Monday, December 17, 2007

A Profile in Courage





By: Phillip Arroyo

Over the last 7 years we have all been bombarded by local, national and international press in regards to the war in Iraq, with objective as well as partialized viewpoints in terms of our armed forces’ necessity to continue fighting in a war which in the eyes of many has no ending on the horizon. The conflict in Iraq has undoubtedly divided a nation that was an example of Democracy throughout the world, bringing flashbacks to many Americans of the war in Vietnam during the 1960’s, a war that caused severe divisiveness which resembles many of the events we see today.

Yet, among all the ruckus, media frenzy, arguments and debates, rarely do we have the opportunity to learn of the brave men and women who have fought and continue to fight for our nation abroad, regardless of the relevancy of past and current military conflicts. These are citizens of a nation that do not hesitate to put their lives on the line for all of us in the name of freedom and democracy.




Today we will shed some light on a modern day hero from Puerto Rico named “Al” or “Junior” as he is known among friends, family and loved ones. Al enlisted in the Army at the young age of 17 as soon as he concluded his high school studies, claiming a patriotic vocation to serve his country and the opportunity to see the world as his premier reasons to join. Despite being rejected equal voting and representation rights as an American Citizen of Puerto Rico, due to the island’s current political status with the United States,(citizens of Puerto Rico are disenfranchised from our nation’s electoral process) he proudly served over 26 years in the United States Army Special Operations Command, an elite military division created under President Kennedy's administration. Among the many places of the world in which this highly decorated US soldier was stationed is North Carolina, Seattle, Washington, Georgia, South Carolina, Germany, most of Europe and Vietnam during the war.



We recently had the opportunity to speak with “Al” (now retired) at his Florida home, in order to have an up close and personal interview of his thoughts and views. At the moment of this interview we were helping “Al” put up an American flag pole in front of his Florida home.


1.) As a Puerto Rican, how do you feel after so many years of having served our nation? I feel very proud of the years I dedicated to the US armed forces. Throughout those years, I have made many friends, many of whom fought next to me at Vietnam, many of whom also died bravely in defense of freedom and democracy. As a Puerto Rican and also as an American I am proud to say that I retired knowing that I always gave 110% during my military career and in defense of our great nation.

2.) Did you ever encounter racial hardships during your 26 years in the military? Actually , yes I did. But to be honest throughout my 26 year career, I only faced 2 cases of racial hardships by some of my superiors. Nonetheless, those situations were both immediately solved resulting in them being dishonorably discharged from the Army. To be specific, those situations were triggered by racial slurs against Hispanics. (Laugh) Little did they know that I was an American Citizen just like them even though I was from Puerto Rico. So I never let their ignorance take control of my actions.




3.) How did you feel back in 1969 when you were in the Vietnam War as a US soldier from Puerto Rico? I remember being a little nervous on the flight to Vietnam but as soon as we touched down, I was ok. I knew I had a job to do and I was going to do it no matter what. I was no longer nervous or scared. I felt very good about myself while I was in Vietnam knowing that although there was controversy over the war as now with the war in Iraq, I knew that I was participating in a noble and necessary cause. On many nights alone in the jungle I would think about my family and friends back in Puerto Rico, I would think of my beautiful island of Puerto Rico and home cooking! (Laugh) I did get to see a lot of Vietnam ,a very poor country back then. One of my favorite moments was when I had the chance to attend sick or wounded children for they had no part in the war and yet many times were the most that suffered.

4.) What are your thoughts on the fact that despite having served so many years in the US forces, you still cannot vote for the commander chief, nor have equal political representation if you choose to return to Puerto Rico? I have always thought it was unfair. It hurt to know that I was risking my life for America and yet America would not and still does not return the favor by at least permitting all Puerto Ricans and me the opportunity to participate in the whole Democratic process as well as having equal representation in Congress. That is why I ask from the bottom of my heart to all members of Congress to support HR 900 the Puerto Rico Democracy Act. The time of equality has arrived. It’s time for our great nation to practice what it has preached for years.

5.) What was the Vietnam war like during your tour?

Bloody. Simple as that. The Vietnam war was one of the bloodiest wars in history. Many of my friends arrived at Vietnam with me, and never returned. Among those were many fellow Puerto Ricans . I think that was one of the hardest moments to endure during my tour in Vietnam, having a friend die in front of you and keep going. When I returned from the war I would suffer from bad dreams and would wake up sweating in my bed . As a matter of fact I still have those dreams , although not as often as before.




6.) How did your parents feel when you chose to become a US soldier? My mother was against it and my father did not mind. My father was a Police Officer in Puerto Rico and my mother sewed at a factory. They were obviously sad upon hearing of my decision, but immediately supported me. My father particularly supported me due to his political activism in Puerto Rico, he was a member of the Republican Statehood Party in Puerto Rico (now the New Progressive Party) and he believed that I was doing the right thing in defending our nation.

7.) How did Puerto Rican soldiers perform in the military during your 26 years of service? To be honest and impartial, I must tell you that at least during my years of service, Puerto Rican soldiers were among the sharpest, well dressed, clean cut and effective soldiers. As soon as I applied to the Special Ops I gave 100 percent and was immediately inserted after passing the vigorous training into confidential military missions and operatives.

8.) What were your goals during your career in the military? I always dreamed of reaching the rank of Command Sergeant Major, unfortunately I severely fractured my spinal cord during a routine training and was forced to retire after 26 years of service. Nonetheless, God works in mysterious ways, I had the opportunity to spend more time with my family, especially my sons during their high school years. I never missed a sporting event in which they participated. (laugh) I don’t think I would have been able to do that if I remained active in the Army.

9.) If you had the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States to discuss Puerto Rico’s political status dilemma, what would you say to him? I would say, “Look Mr. President, look at me, I may not look like it much now, but I was a Special Ops soldier that dedicated and risked his life for you , me, and our entire nation. There is a bit of unfinished business of Democracy in Puerto Rico that must be solved for the good of our nation’s image worldwide. The moment has come for a brave President to step up to the plate and dare to do the right thing and that’s to openly urge Congress to facilitate Puerto Rico with equality”


10.) If you had the opportunity to do it all over again, would you choose to be a US soldier? (While looking at the raised American flag in front of his home) In a heartbeat………. And if I would have been more informed politically regarding the travesty of political inequality in Puerto Rico, I STILL would have served our nation proudly.

- First Sergeant Al Arroyo Ramos was a brave US Army Special Operations Command soldier who fought in Vietnam as well as many classified military Operations. He is also my father…………..



Dad this one is for you…..

LA LUCHA POR LA IGUALDAD CONTINUARA………….

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

THE PROCESS TOWARDS STATEHOOD




By: FRANCISCO J. DOMENECH
DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE SERVICES PUERTO RICO LEGISLATURE AND DELEGATE TO THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE

Many of the myths in terms of the process for Puerto Rico to become the 51st state of the union is the attempt to inject fear as a counter to social progress due to the complexity of the process. Nonetheless, this process is a lot simpler than it seems.

Article IV, Section 3, of the Federal Constitution grants Congress the power to admit new states to the union. The Constitution does not define, nor specify, the conditions in which statehood is ceded to a territory. Thus, Congress has the liberty to determine the conditions for admission.

