Sabato, 22 Settembre, 2018

Puerto Rico Votes For Statehood In A Flawed Election

Puerto-Rican-Day-Parade-17 One woman celebrates as another gives a thumbs down as a float carrying Oscar Lopez Rivera passes. ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sveva Terracina | 21 Giugno, 2017, 09:27

She said the vote is a highly debated topic among Puerto Ricans, and brings feelings of anticipation, uncertainty, division, and hope.

The voter turnout was a fourth of what it normally averages, and The New York Times reported that many opposition parties sat out of the vote on the referendum due to the level of bias the referendum supposedly had towards becoming a state.

On the quaint and narrow streets of old San Juan people were divided over the three options they will face on Sunday's ballot: becoming a USA state; remaining a territory; or becoming an independent nation, with or without some continuing political association with the United States. The administration of Gov. Ricardo Rossello added it and sent the ballot back for review, but the department said it needed more time and asked that the vote be postponed, which it wasn't.

Turnout was low at some polling places, but that was not a problem 1,600 miles to the north, where tens of thousands turned out in New York City to celebrate Puerto Rico by dancing to salsa music and waving - or wearing - Puerto Rican flags.

"Today, we the people of Puerto Rico, are sending a strong and clear message to the world claiming our equal rights as American citizens", Governor Ricardo Rosselló said, calling it a "historic election".

"We have to vote because things are not going well", she said.

"Eight out of 10 voters went to the beach, went to the river, went to go eat, went to go hang out, went to church, but they sure didn't go out to vote", said opposition party leader Héctor Ferrer at a San Juan press conference according to NBC News.

Rossello has argued that statehood for Puerto Rico could help the island's economy.

Any decision on bestowing statehood on Puerto Rico would be taken by the US Congress, which has not endorsed the non-binding referendum and is unlikely to recognize the result.

The US Department of Justice in its letter pointed out that Puerto Ricans are US citizenship by birth, asking that the "potentially misleading" statement be removed. But they are not allowed to vote in presidential or congressional elections unless they reside in the mainland United States.


The sovereignty view is and has been a minority in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello campaigned previous year on holding a referendum.

The question of status is "fundamental" to breaking free from economic turmoil, said Christian Sobrino, chief economic advisor to the government.

"To not vote in a process that has not been validated by any party in Puerto Rico, or by the USA government or by anyone outside the New Progressive Party is to respect oneself", he tweeted on Saturday.

The status referendum is Puerto Rico's fifth since 1967.

More precisely, the Puerto Ricans have three options: independence, obtaining the status of an American state or maintaining the status that dates back from 1898.

Much of the debate is being driven by the island's deep recession, which has fueled debt and unemployment. That would render Washington at minimum partly responsible for Puerto Rico's debts.

Rossello has launched a drastic austerity regime to restore finances, but Washington still has the last word, via its oversight board.

At present it owes more than $122 billion in bonds and unfunded pension liabilities, twice the island's total economic output in a year.

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