PDP proposes new status plebiscite that includes ‘political association’

By John McPhaul

Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago announced the filing of a bill over the weekend to direct another public consultation on Puerto Rico’s political status, this time including the current status.

“Today I announce to you that, in the coming weeks, we will be leading an unprecedented legislative action, which will pursue the beginning of a formal process of dialogue between the people of Puerto Rico, Congress and the White House through representative negotiation committees of the three recognized status alternatives -- integration, independence and political association -- with equal participation and equal resources,” Dalmau Santiago said Sunday during his message at an event commemorating the Puerto Rico Constitution.

Dalmau Santiago said the measure will not need the endorsement of the New Progressive Party (NPP) or the Puerto Rican Independence Party.

“The members of the negotiating committees will be selected, initially, by the political parties representing each ideological sector, but with the exception that, if any political party declines to join the effort, the mechanism will provide for other groups and citizens recognized as defenders of a certain formula, and they can assume the representation of that ideology,” the Senate president said. “The purpose of this effort is that it culminates with a vote of the able voters on their status preferences. However, this initiative will rest on an informed procedure and under a certain mechanism that leaves out demagogic discourse and unrealistic offers that only confuse the electorate.”

The proposal was rejected outright by the leadership of the New Progressive Party.

“The leadership of the PDP [Popular Democratic Party] continues to cling to a territorial status that fails the future of our people, that limits their aspirations and that promotes inequality,” said Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia. “They keep lying to our people that there is a supposed better status under the American flag that they have not been able to achieve in 69 years and that over and over again they have been told by Congress, the Federal Executive [branch] and the United States Court that it does not exist. They want to maintain the deception to perpetuate the colony. It is time for them to understand that our people no longer accept inequality because they want the equality that only statehood gives us.”

NPP Secretary General Carmelo Ríos Santiago added that “we in the NPP are not going to endorse that; on the contrary, we will not lend ourselves to the internal political game within the PDP.”

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