Historically, the process to follow for the granting of statehood is as follows: a majority of the population of the territory votes in favor of annexation; the territory petitions Congress to become a state; the territory constitutes its government in Republican form; then, the Federal House and Senate approve a joint resolution designating the territorial area as a state.



Finally, the President signs the joint resolution approving admission. To petition for statehood, a simple majority is needed, and not an absolute or super majority. In addition, Puerto Rico already has a republican system of government and a local constitution completely compatible with the federal constitution.

Those who oppose Puerto Rico statehood have argued that the amount of time that has passed since we were ceded through the Paris Treaty makes statehood impossible. Nonetheless, history has shown that a mere passing of time should not be an obstacle for statehood. There are a number of states that have delayed considerably in achieving statehood since having been designated territories, including during the expansionist process, like, for example, Alaska(92 years) and Oklahoma (104 years).

Therefore, the passing of time as a colony will not be an obstacle for the granting of statehood. Never in the history of the United States has a territory been denied its petition to become a state.

Puerto Rico becoming a state is simply a question of will.


EL PROCESO HACIA LA ESTADIDAD

Muchos de los mitos en cuanto al proceso para que Puerto Rico se convierta en un estado de los Estados Unidos tratan de impulsar el miedo a la complejidad del proceso como respuesta al porvenir. Sin embargo, ese proceso es más sencillo de lo que se pinta.

El Artículo IV, Sección 3, de la Constitución federal da al Congreso el poder de admitir nuevos estados a la Unión. La Constitución no define, ni especifica, las condiciones para otorgarle la estadidad a un territorio. Por tal razón, el Congreso tiene la libertad de determinar las condiciones para la admisión.

Históricamente, el proceso a seguir para la otorgación de la estadidad es el siguiente: la mayoría de la población del territorio vota a favor de la anexión; el territorio peticiona al Congreso convertirse en estado; el territorio constituye su gobierno según la forma republicana; luego, la Cámara y el Senado federal aprueban una resolución conjunta designando el área territorial como estado.

Y finalmente, el Presidente firma la resolución conjunta aprobando la admisión. Para peticionar la estadidad, sólo se requiere una mayoría de la población y no una mayoría absoluta o supermayoría. Además, ya Puerto Rico cuenta con un sistema republicano de gobierno y una constitución completamente compatible con la federal.

Algunos detractores de la estadidad para Puerto Rico han señalado que el lapso de tiempo que ha transcurrido desde que fuimos cedidos mediante el Tratado de París imposibilita la estadidad. Sin embargo, la historia nos dice que el mero transcurso del tiempo no debe ser obstáculo para la estadidad. Hay un sinnúmero de estados que se demoraron considerablemente en lograr la estadidad desde que los designaron territorios, incluso en pleno proceso expansionista, como, por ejemplo, Alaska (92 años) y Oklahoma (104 años).

Por tanto, el transcurso del tiempo como colonia no será obstáculo para la consecución de la estadidad. Nunca en la historia de los Estados Unidos se le ha denegado a un territorio su petición de convertirse en un estado.

El que Puerto Rico se convierta en estado es una cuestión de voluntad.

Monday, November 26, 2007

PR Young Dems participate in Remembrance of Labor Leader


By: Phillip Arroyo




On September 3rd, 2007 Puerto Rico Young Dems participated in a remembrance event for Puerto Rican Labor leader and father of the labor movement on the island, Santiago Iglesias Pantin. This event was organized by the Puerto Rico Senate and its President, the Honorable Kenneth McClintock Hernandez. Flower arrangements were presented and perched onto Santiago Iglesias's memorial statue just steps away from the Puerto Rico state capitol building. Santiago Iglesias Pantín (February 22, 1872 – December 5, 1939) was a Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, a "delegate" or nonvoting member to the United States House of Representatives.
Iglesias was born in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, where he attended the common schools, and was apprenticed as a cabinet maker. He moved to Cuba and was secretary of the Workingmen Trades Circle in Havana from 1889 to 1896.
Iglesias then moved to Puerto Rico, and was the founder and editor of three labor papers:
Porvenir Social (from 1898 to 1900)
Union Obrera (from 1903 to 1906)
Justicia (from 1914 to 1925)


He was appointed general organizer of the American Federation of Labor for the districts of Puerto Rico and Cuba in 1901, and he was a member of the Puerto Rican Senate from 1917 to 1933. In 1936, he was wounded during an assassination attempt by Puerto Rican Nationalist Party partisans.
Iglesias was elected as a Coalitionist Resident Commissioner on November 8, 1932, and was reelected in 1936 for the term ending January 3, 1941. He served in the 73rd, 74th, 75th, and 76th Congresses, from March 4, 1933 until his death.
He had three sons and eight daughters, including labor activist America Iglesias Thatcher.
Iglesias died in Washington, D.C., and was buried at the San Juan Cemetery, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Among the hundreds of people that assisted the event were representatives from all labor movements on the island including the Brotherhood of Teamsters, AFL-CIO, and Central Union of Puerto Rico Workers among others.

YDAPR Chapter Congressional District Representative Sammy Rodriguez, YDAPR Chapter Secretary Carlos Catala and YDAPR Press Secretary Carlos Ramos were on hand at this historic event in representation of all young Dems on the island and our nation. Sammy Rodriguez and Carlos Ramos are both members of the National YDA Labor Caucus.

PR Democrat Corner will continue to provide coverage on all of the pending and held Young Democrats of America Puerto Rico Chapter events.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Maggie Martinez announces US Senate Bid!


By: Phillip Arroyo


Magdalena "Maggie" Martinez will attempt to make history as the first Puerto Rican to be elected to the United States Senate. Martinez, an ex member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives from 1996 to 2000, now sets her sights on becoming a Senator for the great state of Georgia, after having lived there for the past 7 years. Maggie announced her run for the Senate earlier this month in Georgia, yet she made a second announcement in Puerto Rico today at the New Progressive Party headquarters in San Juan.



Among the ex state representative's plans if elected are the following, as expressed by herself:

Honest Government & Open Government
We will end the Republican culture of corruption and restore a government
as good as the people it serves, starting with real ethics reform.
I am committed to real ethics reform and meaningful campaign finance reform that
protect our rights and ensure that elected officials act ethically -- not just within the
law, but within the spirit of the law. I will make sure that an aggressive reform
package enters in effect to reverse Republican excesses and restore the public trust.
I am committed to immediate change to lead our country in a new direction, to put an
end to Republican business as usual, and to make certain that our nation's leaders
serve the people's interests, not special interests. For me, this commitment spans
our lifetime, as I am elected to represent the people in the U.S. Senate, not the
powerful.
My goal is to restore accountability, honesty and openness at all levels of
government. To do so, I will create and enforce rules that demand the highest ethics
from every public servant, cut unethical ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, and
establish clear standards that prevent the trading of official business for gifts.

Energy Independence
I will present bills and resolutions to study the possibilities for a cleaner,
greener and stronger America, by reducing our dependence on foreign oil,
eliminating billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings
to provide consumer relief and develop energy alternatives, and investing in
energy independent technology.
Energy independence puts America in the driver's seat to pursue affordable and
efficient energy solutions that will benefit all Americans, improve America's security,
reduce the burden on American families, and help clean our environment.
American families should not have to pay the price for a “failed national energy
policy”. They deserve an energy policy that creates a cleaner and stronger America
that reduces our dependence on foreign oil and also creates new jobs for American
workers. By clearing the pathways to innovation, investing in our workers and
infrastructure, and providing American consumers with broader, more responsible
choices, my ideas to study the problems the Americans confront will provide the tools
to help move America forward, toward real energy security for the 21st century.



