The Colonialist Party at the United Nations: Popular Democratic Party and Self-determination for Puerto Rico
Victor M. Rodriguez
6 20 2009
If one looks at the pictures of Hector Ferrer at the UN one can notice that he is like “una cucaracha en un baile de gallinas,” his face reminds me of Bush’s demeanor when he was informed of the 9/11 attacks. The reason is that as president of the PDP, and frankly not a real “sovereigntist” (charicatures of pro-independence supporters) he felt obliged to attend the UN session since the PPD has began to do so in the past. His presentation was embarrassing and rightfully ignored. The PPD (commonwealthers) are in an ideological struggle between the orthodox colonialists (posibilistas) and those who want more sovereignty.
I would add that the reason the UN has not taken up the issue is that the colonial government of Puerto Rico has always practiced (whether statehooders or commonwealthers) the old Luis Muñoz Marin strategy of “posibilismo” (whatever is possible within the empire). Jose Trias Monge (one of the architects of the commonwealth fraud) and Cesar Ayala and Rafael Bernabe (PR in the American Century) explain how pro-independence/socialist like Muñoz became a “posibilista” abandoning the self-determination road.
I don’t think the GA will take up the issue directly but might be able to place more focus on monitoring the de-colonization process. The pro-statehood project that the non-voting delegate of Puerto Rico presented in congress H.R. 2499 (euphemistically called the Puerto Rico Democracy Act) will wither away since it is not the product of any consensus and the U.S. will have to revisit the issue. The reason: while the cold war is no longer around with the Evil Empire breathing fire under the dragon’s belly, for the first time Latin American countries are exercising a measure of independence that it has never before exercised. One of the ways they express it is by supporting Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination and independence. From lonely Cuba to most of LA governments now, either privately or publicly supports these new efforts. Also, the reality is that Puerto Rico is so “imbricated” economically with the US that it does not affect Latin American’s trade with the US if PR was free.
The US remains in Puerto Rico because in 2006, $33,300 billion dollars in profits were repatriated to US corporations. The irony is that it paid fewer taxes in 2006 for these repatriated profits $27 million compared to $111 in 2000.
Puerto Rico bought in 2006, $19,434 billion of goods from the US (50 per cent of its imports) and paid $2.4 billion to the US Merchant marine, thousands (some estimate in the hundreds of thousands) of US workers depend on the trade between Puerto Rico and the United States, which is forcibly done on the most expensive merchant marine in the world, the US merchant marine. Puerto Rico sustains 60 per cent of the US merchant marine; the ports of New Orleans and Jacksonville are dependent on PR’s trade.
However, Obama has shown some sense of concern with US global image so, who knows, he might truly follow through on his May 26 words to a local newspaper (Nuevo Dia) “That is a very important reason why the status issue must be resolved. And I want to work with leaders from both sides and with the Congress to commence a process of self determination.”
I know many people say that people in Puerto Rico don’t vote for independence, the reality is that in the 1930-50s pro-independence sentiment was majority until repression, welfare transfers, emigration (more large support in the US) ideological persuasion (in the Gramscian hegemonic fashion) pushed the sentiment underground. But if a clear, transparent path to self determination is offered through negotiation, with the funds needed for the transition (as has been done elsewhere) Puerto Ricans will likely choose free association or independence. The US will never grant statehood to PR.
What’s in it for the US? Already 345,000 people voted against the colony by immigrating to the US. The economic model is bankrupt since mid 1970s, neo-liberal policies will further send more Boricuas to the US, something that the US does not want.