Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pedro Pierluisi on the Campaign Trail!

By: Phillip Arroyo

Ahead access the various videos of our next Democratic member of Congress that will represent the 4 million american citizens of Puerto Rico after the November 4th, 2008 elections in Puerto Rico. Mr. Pierluisi has campaigned intensely around the entire island in search of continued support for his candidacy for the island's sole non voting congressional seat in Congress. As of today, Pedro Pierluisi enjoys a huge 15 to 20 point advantage over his opponent according to the majority of polling results on the island. Stay tuned for more and access Pedro Pierluisi's official web page at!

Pierluisi Speech at Statehood Party Rally Event

Pedro Pierluisi endorsing Senator Barack Obama for President!

Pierluisi for Congress Campaign Commercial

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ideas for 2nd Stimulus Cover Broad Swath


The drumbeat for lawmakers to do more to boost the economy is growing louder. And the chances have increased that Congress could pass a second stimulus package during its lameduck session following the presidential election.

Over the weekend, Ed Lazear, the president's chief economic adviser, said that at least "parts of the country" are already in recession.

On Monday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told House lawmakers that "consideration of a fiscal package by the Congress at this juncture seems appropriate" given the risk of a "protracted slowdown."

And the White House said again that President Bush would be "open" to ideas for a second stimulus package, although press spokeswoman Dana Perino added that the administration would want to see details first before signing on. The administration believes that many of the proposals being discussed would not stimulate the economy.

Indeed, the path to enacting a stimulus measure is fraught with political and economic complexity. It has to be timed right and contain the right measures. It's more art than science.

What's Being Discussed

Democrats have been pushing for a second stimulus package for months. Many of their proposals have featured direct cash assistance, while Republican plans have been focused more on providing tax incentives and tax breaks.

Among the proposals from Democrats: extend jobless benefits, increase food stamps and invest more money in infrastructure projects to create jobs in the near term.

Critics of the infrastructure spending idea say it takes too long to work as economic stimulus. But proponents say it can create jobs if the money is put toward projects that are ready to go but for the funding.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials estimates that $18.3 billion worth of such projects are pending.

Democrats have also called for a moratorium on foreclosures and for making permanent a temporary increase lawmakers passed last February on loan limits for mortgages that may be backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration.

The temporary increase on those limits to $729,750 was intended to make mortgages in high-cost areas more affordable. Previously, any loan over $417,000 was subject to higher rates. Under current law, the loan limits will fall to $625,500 next year if no changes are made.

Democrats have also been pushing for a reinstatement of seller-paid down payment assistance, which was prohibited in a housing bill signed into law this summer. The Federal Housing Administration, which backs affordable loans for borrowers with low-income or less-than-stellar credit, has said down payment assistance leads to too many homeowners defaulting.

Democrats, however, have been proposing more restrictions be placed on the provision so that it would result in far fewer losses to the FHA.

Republicans would prefer that stimulus measures include more tax breaks than direct payments. Among them: a temporary reduction or elimination of the capital gains tax on stocks and lower income tax rates for companies that buy distressed assets.

House Republicans are also calling for purchasers of homes that are not primary residences to be entitled to the same capital gains exclusion as owners who sell their primary residences. Currently, a single homeowner can exclude $250,000 of capital gains on a sale, while couples can exclude $500,000.

The proposal would only apply to people who bought second or third properties over the next 18 months and held their properties for at least five years.

"This could help take foreclosed properties off the market, raising home values," said House minority leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

The presidential candidates, whose crisis-related stimulus plans differ in most ways, nevertheless both call for suspending the income tax on unemployment benefits and temporarily exempting seniors over 70-1/2 from having to make any withdrawals from their IRAs and 401(k)s.

Meanwhile, Bernanke suggested to lawmakers on Monday that they include measures "to help improve access to credit by consumers, home buyers, businesses and other borrowers."

Among the possibilities, he suggested that there could be more direct lending from the federal government to states - which are suffering from a budget crunch - as well as to consumers and businesses. Tax credits are another option, he said.

Not Just the 'What' but the 'When'

Economists caution that any stimulus package must be well timed or it risks doing more harm than good.

Of course, that's easier said than done.

Bernanke said Monday that stimulus should be enacted when things are at their worst.

"Any fiscal package should be structured so that its peak effects on aggregate spending and economic activity are felt when they are most needed, namely, during the period in which economic activity would otherwise be expected to be weak," Bernanke said.

But Lakshman Achuthan, managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, thinks ideally the best time for stimulus is at that crucial turning point between recession and recovery.

"[It] would be most effective if it hit the economy when it was already on the cusp of an upturn, thereby creating more of a V-shaped recovery. As of today, we do not see any sign of recovery in the next few months," Achuthan said.

Of course, the lag time between when legislation is passed and when it goes into effect can be two different things. The first stimulus package was passed last February. It consisted mostly of tax rebates. The rebates were first sent out in late April and continued into the summer.

The verdict on the effectiveness of those rebates is mixed to negative: While they boosted consumer spending in the short-term, they didn't do so nearly as much as they boosted consumers' savings or ability to pay down debt, neither of which is considered a short-term boost to economic activity.

The initial outlay for that first package, which also included business incentives, was $168 billion. This time around, depending on which measures are used, the cost could run between $150 billion and $300 billion.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Colin Powell endorses Obama! Is it over?

By: Phillip Arroyo

On NBC's Meet The Press, General Colin Powell announced his support for Barack Obama on October 19, 2008. Without a doubt, this most recent endorsement in favor of Obama could be the final crippling blow to John McCain's run for the White House. General Colin Powell, a well known Republican with premier advisory experience with the likes of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush and George W. Bush has now crossed party lines to publicly and firmly support Senator Barack Obama to become our next President of the United States.

Such an endorsement has political experts across the nation expressing the possibility that this Presidential election could be over, though Colin's endorsement was on the radar as a rumor for months, nobody could have imagined it would come so close to the election where it would result fatal for the GOP's run for the White House. Apparently that scenario has arrived, and there are few who now would dare to predict a McCain-Palin victory at the polls. According to the most recent state polls, Senator Barack Obama enjoys a slight advantage over McCain in Florida, a key battleground state; but most importantly and shockingly for the Gop, Obama is practically tied in North Carolina and is in striking distance to win Virginia, two deadlock states for the Gop for the last 20 years! Not even President Bill Clinton won those states!

This year's election will undoubtedly be a historical follow through of the American dream story. This election could cement America's legacy of freedom, democracy, diversity, inclusion and liberty which would represent the first step of regaining the respect and admiration that America has lost internationally due to President Bush's disastrous foreign and domestic policies during the past eight years of the GOP's administration. Senator Obama making history as our nation's first African American President is not the sole reason for celebration in terms of historic relevancy,yet it is his ability to unite the American people, regardless of race or religious beliefs that will make this election one for the ages. I am proud to be part of a generation that will witness this potentially unforgettable event in our nation's history.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Congressman Serrano's testimony on HR 900 (April 2007)

By: Phillip Arroyo

Click on the video above to view Congressman Jose Serrano's testimony on HR 900 "The Puerto Rico Democracy Act" in April of 2007. This testimony is one of the best that I have seen regarding Puerto Rico's political status. Enjoy!

Puerto Rican Boom in Florida

By: Phillip Arroyo

On this edition of Puerto Rico Democrat Corner, we will take an in depth glimpse of the fastest growing Puerto Rican population in the continental United States.

 Although Puerto Ricans still concentrate in the state of New York, their proportion decreased from nearly three-fourths of the total in 1960 to less than one-third in 2000.

 For the first time ever, the number of Puerto Ricans in New York declined in the 1990s.

 Correspondingly, the proportion of Puerto Ricans has increased in other states, especially in Florida.

 During the 1990s, Florida displaced New Jersey as the second largest concentration of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. mainland (after New York).

 Florida’s Puerto Rican population grew from slightly more than 2 percent of all stateside Puerto Ricans in 1960 to more than 14 percent in the year 2000.

 The number of Puerto Rican residents in Florida rose from 482,027 in 2000 to 571,755 persons in 2003.

 Within Florida, Puerto Ricans have settled in three main regions.

 In 2003, more than 206,000 persons of Puerto Rican origin lived in the Central Florida, particularly in Orange, Osceola, Volusia, Seminole, and Polk counties.

 A secondary concentration is found in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, with about 155,000 Puerto Ricans.

 A third cluster has emerged around the Tampa Bay area, especially in Hillsborough County, with almost 68,000 Puerto Ricans.

History of Puerto Ricans in Florida

 The earliest recorded movement of Puerto Ricans to Florida consisted of a small number of agricultural business owners who settled in the Miami area in the 1940s.

 The first large-scale movement of Puerto Ricans to Florida took place in the 1950s under the contract farm worker program sponsored by the Migration Division of Puerto Rico’s Department of Labor.

 By then, the class composition of Puerto Rican migration to South Florida had shifted predominantly toward the working class.

 During the 1970s, Puerto Rican government officials negotiated contracts for hundreds of seasonal workers with sugar growers in Florida.

Puerto Rican Education in Florida

 Nearly three-fourths of Puerto Ricans in the Orlando area had completed a high school education.

 Contrary to popular stereotypes, U.S.-born Puerto Ricans tend to be better educated than those born on the Island.

Employment and Economical Data
 More than half of all Puerto Ricans in Central Florida were employed in administrative support, sales, professional, technical, and managerial occupations.

 Puerto Ricans in Central Florida concentrate overwhelmingly in trade and services, particularly in retail trade, arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, food services, education, health, and social services.

 In 1999, 33.3 percent of all Puerto Rican families in Central Florida earned more than $50,000 a year.

 The median family income of Puerto Ricans in Central Florida ($33,500) was more than double that of residents of Puerto Rico ($16,543).

 In 1997, Puerto Ricans in the Orlando metropolitan area owned 2,429 businesses, primarily in the service industry.

 This economic boom has attracted many Island-based companies to the area.

 Despite their achievements, Puerto Ricans have not attained socioeconomic parity with other major ethnic groups in Central Florida.

Political Preference
 Puerto Ricans in Central Florida have become a swing vote that could decide local, state, and even presidential elections.

 Most Puerto Ricans in the United States have traditionally voted for the Democratic Party.

 In 2004, Puerto Ricans in Florida supported Senator John Kerry over President George W. Bush by a margin of two to one.

 The Puerto Rican population boom has not yet translated into proportional representation in state politics.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Expanding the Battle for Equality

By: Phillip Arroyo

Puerto Rico Senate President, Kenneth McClintock spoke at a Puerto Rican community event in Woodbine, New Jersey in where he stressed the importance of hispanic voting participation, Puerto Rican culture and the impact and contributions of Puerto Ricans throughout our nation. Senator McClintock has been known as one of, if not the only statehood leader on the island who consistently visits and interacts with Puerto Rican communities throughout the continental United States.

Such actions may be imperative immediately after the November 4th local elections, where the Pro Statehood Party lead by Luis Fortuno and Pedro Pieluisi is predicted to win the general elections by a wide margin. A landslide victory in the races for Governor, Resident Commissioner, House, Senate and municipalities could open fertile ground both in Puerto Rico and Washington, DC to put an end to the colonialist political status of Puerto Rico. If the Senate is retained by the Statehood Party by a significant majority, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court may be composed of judges with a majority pro statehood vision for the first time in history.

Nontheless, it is highly important that the Statehood movement's steps toward self determination be taken simultaneously with Puerto Rican communities in the continental United States. The fact of the matter is that many members of Congress, if not a vast majority, have not payed the Puerto Rico political status issue the attention it morally deserves. This could be in part due to the member's natural and logical action of prioritizing soley on issues relevant to their districts. If the statehood movement of Puerto Rico can manage to educate, garner and rally support among Puerto Ricans and non Puerto Ricans of congressional districts throughout the entire nation, it would therefore not only expose the island's political status dilemma, but it would effectively lure the Puerto Rico Status issue to members of Congress as a top priority, for they would be receiving pressure from constituents of their districts.

