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Author: William-Jose Velez

US Senators say the US will never accept the ‘enhanced commonwealth’

We warned you. On Friday, reports came out of a letter sent to leaders in Puerto Rico from Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), in which they expressed their thoughts following the hearing of the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for which they serve as chairman and as ranking minority member respectively, on Puerto Rico’s status, held in August. In the letter, both Senators indicate that from the testimony of Puerto Rico’s political leaders, it became clear to them that Puerto Ricans had in effect rejected the current status through the vote last November. It mentioned that as of now,the Congress has yet to decide on whether to fund the White House’s proposal for a new plebiscite to be conducted with supervision from the US Department of Justice, a proposal that seemed dead a couple months ago, but that given the recent budget deal between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), could make a comeback in next year’s budget authorization. For next year, there is also the possibility that the local legislature may enact a law for a constitutional status convention, whose scope, process and effect are yet to be determined. Wyden and Murkowski then stressed that whatever method is used going forward, the “non-viable” ‘enhanced commonwealth’ status option not be considered, for it “confuses the debate and undermines the effort”...

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How to tell if you lack any influence in Congress

In 3 easy steps: 1. Be Alejandro Garcia Padilla.   2. Write a letter to Congress asking them to not support HR 2000, Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi‘s bill to admit Puerto Rico as a state,  and to withdraw as cosponsors. From the Puerto Rico Report:   3. Receive word three weeks later that not only did not a single congressman withdraw as a cosponsor, but instead the bill added one more. From GovTrack.us: [quote_box author=”Govtrack.us” profession=””] Dec 04, 2013 — New Cosponsor H.R. 2000: Puerto Rico Status Resolution Act New Cosponsor: Rep. Matthew Cartwright [D-PA17] [/quote_box]   What else could you...

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The US will never accept the ‘enhanced commonwealth’

As the status wars heat up with recent moves by Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, Pasquines came across an interesting piece of recent history that provides great insight into Congress’ perspective when it comes to the territories and their relationship with Washington, DC. You see, Puerto Rico’s eastern neighbors, the also American, also unincorporated territory Virgin Islands of the United States have never had a Constitution despite 5 constitutional conventions (which makes you wonder how effective would one of those be in Puerto Rico, but I digress). The last one of those conventions, was actually able to draft a new constitution, which faced opposition from the governor, John P. de Jongh, who argued certain provisions in the constitution were contrary to the US Constitution, and as a result refused to forward the draft constitution to President Barack Obama and Congress. After a court battle, the governor was forced to send the draft to the White House, who upon receipt asked for a review of the proposed constitution by the Department of Justice. The review was not favorable, for many reasons. When Congress received the proposed constitution along with the review by the Department of Justice, it agreed with the conclusions of the latter, and sent back the proposal, particularly, and here’s the kicker, for this reason: [quote_box author=”” profession=””]Whereas the Department of Justice concluded that several features of the proposed...

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Incongruous Commonwealth

Recently, a post from GeoCurrents went viral for its explanation of unconventional geopolitical status in the world, and in it, we find the best possible definition for the commonwealth there is: Incongruous Commonwealth: Puerto Rico indicated. Puerto Rico, like the Northern Mariana Islands, occupies an incongruous geopolitical position. It is not fully part of the US, but neither is it a mere dependency (as are Guam, American Samoa, etc). Puerto Rica is instead officially classified as a “commonwealth.” Four U.S. states (Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) also have official “commonwealth” status. There is no connection between the two kinds...

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Be careful about what you post about the Government

Yesterday, Tribuna Puerto Rico, a online news site, published an editorial apologizing for what they described as lying to its readers, by publishing directly from Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla that there was a new investment in the Luis Munoz Marin Airport, that would create hundreds of new jobs. Then, unlike most of the major news outlets in Puerto Rico, Tribuna researched and found that the “new” investment was actually announced two years ago, under then Governor Luis Fortuno. Someone did not like that post, because hours later Tribuna’s site went down. Post by Tribuna – Puerto Rico.   News outlet attacks aren’t anything new, and if somehow, someone connected to the government is responsible for the cyberattack, it would not be the first time a media outlet feels attacked. Vocero, one of the three largest newspapers is being challenged during their bankruptcy process in court by the government. In any case, the attack seemed to not have any effect. Tribuna posted that the editorial received more than 120,000 visits. Post by Tribuna – Puerto Rico.   They could be more careful about what they post about the government like the other news outlets do, but we can all agree it’s better that they do...

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