In an interview on CNN the governor of Puerto Rico Alejandro Garcia Padilla said that statehood would mean that Puerto Rico would turn into a Latin American ghetto, due to what he alleged were devastating economic consequences. Garcia Padilla did not offer any evidence to back his claim, which goes against every expectation of what would happen with Puerto Rico’s economy under statehood.
The comments caused a stir in Puerto Rico were many considered them to be insulting to Puerto Rico itself. This however is not the first time the Popular Democratic Party and its leaders have resorted to the denigration of Puerto Ricans to achieve their political goals, having made alliances with xenophobic hate groups in the past to rally against statehood.
The President of the New Progressive Party and Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Pedro Pierluisi reacted to the comments saying “unfortunately once more Garcia Padilla issues statement beneath the position he holds, although in this case, he insulted the people of Puerto Rico. He thinks so little of the capacity and potential of our people that he just said that we would be ghetto if we received the same treatment as citizens in the states. Th extreme to which he has gone to interfere with the claims for equality and progress that statehood implies is incredible. It seems that he already forgot to at least pretend that he is the Governor of all Puerto Ricans.”