Thursday, November 20, 2008

Letter of the Editor to Speaker Nancy Pelosi

November 19th, 2008

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
H-232 US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Madam Speaker:

Receive a warm greeting on my behalf and a congratulatory note as well for our Democratic victory on November 4th, 2008. The purpose of this communication is to clarify false impressins created by the letter sent by Puerto Rico Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila to your office on November 18th, 2008 related to the island’s general election results. Governor Acevedo Vila has expressed that the Puerto Rico general election results, where the Pro Statehood Party won by the biggest landslide since 1964, did not represent a mandate by the people of the island in favor of statehood.

What the Governor fails to indicate is that rather than favor a specific status option, the people did in fact vote against Acevedo’s undemocratic “constitutional assembly” mechanism, and in favor of the Pro Statehood Party’s plebiscite/referendum mechanism of self determination, clearly proposed through HR 900, The Puerto Rico Democracy Act filed by Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuno and Congressman Jose Serrano; said legislation proposed that Puerto Rico’s political status dilemma would be solved once and for all through a series of federally endorsed self determination plebiscites.

The first vote would ask the Puerto Rican people directly via direct vote if they wish to continue with the island’s current political status or if they wish to pursue a change in the island’s political status. In case the people of Puerto Rico vote in favor of change, then a second plebiscite would be held in where Puerto Ricans would choose between independence or the admittance of Puerto Rico as the fifty first state of the union.

Anibal Acevedo Vila in turn supported another self determination process through a proposed Constitutional Assembly, where a select group of politicians and civic leaders would ultimately decide Puerto Rico’s final status and not the people. He also fails to mention that he in fact did include the political status debate in his campaign for re-election by consistently and aggressively promoting the Constitutional Assembly proposal and calling for a sovereign Puerto Rico with the ability to negotiate unilaterally with other nations.

Such a proposal was deemed unconstitutional in the past by US Congress and was ultimately and massively rejected by the people of Puerto Rico on November 4th, 2008 where the Pro Commonwealth Party that Mr. Acevedo Vila presided received the largest defeat in its history.

The self determination process mechanism proposed by the Pro Statehood Party was included in the party’s platform and was supported by a historical one million fourteen thousand Puerto Ricans ( 53% to 41%) who voted for the Pro Statehood Party on election day, having won the Governorship , House, Senate, Resident Commissioner seat in Congress and the vast majority of municipalities as well.

The fact of the matter is that the people of Puerto Rico did express a mandate of change on Election Day and simultaneously endorsed the Pro Statehood Party’s proposed mechanism to solve the island’s century old political dilemma consistent with the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status created by President Bill Clinton. Mr. Acevedo Vila’s misleading arguments are geared towards his agenda to obstruct any self determination process that would give the people of Puerto Rico a direct vote in regards to their political status preference.

On another note, as a Young Puerto Rican Democrat I am deeply concerned for the continued well being and image of our Democratic Party in Puerto Rico. On March 27, 2008, Acevedo Vilá was formally indicted on 24 counts of public corruption by a Federal Grand Jury along with 12 other people. The 13 are accused of running a conspiracy to illegally raise money to pay off Acevedo Vilá's campaign debts in 2000. On August 19, 2008, a second five count federal Grand Jury indictment was filed.

The people of Puerto Rico have spoken and it is the democratic and moral obligation of all of us to follow the clear, historical and unequivocal mandate bestowed by the American citizens of Puerto Rico. I am confident that US Congress and the White House will once again work with the people of Puerto Rico in order to finally reach a solution to the island’s political status dilemma.


Phillip Arroyo
National Committeeman
Young Democrats of America
Puerto Rico Chapter

Monday, November 17, 2008

Senator McClintock appointed Secretary of State of Puerto Rico

By: Phillip Arroyo

On November 11th, 2008, Puerto Rico Governor Elect Luis Fortuno appointed Senate President Kenneth McClintock as Secretary of State, which in Puerto Rico fulfulls the role of Lieutenant Governor. What began as a rumor two to three months ago has now become a reality; for Puerto Rico now has a new Secretary of State that in the eyes of many is more than qualified for the position. Senator Kenneth McClintock has a vast resume in public service and was even mentioned as a potential running mate for now Governor Elect Luis Fortuno in the 2008 general elections.