In a nutshell, a solid local electoral victory with the bipartisan ticket of Luis Fortuno and Pedro Pierluisi, an ideological majority in the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, in conjunction with a nationwide grassroots movement on the mainland in favor of a federally endorsed Puerto Rico self determination process could facilitate the statehood movement with all the necesarry tools to make history by achieving its objective of becoming the fifty first state of the union.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Biden wins Debate!

(CNN) -- A national poll of people who watched the vice presidential debate Thursday night suggests that Democratic Sen. Joe Biden won, but also says Republican Gov. Sarah Palin exceeded expectations.

Poll respondents give Sen. Joe Biden the edge over Gov. Sarah Palin in ability to express views.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. said 51 percent of those polled thought Biden did the best job, while 36 percent thought Palin did the best job.

But respondents said the folksy Palin was more likable, scoring 54 percent to Biden's 36 percent. Seventy percent said Biden was more of a typical politician.

Both candidates exceeded expectations -- 84 percent of the people polled said Palin did a better job than they expected, while 64 percent said Biden also exceeded expectations.

How Palin would perform had been a major issue for the Alaska governor, who had some well-publicized fumbles during interviews with CBS' Katie Couric leading up to the debate.
Respondents thought Biden was better at expressing his views, giving him 52 percent to Palin's 36 percent.

On the question of the candidates' qualifications to assume the presidency, 87 percent of those polled said Biden is qualified and 42 percent said Palin is qualified.

The candidates sparred over which team would be the better agent of change, and Biden came out on top of that debate, with 53 percent of those polled giving the nod to the Delaware senator while 42 percent said Palin was more likely to bring change.

Respondents overwhelmingly said moderator Gwen Ifill was fair during the vice presidential debate, repudiating critics who said that Ifill, of PBS, would be biased because she is writing a book that includes Biden's running mate, Sen. Barack Obama.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Obama was selected as a winner over Republican Sen. John McCain in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll on the September 26 presidential debate.

Jose Serrano, a Puerto Rican friend in Congress

José Enrique Serrano (born October 24, 1943) is a New York politician, currently representing the state's 16th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. His son, Jose M. Serrano is a member of the New York State Senate.

Serrano's district is one of the smallest in the country geographically consisting of a few miles of the heavily urbanized and populated South Bronx in
New York City. His district is also one of the most densely populated and one of the few majority Hispanic districts in the country. Yankee Stadium is in his district. In addition to José Marco, Serrano has four other children.

Early years
Serrano was born in
Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. At the age of seven, Serrano was taken by his family to The Bronx. Serrano went to high school and then Lehman College for his undergraduate degree. He served in the United States Army medical corps from 1964 to 1966.

Serrano was elected to the New York state Assembly in
1974 as a Democrat, where he served as chairman of the Consumer Affairs Committee and, subsequently, the Education Committee.

House of Representatives
1990, Serrano won a special election for a House of Representatives seat vacated by resigning Congressman Robert García and has thereafter been reelected, usually by over 90 percent of the vote, in what is considered one of the safest seats in Congress.

Political positions
Serrano is an advocate of ending the trade embargo on Cuba and for
English Plus, which would encourage Americans to become bilingual. He has consistently supported initiatives to resolve Puerto Rico's political status problem, including the 1998 Young bill, which he coauthored, and the Dec. 22, 2005 report of the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Political Status, which recommends that Congress provide an opportunity for residents in Puerto Rico to vote for or against its current status, which the report describes as an unincorporated U.S. territory and Serrano describes as a U.S. colony. Serrano has filed a bill, HR 900, with Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño, which has been cosponsored by 129 other Democratic and Republican members of Congress to authorize such a referendum by 2009.

A member of the
Progressive Caucus, he is widely regarded as one of the most liberal members of Congress. He has been questioned about his pork barrel spending by some fiscal conservative members of Congress. Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake once said of Serrano's $150,000 earmark to repair the roof at the city-owned Arthur Avenue Market (an historic indoor produce and prepared food market in the Bronx's "Little Italy"), "I would argue this is one cannoli the taxpayer doesn’t want to take a bite of." Serrano replied to Flake: "The more you get up on these, Sir, the more I realize that you do not know what you are talking about. I make no excuses about the fact that I earmark dollars to go in the poorest congressional district in the nation, which is situated in the richest city on earth."
On November 18, 2005, he was one of three votes in favor of immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. The other two votes were from Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and Robert Wexler of Florida.

