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Author: William-Jose Velez

House Subcommittee approves funding for Puerto Rico status plebiscite

The  United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies has approved the CJS Appropriations bill which includes language providing for the request of President Barack Obama of $2.5 million to celebrate a status plebiscite in Puerto Rico, and an education campaign on the status options available. The language was included with the backing of Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY). Serrano indicated that “this funding is an important step forward in resolving Puerto Rico’s status.  It is clear that the current colonial status of Puerto Rico must change, and that a majority of the Puerto Rican people feel that this unequal status cannot continue.   I am pleased that the CJS subcommittee has taken a giant step forward in that process.” The move had been celebrated by Puerto Rico’s non-voting Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR), who said he thanked the subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) and the Ranking Member Chaka Fattah (D-PA) for including the measure in the bill. Pierluisi also tweeted today that he personally thanked the President for his petition for Congressional funding of a new plebiscite, after forming part of a meeting on immigration reform with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Le agradecí personalmente al Presidente su petición de que se asignen fondos para resolver el problema de nuestro estatus — Pedro Pierluisi (@pedropierluisi) July 10, 2013 The bill now goes to the full appropriations committee for a...

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New Progressive Party to sue Puerto Rico Government

Following the uncovering of the illegal lobbying scheme by the Government of Puerto Rico as uncovered in soyPATRIA, the New Progressive Party President and Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi has announced the party will sue to stop the practice, following the confirmation of the practice by the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration. Pierluisi, while present in the 2013 Convention of the NPP Youth in Cidra, Puerto Rico, stated that he had directed the party lawyers to draft a law suit to be filed in trial court. “Today we have learned that the person that directs the office of Puerto Rico in Washington, Juan Eugenio Hernandez Mayoral, admitted publicly that public funds are being utilized to go against the will of our people, and to visit members of the federal Senate to tell them among other things that statehood did not win in the past plebiscite and to defend the current status, to go against what the people already decided. Who gets the most amount of votes in a plebiscite or electoral process if who wins, and the people of Puerto Rico spoke clearly in the plebiscite. Statehood won” indicated Pierluisi. The NPP president had in fact warned since the beginning of the term that he would follow this course of action should the current territorial administration use lobbyists for the purpose of lobbying against the plebiscite results. Such a course of...

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In Puerto Rico, it is already 2016

While in the national sphere many have begun speculating about the 2016 presidential, the fact is they are already behind Puerto Rico’s politicians, especially those from the New Progressive Party. In the 3.7 million people archipelago, the race for 2016 has already begun, not a full year after the 2012 elections which removed the New Progressive Party from power, leaving only Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi standing. Pierluisi in fact, is in the middle of a public relations battle with Ricardo Rossello, son of former governor Pedro Rossello, as both are often mentioned as possible candidates to presumably face Alejandro...

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Fortaleza doesn’t like it when you translate their tweets

Reuters columnist Cate Long found herself in the crosshairs of Puerto Rico’s executive Mansion when she published a post about Fortaleza’s bizarre tweets explicitly referencing the possibility of bankruptcy of the Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico and the downgrade of its bonds. She happened to have translated the tweets from Spanish to English. The Director of Digital Strategy at the Executive Office of the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Alfaro tweeted that Long’s translations of the tweets from Fortaleza where not officially sanctioned. The translation published by @cate_long on her blog in @Reuters was not written nor authorized by @fortalezapr. — Ricardo Alfaro (@ralfaro) June 22, 2013 Long later said to have used Google Translate to obtain the English version of the tweets, and replied asking if the substance of the tweets was true in the translated tweets. Alfaro responded by saying that they “…don’t have a problem with the substance because it is the truth. Yet the translation may be misleading.” When asked what may have been misleading from the translated tweets, Alfaro did not respond. Long also invited him to provide an official translation in the comments of her post, but as of press time, no translations had been provided. @cate_long @Reuters @fortalezapr we don't have a problem with the substance because it is the truth. Yet the translation may be misleading. — Ricardo Alfaro (@ralfaro) June...

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Government of Puerto Rico illegally lobbying Congress

Yesterday an illegal lobbying scheme was uncovered by soyPATRIA, in which the Government of Puerto Rico is using public funds to promote their discredited view of the 2012 Plebiscite results. Using an unconstitutional resolution approved in the territorial legislature, the results of the past plebiscite are being misrepresented to the members of Congress who received a letter from the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration with the resolution. Carta de @juaneugeniohm a las oficinas congresionales. @soy_patria @hernanpadilla51 @latinorebels — Dexter (@dexter_pol) June 13, 2013 The scheme, one many had predicted would happen, was uncovered when the letter arrived at the offices of each congressional member. Previous actions by the PRFAA, including the hiring of conservative lobbyist Charlie Black had prompted sharp rebukes from the president of New Progressive Party and current Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, who had warned that if the administration of Alejandro Garcia Padilla engaged in this type of behavior using public funds they would resort to legal action. As of yet, Pierluisi has not reacted to the letters. The issue with the actions of the territorial administration lies in the conflict they entail with both the Constitution of Puerto Rico and electoral law. Beginning with the interpretation contained in the resolution and often espoused by members of the pro status quo Popular Democratic Party, there is a problem with the law. Courts in both the mainland...

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