Wednesday, November 7, 2012

About the status plebiscite held in PR on Nov 6, 2012

About the status plebiscite held in PR on Nov 6, 2012:  Most Commonwealth (status quo) supporters in PR believe that in 1950-52 when the present Commonwealth status was created, the Congressional Process and USA statements to the United Nations about it had the effect of actually removing Puerto Rico from under the Jurisdiction of the territorial clause, so that Puerto Rico is no longer a territory but a new kind of Political  entity within the US Federal system, with a political status that is equal to Statehood in dignity but different from it in its  unique blend of rights and obligations.

They believe that this New Kind of Political Status is not perfect  yet and suffer from what they called vestiges of colonialism.  So since  1953 they have been seeking to develop the Commonwealth status to its full potential as a new kind of political status within the USA Constitutional System.

Personally I do believe that it is still a territorial status, but the point is that  the Commonwealth status most status quo supporters  believe  in,  and seek to develop to its ultimate potential, was not included in the ballot.  So their leaders asked them to answer yes, or no to the first plebiscite question and  leave  the second question, where you have to choose  one of three "Non Territorial status options,"  blank.

Free Association supporters in PR, like myself, promoted a vote of No in the first question and a vote under ELA Soberano, free association, in the second one.

As you can imagine there was a lot of confusion.  So about 468,000 of those who supports the traditional Commonwealth status, simply took the ballot, went to the voting both, folded the ballot and place it in the corresponding box, to be counted.  That was their way of saying, I cannot vote for any of the options in this ballot because the option I have always supported and voted for, is not here.

If those blank ballots are counted as significant, then  Statehood won the majority vote, but only about 45 percent of the total vote in the plebiscite, which is the same percentage Statehood has gotten, every time that the traditional Commonwealth option is included in the ballot.  If the  468,000  empty ballots are not counted as significant, then Statehood got about 61 percent of the vote.

Evenmore if you consider  those 468,000 votes as votes for the traditional Commonwealth status and add them to the 436,000 actually caste for the ELA Soberano (sovereign Commonwealth) then  the Commonwealth (in its two variations) got about 900,000 votes, much more than the Statehood option.

Thus, this plebiscite was based upon a  confusing ballot, design, on purpose, by the ruling New Progressive Party to create the appearance of a landslide victory for Statehood.  On first sight they got what they wanted. After a deeper analyses, however, we see that Statehood still has the same percentage, about 45 percent or less of the total vote  that  it has always have.

President Obama and Congress have a choice: use this misleading plebiscite to impose statehood upon Puerto Rico, or discard it and design a better one.  One all Puerto Ricans may find fair, and true.

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