In 2005, Serrano introduced a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd Amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as president. It was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Serrano has paid attention to local environmental issues in New York, with a particular focus on constructing greenways, acquiring parklands, and cleaning up the Bronx River, which runs through his district. Recently a beaver was discovered swimming in the river for the first time in 200 years, something seen as a testament to his efforts.
In 2007, he engineered the purchase of the last privately-owned island in NY harbor--South Brother Island--for preservation in perpetuity by the City of New York as a wildlife refuge for rare shorebirds.

Actions and committees
Congressman Serrano has been a critic of the Bush administration's approach to handling President
Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. In 2005, while the Venezuelan President was in New York City speaking before the United Nations, the congressman invited him to his district to speak to his constituency.

Serrano is one of three New York-area congressmen on the
House Appropriations Committee, the others being Nita Lowey of the 18th District and Steve Rothman of New Jersey's 9th congressional district (which abuts New York City). He is the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services. As chairman, he successfully engineered the inclusion of language in the 2007 omnibus spending bill that guarantees the extension of the 50 State Quarters program to include the minting of 6 additional quarters to honor the District of Columbia and the 5 United States territories, including Serrano's native Puerto Rico.

Serrano has also been an advocate for
Puerto Ricans under FBI prosecution. In May of 2000 he brokered an agreement with then FBI Director Louis Freeh, then Puerto Rican Independence Party senator Manuel Rodríguez Orellana and then Puerto Rico Senate Federal Affairs Committee chairman Kenneth McClintock, the islands' current Senate President, that has resulted in the release of nearly 100,000 pages of previously secret FBI files on Puerto Rican political activists.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Palin under Scrutiny

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) -- Seven employees of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's administration have agreed to give statements in the state Legislature's investigation into her firing of the state's public safety commissioner, the attorney general and lawmakers involved in the probe said Sunday.

Gov. Sarah Palin's campaign says the investigation in Alaska has been "tainted" by partisan politics.

The seven, including Palin's chief of staff, had tried to fight subpoenas issued by the state Senate Judiciary Committee.But an Anchorage judge upheld the subpoenas Thursday, and Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg, whose department challenged the authority of the subpoenas, notified the committee Sunday that the seven would give statements after all.
"Despite my initial concerns about the subpoenas, we respect the court's decision to defer to the legislature," Colberg said in a statement.

Colberg said his department was working with Judiciary Committee Chairman Hollis French to arrange the testimony.
"We're still working out the details," said French.

French said he believes statements could be taken without pushing back the scheduled Friday release of a report by Stephen Branchflower, the former Anchorage prosecutor conducting the investigation into Palin's July firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.
Palin's husband, Todd, has also been resisting a subpoena, and there has been no word on whether he would challenge Thursday's ruling.

Palin has insisted that the state Personnel Board conduct the investigation.
Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein told CNN that "all options are possible" for Todd Palin to participate in the Legislative Council's investigation, including a joint interview with Branchflower and Tim Petumenos, the investigator for the Personnel Board's inquiry.
Todd Palin will likely speak with Petumenos later in the month, Van Flein said, adding, "Ultimately, I think he will" participate in the legislative investigation.

Regarding the governor's advisers, Van Flein said, "It's appropriate for all the state employees to give their testimony. ... Everyone has wanted that for a long time."

Another member of the committee, state Sen. Bill Wielechowski, said some of the witnesses have already given statements to Colberg, a Palin appointee.

"I don't think there's a whole lot of new information that's going to come out of them," Wielechowski said.

Both French and Wielechowski are Democrats. French in particular has been accused of leading a biased investigation by Palin's allies, some of whom are now asking the state Supreme Court to halt the Legislature's probe.

Palin, now the Republican vice presidential nominee, says she sacked Monegan over budget disagreements. But Monegan has said he believes he was fired because he resisted pressure to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law, State Trooper Mike Wooten.

