Democratic Party postpones reorganization because of virus
By John McPhaul
The executive committee of the Democratic Party of Puerto Rico (PDPR by its Spanish initials), in a virtual meeting earlier this week, unanimously determined to postpone its internal reorganization until Sept. 26, subject to the conditions related to COVID-19 that may exist on that date.
The decision was reported Thursday by PDPR President Charlie Rodríguez, who provided an account of the action taken in Tuesday’s virtual meeting in order to safeguard the health of voters.
Rodríguez confirmed that the decision was immediately reported to Rep. Rafael “Tatito” Hernández and ex-Gov. Alejandro García Padilla. Both agreed to the postponement, he said.
The former Puerto Rico Senate president noted that in recent weeks, a spike in COVID-19 cases has emerged on the island, with more than 7,684 confirmed cases and 246 deaths. Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced was thus forced to take restrictive measures, banning all mass activities, both in open and closed spaces.
The Arecibo Coliseum would have served as the venue for the reorganization process. However, the administrator of the venue reported to the committee on Monday that the facility was closed or “locked down” until further notice, due to the COVID-19 emergency and the executive order. Therefore, the use of the structure for the internal reorganization of the PDPR was canceled.
“After consulting with the Governor’s Office and several attorneys, everyone concluded that the internal reorganization of the Democratic Party of Puerto Rico scheduled for August 15, 2020, was contrary to the Executive Order,” Rodríguez said.
The leader of the Democratic Party on the island pointed out that an internal reorganization is an event open to all Democratic voters, that it consists of a face-to-face vote and that it cannot be carried out virtually. He also stressed that the internal reorganization is not carried out with public funds, nor is it an electoral event approved or administered by the State Elections Commission.
“We will continue monitoring the situation and reporting,” Rodríguez said of the postponement.