Poor Puerto Rico, so close to the US, so far from God
UPR student demonstrators. (Check out the fine coverage on the issue by my smart friend, writer Ed Morales.) The White House's Interagency Task Force on Puerto Rico's status issued a report that answered some questions on the future relationship between the island and the US. The people of this enchanting Caribbean isle are still--500 years after a lost Columbus landed there and claimed it for the Spanish throne--trying to figure out its place in the world. It's a long report, but boiled down to: Don't get dressed, you ain't going no where..."no te vistas que no vas." The White House report confirms what the United Nations has been saying forever--PR is a colony. See Guam and DC. Yes, Ricans have fought in American wars since 1917, and many, many have died or come back from these conflicts limbless, maimed and with all sorts of mental health issues. Yes, Ricans vote in presidential elections, see the confusion in the 2008 primary but their elected Congressional Representative, is a non-voting member of the institution. Confused? Not alone. Many Americans are. But, this is Obama's attempt to fulfill a campaign promise. His Taskforce determined that it will take two plebiscites to figure out the island's future. Only residents of the island will get to vote. Taskforce co-chairs Tom Perelli, from the Department of Justice and Cecilia Muñoz, from the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs held a conference call which PR's main newspaper El Nuevo Dia printed in its entirety. By the way, neither chair would go on the record to say what will happen after the islanders make a decision - independence, statehood, or stay the same. The future of the island's status remains in Congress no matter what the voters decide. When I think of the island's political situation, I am always reminded of that famous Mexican saying, "Poor Mexico, so close to the US, so far from God."