Palin has denied any wrongdoing, calling Wooten a "rogue trooper" who had threatened her family during his divorce from the governor's sister.Though she initially agreed to cooperate with the Legislature's investigation, her campaign has called it "tainted" by partisan politics since she became Sen. John McCain's running mate and insisted that the state Personnel Board handle any inquiry.

On Friday, lawmakers backing Palin appealed Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski's refusal to block the state Legislature's investigation.

"If this unconstitutional and unlawful investigation is allowed to continue, is completed, and if the resulting report is released as planned, Plaintiffs and Alaskans in general will suffer irreparable harm," lawyers for the Liberty Legal Foundation told the Alaska Supreme Court.The Texas-based conservative group is representing Republican legislators who support Palin and are asking the court in Alaska to shut down the probe, which they call "biased."

Michalski in his ruling rejected arguments that the investigation violated the state constitution's guarantee of due process and fair treatment and said it was up to the Legislature to manage its own investigation.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

President Truman Statue unveiled at the Puerto Rico Capitol

The Capitol- The President of the Senate, Kenneth McClintock and Senator Juan Eugenio Hernandez Mayoral unveiled a commemorative statue of President Harry S Truman in remembrance of his visit to Puerto Rico in 1948 while still in office.

“Today, we dedicate this ceremony to a friend of Puerto Rico, a true patriot who loved his nation , its territories and Puerto Rico dearly. Today, as we pay tribute to Truman , let us remember how he impacted history by molding a democratic form of government for the people of Puerto Rico and the entire nation” expressed McClintock.

The legislative assembly of Puerto Rico will recognize and honor all Presidents of the United States that visited the island during their term in office: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, Theodore Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower and Herbert Hoover all with their respective statues which will be exhibited on the Capitol grounds. In April, the statue of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated in another ceremony in which President Bill Clinton participated as the special invited guest.

The Senate President added, “Truman appointed the first Puerto Rican Governor, Mr. Jesus T. Pinero, and later made Puerto Rico the first territory under American jurisdiction whose executive figure and legislature were held accountable towards their electors since 1948. President Truman was a firm believer in self government and promoted that people of Puerto Rico select their political leaders, and therefore empower them to create and administer our laws to ultimately permit our people to redact and establish a local constitution during his last term as President of the United States.

“In moments when we celebrate Hispanic Heritage month both here on the island and the mainland, let us never forget those who were interested in molding the liberty of our people to choose democracy and freedom as our premier ideals of which we are very proud of today”, expressed McClintock.

The ceremony included the participation of ex Governor Jesus T Pinero’s son, Jose Pinero, who received President Truman on the island in 1948.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Popular Democratic Party's myopic view on language

The Popular Democratic Party's myopic view on language
Edition:Caribbean Business September 25, 2008 | Volume: 36 | No: 38

When the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) won its first election in 1940, it began a peaceful socioeconomic revolution that was sorely needed in Puerto Rico.
With President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s help and support, together with Rexford Guy Tugwell’s outstanding executive and organizational ability, Muñoz Marín’s socioeconomic platform was put into effect.

The poor farmers and the blue-collar workers saw hope and opportunity as never before. From the beginning of World War II in 1941, unemployment on the island was substantially reduced as most young men volunteered or were drafted to serve in the U.S. Armed Services. Military roads, military camps, airports, port facilities and other needed infrastructure were built with federal funds.

PR-2, which was called “Carretera Militar,” was built during the war. The road between Cayey and Salinas, Fort Buchanan, Fort Brooke Military Camp, the Naval Air base in Miramar, Borinquen Airfield in Aguadilla, Naval Station Roosevelt Roads and many other infrastructure works started a construction boom in Puerto Rico during the war.

After the war, federal funds for public housing, to purchase land and distribute it to the poor in parcelas, funds for education and health were increased, benefiting our underprivileged, and a middle class started growing and expanding as more and better-paid jobs were created.