Economic Prosperity and Educational Excellence
We will create jobs that stay in America and restore opportunity for all Americans, starting with raising the
minimum wage, expanding Pell grants and making college tuition tax deductible. We also believe in budget
discipline that reduces our deficit.
I believe that the most effective way to increase opportunity for our families is with a high-quality, good paying job. I
support fair trade agreements that raise standards for all workers here and abroad, while making American
businesses more competitive. We don’t believe in tax giveaways that reward companies for outsourcing, moving
American jobs overseas.
I believe in balancing budgets and paying down our national debt. Republicans continue to put huge burdens on
future generations by borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars from foreign nations; we want to restore the budget
discipline of the 1990s that helped eliminate deficits and spur record economic growth.
As a education advocate, I know that the key to expanding opportunity is to provide every child with a strong
foundation of education. We will also help expand educational opportunities for college by making college tuition tax
deductible, expanding Pell Grants, and cutting student loan interest rates. I will present a resolution to investigate the
reasons school tuition is so expensive, and I will look for other avenues to make education affordable and accessible
to everyone. It is unacceptable to see that approximatly only 25% of the nation's students graduate from college.
(Graduation 2007 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University).
I also want to make a commitment to review the Act "No Child Left Behind" and study the effects of this act in
education and its effectiveness.

Real Security
I will protect Americans at home and lead the world by telling the truth to our troops, our citizens and our
allies. We believe in a strong national defense that is both tough and smart, recognizing that homeland
security begins with hometown security.
As a Democrat I am committed to help establish a plan that is comprehensive, from repairing our military and winning
the war on terror, to protecting our homeland security and ensuring success in Iraq. We will finally prepare America
for the security needs of the 21st Century. We honor the sacrifices of our troops, their families and veterans by
taking good care of them when they come home. Democrats are unwavering in our commitment to keep our nation
safe. For me, homeland security begins with hometown security. That is why we led the fight to create the Department
of Homeland Security and continue to fight to ensure that our ports, nuclear and chemical plants, and other sensitive
facilities are secure. We support the increase in funding for our first responders and programs like COPS in order to
keep our communities safe. We want to close the remaining gaps in our security by enacting the 9/11 Commission
recommendations.

A Health care System that Works for Everyone
I will make sure we join the 36 other industrialized nations in making sure everyone has access to affordable
health care, starting by fixing the prescription drug program and investing in stem cell and other medical
research.
United States is one of the wealthiest, most powerful nations in the world, yet it lacks the ability to provide proper
health care for its own citizens. Health care is not affordable for families with low incomes. No one should have to
choose between taking her child to a doctor and paying the rent. Democrats are committed to making sure every
single American has access to an affordable and effective health care plan.
I want to help to fix the disastrous Medicare Part D and ensured that our seniors could afford their prescription drugs.
I also believe in investing in life saving stem cell and other medical research that offers real hope and treatment for
millions of Americans.

Secure Retirement
I will ensure and secure that a retirement with dignity is the right and expectation of every single American,
starting with pension reform, expanding saving incentives and preventing the privatization of social security.
I believe that after a life of hard work, Americans earn a secure retirement. My commitment to protecting the promise
of Social Security is absolute. I recognize that Americans rely on more than just Social Security for a secure and
dignified retirement. As a Democrat I will continue to fight for genuine pension reform that protects employees’
financial security from future Enron-style abuse. We also want to work on new ways to help hard-working Americans
create retirement savings.

Environment
I believe it is our responsibility to protect America's natural resources. The health of our families and the strength of
our economy depend on our stewardship of the environment. I reject the false choice between a healthy economy
and a healthy environment. Farming, fishing, tourism, and other industries require a healthy environment. New
technologies that protect the environment will create new high-paying jobs. A cleaner environment means a stronger
economy. Far too many Americans live in unhealthy environmental conditions. Not to mention the water and
resources crisis we are currently suffering. I will fight to strengthen the laws that ensure we have clean air to breathe
and clean water to drink. Also, by resolution I will ask the Natural Resources Committee to study the water crisis and
possibilities to prevent future problems, and to be vigilant that laws are enforced.
I know that a sensible energy policy is a key to a strong economy, our national security, and a clean environment. I
am committed to the next generation of affordable and renewable energy for the 21st century and to conservation
measures that will immediately reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Civil Rights & Justice
Democrats are unwavering in our support of equal opportunity for all Americans. That's why we’ve worked to pass
every one of our nation’s Civil Rights laws, and every law that protects workers. Most recently, Democrats stood
together to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. Also, I will be vigilant with the bill that creates the new immigration law
and make sure immigrants are not discriminated in the process.
On every civil rights issue, Democrats have led the fight. We support vigorous enforcement of existing laws, and
remain committed to protecting fundamental civil rights in America.

Election Reform
A fundamental tenet of our democracy is the right to vote and have that vote counted. I will be vigilant in protecting
this right and ensuring that our voting system is fair for every American.
I am determined to reform the voting system in this country so that it includes verification, accountability, and
accuracy. It is imperative that we modernize election equipment, and guarantee access to polls with common sense
reforms such as Election Day registration, shorter lines, and early voting. I am committed to election reform and will
fight for federal standards that restore confidence in our voting process.

PR Democrat Corner will update and cover each and every event of Maggie Martinez's run for the Senate in detailed fashion. www.maggieforcongress.com Stay Tuned!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Healthcare as a Constitutional Right Approved by the PR Senate!


By: Phillip Arroyo



On November 8th, 2007, Concurrent Senate Resolution 81, which would facilitate a state endorsed referendum to the people of Puerto Rico in order to elevate healthcare as a constitutional right in Puerto Rico, therefore amending the state constitution, was approved unanimously by the Puerto Rico Senate. This could be a very important step in finally making universal healthcare a reality on the island, especially when a considerate number of Puerto Rican families are unable to afford healthcare insurance due to the economic hardship the island is currently facing, as well as unequal treatment in federal programs such as Medicaid due to the island’s current political status.

At a moment when universal healthcare is a central topic of debate among our nation’s Presidential candidates, the fact that the Puerto Rico legislature has step up to the plate and moved this issue forward, has without a doubt brought hope to thousands of families in Puerto Rico that are desperately in need of quality healthcare. This piece of legislation sponsored by a group of New Progressive Party Senators and headed by Democratic ex governor Pedro Rossello, has secured the people of Puerto Rico with the opportunity to amend the island’s local constitution on May 4th, 2008 and finally establish healthcare as a right, NOT A PRIVILEGE.

This historic event will undoubtedly mark and define the well being of the island’s healthcare system for future generations in Puerto Rico. PR Democrat Corner will offer exclusive coverage on the day of such a historical referendum!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Meet John Edwards


By: Phillip Arroyo


Young, Charismatic, Good looking and from the south! Sounds like a southern Kennedy huh? Well, John Edwards may just be the Democratic Party's "South Factor" candidate who can very well pick up various red states in the south in route to bringing our party back to victory in 2008. Let us remember the fact that since John F. Kennedy's presidency, all elected Democrat Presidents were from the south. Lyndon B Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Bill Clinton were all from the south.



