Politics the Status Issue

Puerto Ricans often say that politics, not baseball, is their national sport. For proof of this, note that the island has one of the highest levels of voter participation in the world - more than 80% in recent general elections. Especially around election time, you may witness tempers flaring as ordinary folk spontaneously debate each other in the streets, cafés and bars. A few eateries around the island post signs asking their patrons to refrain from talking politics, just to keep the peace. Much of the brouhaha centers on the island's status vis-à-vis the United States. There is no greater political issue in Puerto Rico, and it is an extremely sensitive subject. Visiting americanos are often asked their opinion on the issue, and if you can offer a thoughtful, respectful response - along with a few informed questions -you may be rewarded with an intriguing discussion. Or you may be harangued with propaganda anyway.

Of the three major political parties, the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) supports maintaining autonomy without independence from the US; the New Progressive Party (PNP) supports full US statehood for Puerto Rico; and the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) aims to make the island an independent state. In general, Puerto Ricans are intensely proud of their culture and its differences from that of the United States, and many are at least sentimentally independence-minded. But the ballot box is a reality check. Although the island is emotionally tied to its Latino heritage, the economy is so dependent on the United States that the majority of voters don't consider independence a real option, and the PIP has never been able to claim more than 5% of the electorate. After procommonwealth forces dominated Puerto Rican politics, the pro-statehood PNP won the two elections at the end of the 20th century and sponsored plebiscites on the status issue. Narrowly, the status quo was upheld. Then in 2000, partly due to controversy over the Navy's continued bombing of Vieques (see Vieques & Culebra), former San Juan Mayor Sila Calderon and her PDP allies won a landslide victory, to control the governorship and the legislature.

WILL PUERTO RICO BECOME THE 51st STATE?

If Puerto Ricans vote to join the United States, with full rights and responsibilities of a state, the matter of statehood would then pass to the US Congress.

Baseball For Boys

Baseball For Boys

Since World War II, there has been a tremendous change in the makeup and direction of kid baseball, as it is called. Adults, showing an unprecedented interest in the activity, have initiated and developed programs in thousands of towns across the United States programs that providebr wholesome recreation for millions of youngsters and are often a source of pride and joy to the community in which they exist.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment