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


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....................................


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 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.



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



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 /

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.