Many may argue that Edwards did not do so good in the south in his race for Vice President , by even losing his own state of North Carolina. Yet, let us remember that Senator Edwards' campaign may well have been shadowed by his Presidential running mate, Senator John Kerry. Now, in his campaign for President, his biggest obstacle seems to be in the fundraising area as he trails significantly behind both Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton. Yet, equipped with the all American image, a good campaign team, and a consistently appealing " roll up your sleeves and let's do it ourselves" message , only time will tell if John will be able to come out on top in the primary. If he does, there are few who doubt that he will most certainly be our next President, for his biggest obstacle seems to be the Democratic Party Primary.

2008 Democratic Primaries


By : Phillip Arroyo


As the 2008 Democratic Party primaries near, the entire country is in a buzz as to which of the top three Democratic Primary candidates will come out on top as the party's offical candidate for the presidential election next year! So far, the front runner of the race, Senator Hillary Clinton enjoys a comfortable lead in the vast majority of polls taken around our nation. Senator Barak Obama follows up in second and John Edwards in a consistent third. The Democratic Party's primary is undisputedly the more highly anticipated political showdown due to America's marked desire for change in 2008. Not only that, but the top three candidates' "rockstar" image statuses have many projecting a very high primary voter turnout, with young people who have consistenly voted Democratic in the past two elections leading the charge! Ex first lady, Senator, and possibly our first female President Hillary Clinton; Senator Barak Obama , potentially our first African American President and Senator John Edwards who may very well be our "South Factor" Horse. I mean, it's a little hard to NOT be excited when our party enjoys such a diverse lineup in Edwards, Obama and Clinton!

On the "other side", candidates Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson lead most polls as the top Republican primary candidates for the GOP nomination. Nonetheless, many political observers see Rudy Guiliani as the GOP's only hope against ANY of the Democratic Party candidates, this due in part of the former mayor's recognition factor after the 9/11 aftermath and his appeal to many registered Democratic voters in New York who have in the past voted for him.

So, among Senators Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama and John Edwards; which of these three have a better shot at leading our party to victory over the GOP in 2008?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

HR 900 NOW IN PELOSI'S HANDS!!!


By: Phillip Arroyo

As expected, the Puerto Rico Democracy Act was approved unanimously with an amendment by the House Committee on Natural Resources on October 23rd, 2007. The amendment inserted into the piece of legislation states that in the event of the Puerto Rican people deciding to finish with its current territorial status, a second vote will be held in Puerto Rico to decipher whether a referendum is held in where the people would vote directly among non territorial options or if a Constitutional Assembly on Status would be formed to delegate Puerto Rico’s political destiny into the hands of the island’s local politicians, instead of through a direct vote from each and every registered voter on the island. Said amendment has seemed to satisfy the local Popular Democratic Party which supports the continuation of the Status Quo, which leaves many to believe that the amendment definitely represents the political “consensus” that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has demanded.

Nonetheless, the future luck of the Puerto Rico Political Status Bill, HR 900, adopted by the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives seems to now depend on Speaker of the House , Nancy Pelosi.
In the middle of last week, Pelosi met with democratic leaders of Congress –including the three Puerto Rican members of Congress - to notify them that if a Bill of “consensus” was not materialized she would not facilitate a vote on HR 900 to be taken on the floor of the House, according to various legislative resources. The Speaker’s office has avoided, for the moment, to precise if the amendments made to HR 900 on Tuesday within the Committee of Natural Resources has managed to forge that consensus. Pelosi’s only statement regarding this issue was through her spokesperson , made on Monday, October 22nd, 2007, on the eve of the Committee markup.

Pelosi expressed through her spokesperson , Drew Hammill, that a Bill of “consensus” would have to be made in order to proceed with the legislative process regarding said measure.

But, congresswoman Nydia Velázquez –considered one of Pelosi’s main allies– as well as Luis Gutiérrez have ruled out in the last hours that the amendment inserted into the legislation regarding the Constitutional Assembly of Status as an additional mechanism, represents the “consensus” Pelosi requested. “ Last week’s meeting "was very intense", one of the participants said, indicating as an example the anger of Velázquez with the Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Nick Rahall (Virginia Western).

After the meeting, Rahall and Puerto Rican congressman José Serrano -main author of the original HR 900- agreed to seek the integration of the Constitutional Assembly to the Substitutive Measure that was discussed on October 23rd, 2007.

The fact of the matter is that after watching how the local Popular Democratic Party (PDP) leaders were celebrating the inclusion of their amendment to HR 900 that includes their Status resolving mechanism, there should be no reason for them to now not support HR 900 and urge Speaker Pelosi to permit the Puerto Rico Democracy Act to be brought to the House floor for a final vote. It is important to note that a vast majority of House Democrats and a significant number of House Republicans who in the past were against any type of self determination process for Puerto Rico now support the Puerto Rico Democracy Act.

Therefore, bringing HR 900 to the House floor for a vote is the only logical and right course to take. It is important for all of us to immediately contact our Representatives and urge them to support HR 900 and to let Pelosi know that the time has come to let the Puerto Rican people decide once and for all their political fate. For years, Congress has utilized the evasive slogan, “Let the Puerto Rican people decide” when questioned of Congress’s responsibility to solve Puerto Rico’s century old political dilemma . Well, the time has come for Congress to LET the people of Puerto Rico decide. Let’s solve this issue once and for all, the good old fashioned democratic way. BRING HR 900 DOWN FOR A VOTE!!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Senator and Presidential Candidate Barak Obama to visit Puerto Rico!


By: Phillip Arroyo



In what many political analysts consider an interesting move, Senator and Presidential candidate Barak Obama is supposedly said to be visiting Puerto Rico on November 5th, 2007. Although at the moment of this publication, the Senator's visit to the "island of enchantment" is not yet official, it is interesting to see how one of our Democratic Party's superstars may be visiting Puerto Rico in search of support for his campaign.

It is important to point out that the 4 million American citizens of Puerto Rico are disenfranchised and therefore restrained from equal participation in the Presidential election.

Senator Obama's visit to Puerto Rico may be an attempt to garner support among the Puerto Rican constituency that resides in New York, home state of Hillary Clinton, which could trigger a nearby visit of the ex-First Lady shortly after Obama's visit.

Puerto Rico Democrat Corner will offer updates on Senator Barak Obama's possible visit to Puerto Rico and exclusive coverage!

Puerto Rico Senate President on CNN defending HR 900 THE PUERTO RICO DEMOCRACY ACT!

By : Phillip Arroyo


Puerto Rico Senate President Kenneth McClintock during a televised interview concerning HR 900 the Puerto Rico Democracy Act on CNN en Espanol.

Puerto Rico Senate President Kenneth McClintock's Testimony on HR 900!




On October 23rd, 2007 the President of the Puerto Rico State Senate and National Committeeman for Puerto Rico to the DNC testified before the White House Task Force on Puerto Rico's Political Status:

Statement of the President of the Senate of Puerto Rico
The Honorable Kenneth D. McClintock
before the White House Task Force on Puerto Rico's Political Status
October 23, 2007
Washington DC


On behalf of my constituents, as well as my colleagues in the Senate of Puerto Rico, I am grateful to you for including the Senate in your current deliberations.

I propose to manifest my gratitude by being as succinct and as straightforward as my thirty-seven years in passionate politics will permit.

To date, this Task Force has performed admirably.

Each of you has many other duties. Yet you have taken the time to grapple earnestly and effectively with what entirely too many of this city’s movers and shakers have perennially deemed to be “a boring, complicated back-burner issue.”

Your conscientious efforts are making an impact. President Bush, like President Clinton before him, is to be commended for recognizing that it is this Nation’s duty to encourage the extension of full democratic rights to nearly four-million disenfranchised American citizens that reside in the Island of Enchantment.

The past two Administrations likewise merit commendation for recognizing that the American citizens of Puerto Rico should be entitled to participate fully in the enfranchisement process – by opting at the ballot box for U.S. statehood, for independence, for nationhood in free association with the United States, or for an indefinite continuation of territorial status.

As you prepare to present your biennial report “on progress made in the determination of Puerto Rico’s ultimate status,” I am pleased to offer the following thoughts for your consideration.

The issuance of the Task Force’s December 2005 Report led to immediate and substantive action. Three legislative proposals were filed in Congress last year, and three this year. It also led to hearings in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives committees of jurisdiction, Energy and Natural Resources and Resources (now Natural Resources) respectively, on the Task Force Report last year and a hearing in the House committee on the two bills in the House this year.



One of the current bills, H.R. 900, sponsored by Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY) with Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño (R-PR) and 128 other House Members, including committee Chairman Nick Rahall and Ranking Minority Member Don Young, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Minority Whip Roy Blunt, would provide for most of the Puerto Rican status choice process suggested by the Task Force in its 2005 Report –
- Puerto Ricans would vote not later than 2009 on whether they want the present unincorporated territory status to continue or to seek a status other than territory not incompatible with the Constitution of the United States.
- If they vote for territory status to continue, there would be further votes on the question every 10 years to ensure that they have a regular opportunity and established process for seeking a status that provides for a democratic form of government at the national government level.
- If they at some time vote to seek a status other than territory, they would vote on their preference among all of the other real options, i.e., statuses recognized by the Government of the United States which have substantial support in Puerto Rico – U.S. statehood, independence and nationhood in a free (voluntary) association with the U.S.
- When a majority choose one of these options, the President’s Task Force would report to Congress on the measures that would need to be taken to implement the selected status.
As you might be aware, a substitute of H.R. 900 was being marked-up this morning.
A similar bill was introduced last year by Res. Comm. Fortuño with Rep. Serrano and 109 other House Members. Chairman Rahall and Leader Hoyer have indicated that they expect the House to act on the substitute to H.R. 900 in the very near future.
A bill by Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO), Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) and 13 other senators, S. 1936, would provide for a plebiscite among all of Puerto Rico’s options – continuing the present status, statehood, independence, and nationhood in a free association with the U.S. The bill would not follow the process suggested by the Task Force but it would provide for Puerto Ricans to

determine their status preference among all of their real options as suggested by the Task Force. It does not, however, include an important element of an informed choice, an explanation of the nature of the status, in the case of one of the options, the present status (territory).
Senate committee staff have indicated that they expect S. 1936 and a House-passed bill to be considered. The Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the Senate committee, Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici, expressed general agreement with the 2005 Report.
Governor Acevedo has lobbied against the legislation suggested by the Task Force, including another U.S. Senate bill last year that would have implemented the Task Force’s recommendation for initial legislation: a bill that would provide for a plebiscite between continuing territory status and seeking a status other than territory. The bill was sponsored by Sens. Martinez and Salazar and 12 other senators.
The bills sponsored by Sens. Martinez and Salazar, Rep. Serrano, and Res. Comm. Fortuño and others have been favorably commented on by leaders of a majority of Puerto Rican voters, including advocates of independence, free association, and statehood, an overwhelming majority of Puerto Rico’s legislature, and a majority of its mayors. But Gov. Acevedo and allies have objected to the Task Force’s 2005 Report, the bills based on it, and the new Senate bill, which eliminated all of Acevedo’s objections to the bills based on the Task Force report.
One of Gov. Acevedo’s objections to the Task Force report and the bills based on it is that he disputes that Puerto Rico is subject to federal powers under the Territory Clause of the Constitution of the United States, although the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice and State Departments, House and Senate, successive presidents from both national parties, Government Accountability Office, and Congressional Research Service have all determined Puerto Rico to be subject to the authority.
Another of Gov. Acevedo’s objections is that a majority of Puerto Ricans would vote for a status other than territory. He is concerned that such a vote would lead to: a choice by Puerto Ricans among all of the real options -- independence, nationhood in a free association with the U.S., and U.S. statehood; in such a choice, I am convinced by past voting results that Puerto Ricans would choose statehood; and his proposed governing arrangement, the “Development of the


Commonwealth”, would not be an option. He has made this complaint with respect to both legislation that would provide for the choice, including H.R. 900, and legislation that would not, such as the bill that Sens. Martinez, Salazar, and others introduced last year.
Under Gov. Acevedo’s “Commonwealth” proposal, the United States would supposedly be permanently bound to Puerto Rico and to a covenant with Puerto Rico with the following among other elements: Puerto Rico would be empowered to nullify the application of federal laws and court jurisdiction and to enter into trade and other international agreements and organizations States cannot. The United States would be permanently obligated to: replace tax exemptions for income that companies based in the States or the District of Columbia attribute to manufacturing in Puerto Rico repealed from 1993-2005; grant a new subsidy to the Commonwealth government; and continue to grant free entry to any goods shipped from Puerto Rico, all current assistance to Puerto Ricans; and U.S. citizenship to all persons born in Puerto Rico. This proposed unprecedented governing arrangement was rejected by the Clinton Administration for constitutional and other basic U.S. policy reasons, all Members of Congress who have commented on it, and the Congressional Research Service as well as by the Task Force and the Bush Administration as a whole. I think you would agree with me, that if the Federal Government were to accept this proposal, our Nation would have an additional fifty (50) new “enhanced commonwealths”.
Sen. Salazar modified last year’s Senate bill to provide for a choice among all of Puerto Rico’s options in response to a suggestion by Gov. Acevedo that he would support such a choice. The present status was also not identified as a territory in deference to Acevedo. Gov. Acevedo, however, has criticized S. 1936 because it would enable Puerto Ricans to choose one of the territory’s options, nationhood in a free association with the U.S. Free association is supported by an increasing number of members of his political party. He is also unhappy that it does not include his “Enhanced Commonwealth” proposal.
One of Gov. Acevedo’s strategies for blocking legislation to enable the people of Puerto Rico to democratically determine their status preference, has been to get some Members of Congress to sponsor a bill for a constitutional convention in Puerto Rico so that delegates elected to the convention choose the status preference of the people of Puerto Rico as a whole among three status proposals, statehood, independence, and a “New Enhanced Commonwealth status”, under which Puerto Rico would not be a territory. The bill, H.R. 1230, has been sponsored by Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), John Duncan (R- TN), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and 44 others. It would ostensibly require Congress to implement the selected status if the convention’s choice is

ratified in a Puerto Rico referendum, although it would provide for a new convention proposal if Congress does not implement its first proposal. It would also exclude Puerto Rico’s present status and free association as options. The bill would not be consistent with the Task Force’s December 2005 Report and recommendations and could not resolve Puerto Rico’s democracy issue because of the bill’s non-territory “New Enhanced Commonwealth status” option, being a constitutional impossibility, intended to be Gov. Acevedo’s impossible proposed governing arrangement. Chairman Rahall and Leader Hoyer do not expect the bill to be passed. Sen. Burr (R-NC) and three other senators and Rep. Duncan and 42 other House Members introduced a similar bill last year.
This bill would be the most undemocratic process to implement for the people of Puerto Rico, because it would essentially hand the decision to an elite group of delegates, instead of a direct popular vote. This in a jurisdiction that consistently has an 85% voter turnout in every election. I can honestly say that my constituents would see a federally enacted self determination process as the most important electoral event in the history of Puerto Rico, and therefore should not be denied a direct vote on the status proposal.
On another note, Gov. Acevedo has said that he planned to tell you that, if you maintain the same position you took in your 2005 Report regarding the nature of Puerto Rico’s status -- i.e., that it is an unincorporated territory -- the State Department should tell the U.N. that the U.S. deceived the international community in 1953. He further asserted that the position was “historical revisionism” and “reinvention.”
This repeats what Gov. Acevedo and his representatives told the Task Force and the State Department and U.N. Mission officials prior to the 2005 Report, and it has no more validity today than it did then when serious consideration of Gov. Acevedo’s extensive arguments in this regard led to their ultimate rejection.
That Puerto Rico is subject to federal authority under the Territory Clause of the Constitution cannot really be doubted. The bill approved by the House Resources Committee this morning states that Puerto Rico is a territory. Legislation approved by the House as a whole has as well. The Senate committee considers Territory Clause powers to apply as have successive presidents. The Supreme Court, Justice and State Departments under successive administrations – including in litigation, Government Accountability Office, and



the Congressional Research Service have all specifically determined that the powers apply. And a number of members of Gov. Acevedo’s “commonwealth” party have accepted this. The member of his party who helped write the 1950 and 1952 laws providing for the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the constitution, and the 1953 presentations at the U.N., the late Counsel to Governor Muñoz-Marín, Attorney General, and Puerto Rico Supreme Court Chief Justice, José Trías Monge, wrote a book entitled, “PUERTO RICO: The Trials of the Oldest Colony of the Word” later in his career.
Moreover, the federal government has never maintained that Puerto Rico was not subject to Territory Clause powers – and even if individuals left anyone with the contrary impression in 1953, the U.S. now does not need to and should not clarify those statements to the U.N.
All of the authoritative statements on the legislation that provided for the territorial constitution – by the House and Senate committee reports, the executive branch report, the testimony of Puerto Rico’s governor and resident commissioner – said that the legislation would not change Puerto Rico’s fundamental relationship to the U.S., i.e. that of unincorporated territory. At the request of the governor at the time, the U.S. told the U.N. in 1953 that Puerto Rico had an elected local government conducting local affairs under a local constitution and merely asked the U.N. to take Puerto Rico off the list of non self-governing territories for which countries had to report annually. The U.S. did not say Puerto Rico was no longer a territory, and federal officials specifically rejected the governor’s request that it be said Puerto Rico was not.
Interestingly, the U.N. subsequently identified the three full-self-government statuses to which territories can aspire -- and Puerto Rico is certainly not in any of these statuses which are, in U.S. terms statehood, independence, and nationhood in a unilaterally-terminable association with another nation. These are the status alternatives to territory status recognized in the 2005 report and other federal actions. I will be more than happy to correct any other misleading contentions by Gov. Acevedo of which I become aware.
To be clear, the Governor’s real intentions are that the Federal government and the Congress do nothing about defining the status of Puerto Rico. In this regard, the Governor is not acting upon the wishes and aspirations of our constituents, as it is clear by the support that the non-territorial options have, that a majority of Puerto Ricans want to change our present relationship to a more democratic one. If the Federal government and Congress do not act, Governor Acevedo wins. There is nothing to be done to accommodate the Governor which will

render his support for any real solution to our problem. As you have noted from my statement, many members of Congress and this Administration have tried to find some common ground with Governor Acevedo, but to no avail. I urge you to not allow that a minority stop the aspirations of a majority. That is not the way we do things under the American flag.
In summary and in closing, I respectfully submit the following three recommendations.

Recommendation Number One…

I urge the Task Force to propose that the Administration formally commit itself to supporting the inclusion of free association as one viable option.

Your December 2005 report recognized free association as a potential option, but it went no further; instead, it left the viability of free association entirely to the discretion of the President and the Congress.

In my estimation, there is no compelling reason why the Task Force should not express itself more emphatically. You have the necessary expertise, as well as the moral authority. An explicit declaration by the Task Force would assist the Executive and Legislative leadership in reaching a sound decision on the matter.

• President Clinton deemed free association to be viable, as did a measure that passed the House of Representatives in 1998.

• Senator Salazar’s pending bill embraces a free association option, as have the lead sponsors of the House committee bill – Representative Serrano and Resident Commissioner Fortuño.

• As the 2005 report stated, free association is the option that most closely resembles the incumbent governor’s so-called “New Commonwealth” concept. Moreover, free association enjoys influential and growing support among the membership of the political party that is headed by the current governor.

• Also, free association is an option recognized under international law, through United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1541-XV of December 15, 1960.

• And the United States already maintains free-association compacts with three insular areas in the western Pacific Ocean. Puerto Rico’s ties to the United States are both older and closer than those of that trio, so Uncle Sam should


certainly be at least as forthcoming to Puerto Rico as it has been to them. For example, population factors should pose no barrier in that regard.

Recommendation Number Two…

It would be constructive if your forthcoming progress report contained an endorsement of bills now pending in both houses of Congress. With respect to the mission of the Task Force, I believe that S. 1936 – as well as the substitute bill to H.R. 900 – is worthy of your support.

Recommendation Number Three…

Forthright and unequivocal though they be, your written words may no longer suffice. As this historic endeavor approaches a potentially decisive stage, I therefore urge that you exhort the Administration and the President to play a more active role. The time, I believe, has come for pertinent Executive Branch officials, and the President, to contact their Congressional allies and vigorously advocate the enactment of legislation that will implement the findings of the Task Force.

On that note, I shall close and make myself available for any questions.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Francisco Domenech (YDA DNC MAN) Speech at YDA National Convention in Dallas , Texas



By: Phillip Arroyo

On July 21st, 2007 Francisco Domenech gave his acceptance speech as new National Committeeman of the Young Democrats of America to the DNC. During his speech, this up and rising Democratic star magnifies and highlights the significant contributions young people across our entire nation have made to our party and ultimately to our nation.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More than Heroes, Less than Citizens


By: Phillip Arroyo


Upon recent days as I grabbed the daily paper on my way to work, I was staggered and dismayed to once again read of yet another Puerto Rican American life lost at the expense of the war in Iraq. Having been raised in Fayettteville, North Carolina during my elementary school years, a son of a Green Beret Special Forces soldier, I used to always feel proud to see my father arrive from work everyday. I remember him carrying me in his arms, while I stared at him, clutching on to his dog tags in curiosity. I always felt like I had a superhero as a father when I was a kid, and in way he is, because he served our country proudly and was always willing to put his life on the line for our great nation.


