Decision 2008 in Puerto Rico

October 1st, 2008
If recent polls are any indication to what will be the political fortune of each gubernatorial candidate, then Luis Fortuño should be easing his way into La Fortaleza early next year. Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner and New Progressive Party gubernatorial candidate enjoys a 28-point lead over current governor Anibal Acevedo Vila.

Governor Acevedo Vila’s popularity has continued its steady decline. With more than 84% of Puerto Ricans recently stating that they are not happy with the direction the island has been heading for the last few years, it seems that that governor’s political future is in serious doubt. More and more people are seemingly abandoning the Acevedo-Vila bandwagon. Recently, a group of ex-Popular Democratic Party leaders as well as former administration officials announced the formation of “Populares con Fortuño” and have made public their intention to vote for the statehood party candidate.

One reason for the break in ranks with the PDP stems from the party’s continued effort of seeking increased political separation between Puerto Rico and the United States. Ironically, it has no problem with economic assistance. “Populares con Fortuño” represent a sector of the PDP that has become very nervous with the rhetoric coming from the top as to Puerto Rico’s political status. It is important to note that the PDP is essentially composed of three sectors. The first, and perhaps the largest sector is made up of individuals who tend to enjoy Puerto Rico’s current status with the U.S. but if push came to shove, would favor Puerto Rican statehood over any possibility of separation from the United States. Secondly, there are those who would really prefer independence, but acknowledge the inability of the Puerto Rican Independence Party to ever win a general election and therefore cling to the PDP. Finally, there are those who have consumed the cool aid spewed by the party of a permanent union with U.S. citizenship and entitlements, with no taxes or responsibilities. “Populares con Fortuño” have stated that they feel, “threatened and betrayed” by what they consider separatists language in the party’s platform.

As the candidates debate, and the governor prepares to face a multi-count indictment in federal court, Puerto Rico once again finds itself at a crossroad. If it continues in its present course the island is likely to continue to face a never-ending economic crisis with a governor trying to stay out of federal prison and the all-important status issue being given another four years to languish unattended.

On the other hand, if the electorate decides to hand Luis Fortuño the reigns of power, then we must do everything possible to ensure he fulfills his promise to ensure that the Puerto Rico political status quandry is finally resolved. That is the challenge we face. It is one that Let Puerto Rico Decide/Citizens Educational Foundation look forward to engage.

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