Among the Senator’s credentials are having co-chaired Hillary Clinton's successful Puerto Rico primary campaign, he graduated from University High School (UHS) in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico in 1974, where he served as student council president, studied at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras School of Business Administration, and in 1980 obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

While in college, McClintock, along with Puerto Rico's current congressional delegate Luis Fortuño and Governor Elect, founded the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association, a student organization that contributed to the electoral victory of Carlos Romero Barceló in 1980. McClintock never took the bar, neither in Louisiana nor Puerto Rico, as his intention was not to be a practicing attorney, but a public servant. He began that public service career, before law school, as the staff director for the Puerto Rico House of Representatives Consumer Affairs Committee.

McClintock has, since his teenage years, been involved in politics in one way or another. At the age of 14, McClintock was appointed by President Richard Nixon as delegate to the White House Conference on Youth held from April 18-21, 1971. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the National Advisory Committee for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. In 1979 McClintock served as the first Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association President.

Secretary of State Elect Kenneth McClintock will undoubtedly continue make his case for political equality of Puerto Rico in the halls of Congress. The Pro Statehood Party on the island has just come off a historical landslide electoral victory on November 4th, 2008 in where over a million citizens voted in favor of the party’s return to power.

Now with absolute power bestowed upon by the people of Puerto Rico through the democratic electoral process, the Pro Statehood Party could appoint up to three new judges to the Puerto Rico State Supreme Court. This would mean that the Puerto Rico Supreme Court for the very first time in history could be composed of judges who possess an ideological preference leaning towards statehood.

Along with with Senator Hillary Clinton’s name being tossed into the pool of potential US Secretary of State candidates to be appointed by President Barack Obama, as well as her continuance as US Senator for New York is she decides to do so , may guarantee the level of priority the Puerto Rico political status issue will receive during President Obama’s administration. One thing is for sure, Secretary of State McClintock along with Puerto Rico Congressman Pedro Pierluisi and Governor Luis Fortuno will play a key role during the next four years in Puerto Rico’s century old quest for political self determination that may finally result in political, social and economic equality for the 4 million american citizens of Puerto Rico.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Puerto Rico Governor Defeated

Puerto Rico ousts indicted governor
By Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico voted Tuesday to oust an incumbent governor who is under indictment for allegedly violating campaign finance laws, electing a challenger who vowed to fight crime and spur the island's troubled economy.
Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila conceded the election after Luis Fortuno of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party took a strong lead in early returns.

"I want to congratulate governor-elect Luis Fortuno," Acevedo said at the headquarters of his Popular Democratic Party. "It was a hard battle against all imaginable and unimaginable obstacles."

Fortuno had 53 percent of the vote to 41 percent for the governor with 42 percent of ballots counted.

The governor had urged islanders to support him despite a 24-count indictment charging him with wire fraud and other offenses for allegedly raising money illegally to pay off campaign debts from his terms as Puerto Rico's nonvoting delegate to Congress from 2000 to 2004.
He is scheduled to go on trial in February.

Acevedo's party favors maintaining Puerto Rico's semiautonomous relationship to the U.S. while Fortuno's wants the island to become the 51st state.

But the island's relationship to the U.S., a central theme in Puerto Rican politics, was not the main issue in this election. The vote was largely a referendum on the governor, who presided over the creation of an unpopular sales tax, increases in electricity and water rates and the unraveling of the local economy. Unemployment recently hit the highest level in years.
Fortuno, the island's delegate to Congress, or resident commissioner, had pledged to spur the economy and do more to reduce a homicide rate that is higher than much of the mainland U.S.

"The people tonight have said they are tired of the old-style politics and they want us to get to work to solve their problems," he said in a victory speech.

Voters on the island of 4 million people also were choosing a new delegate to the U.S. Congress as well as 27 local senators, 51 representatives and 78 mayors. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens but do not vote in the U.S. presidential elections.