Nonetheless, as I grew up and began satisfying and quenching my thirst for knowledge, I began to reach some startling conclusions in terms of Puerto Rico's relationship with the United States. Slowly and surely I started to learn about how the Puerto Rican people and Puerto Rican soldiers' political rights as American citizens were shortchanged by the very nation that sent them to war in defense of the "freedom and democracy" that our nation now preaches in Iraq. The fact that thousands of Puerto Rican soldiers have been desenfranchised from our nation's political decision making process despite having American citizenship and more importantly despite the fact of fighting overseas, should be an embarrassment for the United States worldwide. As our island's ex democratic governor, Carlos Romero Barcelo once said, " It is like preaching in your underwear, to talk about bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq and at the same time have 4 million disenfranchised American citizens in Puerto Rico."


I am without a doubt proud to be a part of the United States of America, and I still believe that it is the greatest nation in the world in terms of its structure of democracy, yet there are some imperfections in our system that must be remedied and can never be overlooked. The 4 million American citizens of Puerto Rico deserve the political and socioeconomic equality that our nation's 50 states enjoy. For years, members of Congress have looked the other way, concentrated more on their districts and as many of them have evasively expressed, "Let the Puerto Rican people decide." Ironically, Congress has NEVER facilitated the people of Puerto Rico with a federally sponsored self determination process for them to finally decide, once and for all, their political fate.........Until now!


A piece of legislation coauthored by Puerto Rican Democratic Congressman Jose Serrano (NY) HR 900 proposes a federal sanctioned self determination process to be executed via direct vote during a status plebiscite to be held in 2009. As we speak, votes are being lobbied within the House Sub Committee on Energy and a markup is rumored to me made on October 23rd, 2007. If this measure is brought to the House and Senate floor and approved, Puerto Rico will then have the final say in regards to their political future with the United States. That moment is nearer than ever. It is now time for our nation's leaders to finally exclude the common political rhetoric of the past to evade Puerto Rico's political status issue. It is their golden opportunity to follow their hearts on this very important issue, for the vast majority our members of Congress know that Puerto Rico's current political status is unfair and unjust. Supporting HR 900 is just plain and simply the right thing to do!


All of us as American citizens should lead the voice in support of this legislation and in support of equality among all American citizens. Civil rights and political leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln were great leaders becauseue they followed their hearts on what they knew was the right thing to do. America needs more leaders like them to restablish America's image worldwide. Our fallen Puerto Rican American soldiers do not deserve less. Let us never forget what they stood for and what they died for. They were more than heroes, but less than citizens....................................



video

EL PLAN CLINTON




Por José Delgado/ Desde Washington
Con la aspiración de la demócrata Hillary Clinton cada vez más sólida, ya hay conjeturas sobre su política pública presidencial hacia Puerto Rico.
Clinton -según la última encuesta de la cadena de televisión ABC- ha ampliado su liderazgo sobre sus dos principales opositores demócratas, el senador Barack Obama (Illinois) y el ex senador John Edwards (Carolina del Norte).
Clinton tiene el 53% de apoyo de demócratas y electores independientes inclinados a votar por demócratas, frente a 20% de Obama y 13% de Edwards; y aventaja a los aspirantes republicanos.
Las primarias empiezan en enero, pero la ventaja de Clinton puede inspirar a estadistas y estadolibristas de la Isla a acercarse temprano a la senadora.

Ya varias figuras cercanas a la política boricua la apoyan, incluidos los congresistas por Nueva York José Serrano y Nydia Velázquez; el empresario autonomista Miguel Lausell; y el senador demócrata Robert Menéndez, aliado del gobernador Aníbal Acevedo Vilá.
Clinton fue coautora en 2006 del proyecto 2661 que promovió una consulta federal para que la Isla pudiera seguir con la actual relación territorial o encaminarse hacia un status permanente.
En 2007, Clinton ha estado al margen y no ha respaldado el proyecto 1936 del demócrata Ken Salazar (Colorado) que busca un plebiscito de cuatro opciones.
Fuentes demócratas prevén que Clinton seguirá más o menos la misma política pública en torno al status político isleño que tuvo el pasado aspirante presidencial demócrata John Kerry.
Kerry presentó un plan que perseguía encaminar a la Isla hacia la estadidad o la independencia.
Pero, cuando Menéndez -entonces congresista pero aún así la principal voz hispana en la campaña presidencial demócrata de 2004-, mantuvo que Kerry también creía que el Estado Libre Asociado debería seguir siendo opción para Puerto Rico nadie lo contradijo.
Candidata al fin, Clinton buscará apoyo estadista y estadolibrista.
Y con arquitectos importantes de la agenda boricua de la campaña de 2004 ya aferrados a su comité electoral, pocos cambios pueden esperarse, en estas presidenciales, del plan 2008 si Clinton es la candidata.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

PEDRO PIERLUISI (D)


PEDRO PIERLUISI (D )
Pedro R. Pierluisi Urrutia (born 1959) is a lawyer and politician affiliated with the New Progressive Party (PNP) and the United States Democratic Party. He is currently running for the office of Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico to the United States Congress in upcoming 2008 elections.




Mr. Pierluisi was born in 1959 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He attended Colegio Marista of Guaynabo, graduating in 1977. In 1981, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History from Tulane University, and later received a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from George Washington University in 1984. While in George Washington University, he was President of the George Washington University International Law Society from 1982-1983.
Pierluisi first practiced law as a private attorney in Washington, D.C. from 1984 until 1990. Notably, Mr. Pierluisi was one of the lead attorney's representing the government of Peru in its lawsuit against the Hunt brothers for trying to corner the silver market in the late 1970's. The lawsuit resulted in a $180 million damages award for the plaintiff. He then practiced law in Puerto Rico from 1990 until 1993. He is married to María Elena Carrión and has three sons and a daughter.


In 1993, recently elected Governor of Puerto Rico Pedro Rosselló appointed Pierluisi Secretary of Justice (Attorney General) of his new administration. The Senate of Puerto Rico unanimously confirmed him. As Secretary, Pierluisi presided over 500 prosecutors and recruited 50 additional prosecutors for the Puerto Rico Department of Justice, attained a level of criminal convictions in court of up to 96% of cases, increased prosecution of cases referred by the Office of the Puerto Rico Controller by 400%, and increased referrals to the Puerto Rico Special Independent Prosecutor by 50%. In 1994, Pierluisi worked with President Bill Clinton's administration in promoting what eventually became the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Unfortunately, Pierluisi's own brother, José Jaime Pierluisi, also an economic productivity advisor to Governor Rosselló, suffered a carjacking and was murdered outside his home on June 7, 1994.

On November 2, 1994, Pierluisi and the Rosselló Administration achieved Puerto Rico's designation as the United States' seventh High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which enabled Puerto Rico to receive millions of dollars in funding to stem drug trafficking in Puerto Rico. He also served as Vice President of the Interagency Office of HIDTA. He was also active in the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and was elected Chair of the Eastern Region in 1996.

Pierluisi served as Secretary of Justice until his resignation in late 1996 following Governor Rosselló's reelection.




