Divisions emerge in Popular Democratic Party over how to address status, oversight board
The Popular Democratic Party in Puerto Rico is known for its rejection of statehood and independence. The PDP (Partido Popular Democratico in Spanish) usually firmly sits on the side of the status quo where Puerto Rico retains a sense of self-governance, but ultimately remains a part of the United States without full statehood, as an unincorporated territory. Many in this party, including the notable Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, retain the idea of a free association with the ability to retain American Citizenship. With Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s political ambitions aimed firmly at statehood, it seemed that the PDP was about to see the statehood issue resolved in the opposition’s favor.
But now, nearly a year after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, there is a different vibe that appears to be felt around the islands. According to the Washington Post, many people in Puerto Rico are feeling unseen and unheard by the Federal Government. Following the storms and the subsequent destruction on the islands, neighbors banded together and took care of each other regardless of whether government help was available.The people learned that they could be the problem solvers, and that when necessity presented itself, communities would care for each other. But this has lead also to some internal party tensions and divisions
Recently, the president of the Popular Democratic Party and the president of the Puerto Rican Independence Party have come together in a reluctant agreement with the Governor’s ideas and agenda. They started as saying that Puerto Rico deserves a relationship with the United States that is non-colonial and non-territorial. They want to approach major world leaders and influences, including the US President and the United Nations, as well as many publications in order to advocate for the will of the Puerto Rican people.
There are doubts over the movement though, as many are concerned that the PDP’s change in status is disingenuous, and leaders want a clarification statement concerning the direction of the party in regards to whether they are going to align with the independentistas. Where this leaves the party is unknown, and with the push to statehood being strongly led by the governor, the PPD may be trying to find their footing in a new phase of Puerto Rican history.