Nevertheless, the most significant and important of all federal programs over the long term was the G.I. Bill of Rights (Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944), which provided funds for technical, specialized and professional education of veterans. The number of Puerto Rican veterans that benefited from the G.I. Bill of Rights was enormous. No other program has meant so much to so many in Puerto Rico as the G.I. Bill of Rights. Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans, who would never have had the opportunity to study, could now became master electricians, master plumbers, medical technicians, engineers, doctors, lawyers, business managers and teachers.

The G.I. Bill of Rights allowed Puerto Ricans to reap the benefits of education to put the island on the industrial map by providing workers and professionals with the know-how necessary for economic development and to attract outside investors.

Muñoz Marín and his PDP benefited from the war and the federal programs. The funding and the education achievement stimulated by federal monies were wisely used by Muñoz and his party. The economic growth in Puerto Rico from the beginning of the WWII in 1941 through the 1950s was so impressive that Puerto Rico was hailed as “The Showcase of Democracy.”

However, as Puerto Rico developed economically, the people started wondering more and more whether we wouldn’t be better off as a state. Muñoz Marín and his party leaders were leery of the growing pro-American sentiment in Puerto Rico and the growing demand for political equality with our fellow citizens in the 50 states. As a result, they structured a plan to undermine the growing demand for equality.

The plan consisted of setting up barriers against statehood. They decided upon three “impediments” to becoming a state. They planned and carried out a massive public relations campaign in Puerto Rico and on the U.S. mainland.

The arguments they presented were that if Puerto Rico become a state, our economy would plummet because: (1) as a state, we couldn’t grant federal income-tax exemption to industries and, without the tax exemption, manufacturing companies wouldn’t invest in Puerto Rico; (2) if we had to pay federal minimum wages, Puerto Rico would be afflicted by massive unemployment; and (3) if Puerto Rico became a state, we would all have to speak English and Spanish would be lost.

Muñoz and his PDP cohorts were afraid that the more people spoke English and the more English people spoke, the easer it would be for statehooders to convince people that Puerto Rico should become a state. As all negative movements inevitably do, this one ended up by espousing a strategy that has done much harm to our people.

Their strategy was to reduce the use of English as much as possible, especially in schools. Before this anti-English campaign, all classes in Puerto Rico, whether in public or privates schools, were held in English, with the obvious exception of the Spanish class. Under Muñoz Marín’s leadership, teaching in English was alleged to be antipedagogic. The Teacher Exchange Program—through which teachers from the States came to Puerto Rico to learn Spanish and teach English, while teachers from Puerto Rico went to the States to teach Spanish and improved their English—was terminated. As a result, we have never had enough teachers proficient enough in English to teach our children adequately. The teaching of English has deteriorated at an accelerated pace.

Today, if it weren’t for cable TV, the movies and Puerto Ricans returning from the mainland U.S., our proficiency in English would leave much to be desired.

In the meantime, right after the end of WWII, migration from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland grew by leaps and bounds and hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans and their families had difficulty finding a good job, because of their inability to properly communicate in English.

While all nations around the world are teaching English to their children—because it is the world’s most widely used language in commerce, banking, aviation, science and technology—we in Puerto Rico have been hurting several generations of our people who haven’t been taught enough English to take advantage of the opportunities available to those who can speak and write both languages. We, who as U.S. citizens need to know English to get along better with our fellow citizens, have not only been neglected, but maliciously denied the opportunity to be fully bilingual.

Today, all over the 50 states of the union and in Central and South American countries, bilingual individuals have many more job and economic opportunities than they would if they were fluent in English or Spanish only.

In contrast to the PDP’s attitude against English, in Washington, D.C., there is a bilingual public school where half the course is taught in English and the second half in Spanish. The name of the school is Oyster Bilingual School and the waiting list of students whose parents want them to be bilingual is very long.

The harm done to the future and aspirations of several generations of public-school children by the PDP as a result of denying them the opportunity to be fluent in both languages can’t be easily undone. However, we must commit and dedicate ourselves to work hard toward developing a bilingual community. Whoever in America (whether North, Central or South) doesn’t realize the importance of being proficient in both Spanish and English is either being obtuse, or is very prejudiced against the United States.