Pierluisi returned to private practice in 1997 as an attorney in the Puerto Rico law firm O'Neill & Borges. At O'Neill & Borges, Pierluisi's practice concentrated in complex commercial and construction litigation, alternative dispute resolution and legislative and regulatory affairs. In addition, he served as Director of the University of Puerto Rico Foundation (1997-2001) and Director of the Puerto Rico Homebuilders Association (1993-2003). Pierluisi also worked as Director of the José Jaime Pierluisi Foundation, dedicated to the memory of his slain brother, and was its president from 2003-2006. He also worked as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association's International Centre for Dispute Resolution and for the New York Stock Exchange during this time.

On May 18, 2007, Pierluisi announced his candidacy for Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico to the United States Congress in the November 2008 elections. He will accompany current Resident Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Luis Fortuño in a primary ticket. The only other pro-Fortuño leader being mentioned for the post, Senate President Kenneth McClintock announced on May 18, 2007 his decision not to run for elective office in 2008, thus paving the way for a unification of all pro-Fortuño voters behind Pierluisi's bid for office. Fortuño was a classmate at Colegio Marista (coincidentally, Pierluisi and McClintock are both Tulane University alumni and, along with Fortuño, founding members of the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association in 1979) and also a fellow cabinet member of Pierluisi's during Governor Rosselló's first term from 1993-1996. They both face an NPP primary election in March 2008 against other candidates. The winners of the primary will then represent the NPP in the general November 2008 elections.

THE COMEBACK KID



CHARLIE RODRIGUEZ ( D )



Charlie Rodríguez is a Puerto Rican Democrat politician affiliated with the New Progressive Party (PNP). He was the eleventh President of the Senate of Puerto Rico from 1997 until 2000.



After two terms as a member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, he ran for mayor of Carolina in 1988 and was defeated by José Aponte De la Torre in a close race. After four years in private practice, he returned to the Capitol in 1993 as a senator at-large and became Senate Majority Leader.



Rodriguez successfully challenged Senate President Roberto Rexach Benitez in 1997 and unseated him to become the eleventh President of the Senate of Puerto Rico.
Rodriguez then sought the NPP nomination for Mayor of San Juan in the 1999 primary. Rodriguez was the choice of the NPP leadership, but then San Juan Senator Jorge Santini challenged him in primaries held in 1999. Rodriguez lagged behind in polls and Santini soundly defeated Rodriguez by a wide margin. Santini went on to win the mayor's office in the 2000 elections.



Rodriguez sought the NPP nomination for Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico for the 2003 primary but placed third in a four-way race, obtaining less than 8% of the vote against eventual Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño (r) and two other losing candidates
After three decisive defeats, Rodriguez aspires to become the NPP's comeback kid, once again seeking the NPP nomination for Resident Commissioner and claiming to be Pedro Rossello's preferred choice for running mate. As part of his efforts to be seen as Rossello's preferred choice, he joined the former governor in a protest at Organization of American States (OAS) headquarters in Washington DC .



Rodriguez' opponents are Dr. Miriam Ramírez, (R) the only candidate in the 2003 ( NPP) primary that obtained fewer votes than Rodriguez and former Puerto Rico Attorney General Pedro Pierluisi.
As of today, October 10th, 2007, Mr. Rodriguez has not received an open and public endorsement from the NPP's Democratic candidate for Governor Pedro Rossello, despite claiming that he has Rossello's support. Ricardo Rossello, the former Governor's son has recently openly endorsed Charlie.


Rodríguez is married to Katherine Erazo, with whom he's fathered three daughters, Nicole, Valerie and Christine.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

MEET PUERTO RICO DEMS RUNNING FOR CONGRESS

THE PRIMARY RACE IS
ON!!!!!

By: Phillip Arroyo














From left to right: Pedro Pierluisi (D) , Charlie Rodriguez (D) and Alfedo Salazar (D).

The coming editions of 'Puerto Rico Democrat Corner' will feature an up close and personal view of Puerto Rico Dems running for the single coveted At -Large non voting seat on Capitol Hill to proudly represent the people of Puerto Rico . No where else on the web will you get an impartial and inside look, fresh from the campaign trail! There are officially three (3) Democrats in Puerto Rico running for Congress in hopes of representing the 4 million American citizens of Puerto Rico, two (2) under the New Progressive Party, which promotes the annexation of Puerto Rico as the 51st state of the union and one (1) under the Popular Democratic Party which promotes the continuation of the island's current "commonwealth" status.

Democrats in Puerto Rico are divided between two local parties in Puerto Rico that represent Puerto Rico's Political Status future, the New Progressive Party (NPP) and the Popular Democratic Party (PDP).


Stay tuned for more on each of these 3 men; their stances, their proposals, and what they intend to get done when one of them becomes a part of our nation's continued Democratic controlled Congress in '08!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

White House invites Puerto Rico's Political Leaders






White House invites Puerto Rico Governor Acevedo Vilá (D) , Puerto Rico Congressman Fortuño (R) and President of the Puerto Rico Senate McClintock (D) to discuss the island's Political Status.

By José A. Thin / jdelgado@elnuevodia.com

WASHINGTON - The White House has proposed "to update" its findings regarding Puerto Rico's Political Status with politicians of Puerto Rico.

Therefore , the White House Task Force on Puerto Rico Status created by President George W. Bush called yesterday for two meetings with Puerto Rican political leaders scheduled for this month, officials from Puerto Rico confirmed.


The Presidential Task Force which recommended in December 2005 to direct Puerto Rico toward statehood or its political sovereignty, is to carry out said meetings on October 9th and October 23rd, 2007 at the Department of Jutice , in Washington.

Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá (D) , Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño (R) and the President of the Puerto Rico Senate Kenneth McClintock (D), confirmed their assistance yesterday to said meetings.

The puerto rican Pro-independence Party (PIP) has not received invitation, according to its secretary for North America Affairs, Manuel Rodriguez Orellana.

McClintock indicated that he has selected the date of October 23 to meet with the Task Force. The Governor's mansion officials reported that the Governor had just received the invitation. Fortuño expressed that his office is currently coordinating the date in which he will meet with the White House .

"The intention of the Task Force is to have independent encounters with Puerto Rican Political Leaders," indicated Fortuño. He added that he does not expect a review "of the content" of the previous report, but perhaps " recommendations or other steps that comply with the objectives of the first report".

"According to executive order 13183, the Task Force on Puerto Rico Status should present reports to the President every other year, in its effort in providing options for the future status of Puerto Rico and its relation with the Government of the U.S. This report will present an up to date report with the findings of the Task Force and recent events related to Puerto Rico's status", expressed the 'task force' co chairmen, Maggie Grant and Steven Engel.

Grant substituted Ruben Barrales in January as Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs . As of today, not one Public Hearing has been held in Puerto Rico and the Task Force's contact with Political leaders has been kept to a minimum.

Engel, an official from the Office of the Legal Counselor of the Department of Justice, has had very little time as a part of the Task Force. He substituted Kevin Marshall, in the same position, who last spring testified before the House of Representatives in regards to the Presidential Task Force Report.

Last April , Marshall notified the House of Representatives -after some hesitations- that the Bush administration supports HR 900, collects the recommendations of the Task Force and pursues to finish with the current status of the Island.

Now, besides the other Bill in favor of a Constitutional Assembly , the Task Force would have to pass judgment on Bill 1936 of democratic senator Ken Salazar, that suggests a plebiscite among statehood, independence, free association or the current commonwealth status.