’re a heterogeneous mass of mongrels…savages addicted to head-hunting and cannibalism.” (Senator William B. Bate )
“God made us adept at government so that we may administer amongst savages and senile people.” (Senator Albert J. Beveridge)
“Puerto Ricans are uneducated, simple-minded and harmless people who are only interested in wine, women, music and dancing.” (New York Times, 2/22/1899)
Over 100 years later, in 2015, when someone won a Powerball ticket in Puerto Rico – the racist insults lit up the internet.
A few weeks later Ann Coulter published Adios, America – portraying Latinos as rapists, murderers and welfare cheats – and the book was an instant New York Times best seller.
A few weeks after that Donald Trump announced his candidacy for US president, trashed Latinos, recited portions of Coulter’s book – and is now the GOP candidate.
It is therefore clear – after 118 years, on the most basic levels – that the US has not come very far. Significant numbers of “patriotic Americans” still view Puerto Ricans as foreigners, and somehow inferior to them. They won’t come out and say it: they’ll just read Ann Coulter, vote for Trump, and quietly resent us.
When the issue of statehood for Puerto Rico comes up, that resentment will express itself in two words: Hell, No!
Puerto Rican debt is popular on Wall Street because the bonds are “triple tax exempt.” Bondholders and investors don’t have to pay any federal, state or local taxes on them. This tax benefit would disappear if the island were to become a state: so Wall Street has no interest in Puerto Rican statehood.
Thanks to Citizens United v. FEC, it will hire lobbyists and give unlimited sums of money – over and under the table – to congress persons who will oppose it.
Controlled Foreign Corporations (CFCs) who use Puerto Rico as a tax shelter – allowing them to pay a 2 percent tax rate, rather than the US corporate rate of 35 percent – will also hire lobbyists and pay congress persons to oppose Puerto Rican statehood.
The unions in Jacksonville, the four Jones Act carrier companies – Horizon, Crowley, Sea Star, National – and the American Maritime Partnership will also hire lobbyists and buy congress persons to oppose Puerto Rican statehood…since statehood could eventually lead to Jones Act reform and an end to the Cabotage Law in Puerto Rico.
Consumer products companies – particularly Proctor & Gamble, Coca Cola, PepsiCo, and every car manufacturer – will also oppose any Jones Act reform, since this would end their 20% price inflation in Puerto Rico. All of these companies will hire lobbyists, to oppose Puerto Rican statehood.
With a population of 3.6 million, Puerto Rico would send two US senators and four or five congress persons to Washington, D.C.
All of them would be Democrats.
Do you think the Republican Party will allow that?
So the only time a “Statehood for Puerto Rico” bill would pass is during a perfect alignment of all the following:
Even then – with opposition from Wall Street, the Jones Act carrier companies, the consumer goods companies and car manufacturers, the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, the American Maritime Partnership, the Teamster and Longshoreman’s unions – this “perfect political alignment” would still not guarantee a congressional consensus for statehood.
Four or five states would have to give up a congressional seat, in order to accommodate the congressional delegation from Puerto Rico. Can you name even one state in the US, that would willingly give up a congressional seat?
PURO TEATRO…IN ORDER TO GET ELECTED
Thirty-six years ago the president of the Independence Party of Puerto Rico (PIP), Rubén Berríos, did something shocking: he told the world that the two major parties in Puerto Rico (PNP and PPD) were a complete fraud…because all their campaigns, and all their candidates, were based on one bi-polar question: whether or not Puerto Rico should be the 51st state of the United States.
But since the leadership of both parties knew that this was a practical impossibility (for all the reasons discussed in this article), then both the PNP and PPD were lying to the Puerto Rican people. They created a fake issue, in order to get elected.
In the words of La Lupe, it was all Puro Teatro.
Rubén Berríos was right. The “statehood question” is often used by people with no qualifications, political program or personal ethics, in order to get elected and put their entire family on the government payroll. This is part of the reason that Puerto Rico has 78 mayors, and a $72 billion public debt.
Here is that original speech from Rubén Berríos, as given in 1980:
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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