Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Duke87

Puerto Rican statehood

47 posts in this topic Last Reply

Recommended Posts

While all the hubub of Obama versus Romney was going on last night in the 50 current states, this happened in Puerto Rico.

Thanks to a new ring-choice voting tactic which forced the issue a bit, the people of Puerto Rico have voted to apply for statehood. If Congress allows it, we may soon have a 51st State.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you know if the US Virgin Islands voted on this too or they will join when if Puerto Rico does?

Never been to Rico itself, I have been to St. Thomas in the Virgin islands. Very nice place but the people there feel like they're being treated as second-class citizens and want to join the union.

Fun fact: Turks and Caicos may join Canada one day.

-We might also gobble Iceland down the road as we're helping to bail out their banks and they could be using Canadian currency soon :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Puerto Ricans pay some (not all) federal taxes to the US government and do not have a voting member in Congress.

In school, we learned the slogan "Taxation without representation is tyranny".

Of course, the same situation applies to residents of the District of Columbia, except that they pay more taxes than Puerto Ricans.

That said, I will be amazed if Puerto Rican statehood passes Congress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why not? It is a free country, isn't it?

51 is a prime number. There will be fun and games with the new US flag if this should happen. Time for a new design, maybe?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the two flags, the first harkens back to the original 13 colonies flag from the revolution. I prefer it to the more prosaic second one which shows little creativity.

Some people think that if they stop cranking the world ends. Maybe it does for them, but life goes on, perhaps not human life, but it is very hard to stop the DNA beasts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As Hym has asked: Why would Cascadia and the Bible Belt secede?

Why is statehood for Puerto Rico different than statehood for Hawaii?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They are US citizens and pay taxes, but don't have representation, I think their status should change. There are 4 million Americans who can't vote, that's absurd.

Puerto Ricans pay some (not all) federal taxes to the US government and do not have a voting member in Congress. In school, we learned the slogan "Taxation without representation is tyranny". Of course, the same situation applies to residents of the District of Columbia, except that they pay more taxes than Puerto Ricans.

DC at least has 3 electors in the electoral college who can vote for president, Puerto Rico does not even have that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Original Poster
  • As Hym has asked: Why would Cascadia and the Bible Belt secede?

    Why is statehood for Puerto Rico different than statehood for Hawaii?

    Politics. Puerto Rico could probably be relied on to vote for a lot of Democrats, which would stir the balance in Washington. The fact that Spanish is the official language in Puerto Rico would also be an issue for the "this is America, learn English!" crowd. Desires of the Puerto Rican people aside, I am sure there are plenty of people in the rest of this country who would rather be rid of them than make them a state, for those two reasons.

    As for why secession, well, if the trend becomes that the country is increasingly controlled by one political side over the other, you can bet that the side left in the minority isn't going to shut up quietly. If it gets to the point where we start seeing Democrat after Democrat in the white house, and congress after congress also controlled by Democrats, it is perfectly reasonable to expect that some of the redder states in the country would get fed up and take some sort of action to have their way of thinking preserved (not necessarily secession).

    This sort of scenario is not likely in the near term but is also not outside the realm of possibility.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    And do you think there is a possibility of another Civil War?

    Not when there's nukes involved. America would become a smouldering heap if another civil war broke out and the political world as we know it today would be completely different.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    As Hym has asked: Why would Cascadia and the Bible Belt secede?

    Why is statehood for Puerto Rico different than statehood for Hawaii?

    Politics. Puerto Rico could probably be relied on to vote for a lot of Democrats, which would stir the balance in Washington. The fact that Spanish is the official language in Puerto Rico would also be an issue for the "this is America, learn English!" crowd. Desires of the Puerto Rican people aside, I am sure there are plenty of people in the rest of this country who would rather be rid of them than make them a state, for those two reasons.

    English wasn't always the official language of Hawaii. Now, Hawaii has two official languages: English and Hawaiian (which is more a mix of Polynesian languages than a language itself.) The official state motto is "Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono" and that doesn't seem to bother most people.

    So Polynesians are okay and Hispanics aren't? Or it's far enough away not to bother people? Or it's military position overrides the "hey, these aren't English speaking white people" factor?

    It probably boils down to what you said: more Democrat electoral votes would stir the balance.

    As for why secession, well, if the trend becomes that the country is increasingly controlled by one political side over the other, you can bet that the side left in the minority isn't going to shut up quietly. If it gets to the point where we start seeing Democrat after Democrat in the white house, and congress after congress also controlled by Democrats, it is perfectly reasonable to expect that some of the redder states in the country would get fed up and take some sort of action to have their way of thinking preserved (not necessarily secession).

    This sort of scenario is not likely in the near term but is also not outside the realm of possibility.

    A lot of red states have been wanting to secede anyway. (Never really got over wanting to secede, it seems.)

    And do you think there is a possibility of another Civil War?

    Probably not. The Civil War was ridiculous the first time. Having another one would be asinine. A simpler approach would be "don't let the screen door hit you on the way out".

    Sounds extreme but, if some people are determined to let Nehemiah Scudder rise, I would rather they go away before they do it.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
  • Original Poster
  • So Polynesians are okay and Hispanics aren't? Or it's far enough away not to bother people?

    The distance probably helps. Of course, there is also no controversy over undocumented Polynesian immigrants.

    Also worth pointing out that only 10% of Hawaiians are some form of Pacific Islander - the largest ethnic group there is Asian (38.6%), followed by White (24.7%). While Puerto Rico is predominantly, well, Puerto Rican. Interestingly, though, due to their different origin compared to the people of South and Central America, they are not technically Hispanic and the folks at the census bureau consider them to be White.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    The distance probably helps. Of course, there is also no controversy over undocumented Polynesian immigrants.

    Good point

    Also worth pointing out that only 10% of Hawaiians are some form of Pacific Islander - the largest ethnic group there is Asian (38.6%), followed by White (24.7%). While Puerto Rico is predominantly, well, Puerto Rican. Interestingly, though, due to their different origin compared to the people of South and Central America, they are not technically Hispanic and the folks at the census bureau consider them to be White.

    I was a census worker in 2010. For that particular census (the questions change a bit each time), the view was that Hispanics could be from any race. So one question was about whether the individual was Hispanic or not. Another question was about what race the individual was.

    This confused many people. They were used to "White, Black, or Hispanic". They were not used to "White" and "Hispanic" versus "Black" and "Hispanic". One man stared into space blankly trying to figure out what race he was if "Hispanic" wasn't a race. His eyes lit up when he realized that he could claim "Native American" since he has Tiano ancestors.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    ...

    This confused many people. They were used to "White, Black, or Hispanic". They were not used to "White" and "Hispanic" versus "Black" and "Hispanic". One man stared into space blankly trying to figure out what race he was if "Hispanic" wasn't a race. His eyes lit up when he realized that he could claim "Native American" since he has Tiano ancestors.

    Offtopic, but is important to make a sese for all these words.

    Hispanic: is a cultural group, formerly of the people who speaks spanish natively and his culture are part of the heritage of Spain. Is part of the latin culture, amongst the francophone, italian, portuguese and minor languages and dialects, as catala and gellego. An hispanic usually is white or highly with caucasian caracteristics, but there are hispanic people who are not caucasian but adopted this culture. So, is not a race, is a cultural group.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Fact is that language is not a barrier. We get along pretty well with official bilingualism, and there is no reason for any 'unofficial' policy of English only. I believe I read somewhere that German was once favoured as the Official Language of the United States.

    Most people in Hispanic areas appear to be bilingual in both English and Spanish (or a dialect of Spanish). It wouldn't surprise me if there were more Spanish speakers than most would like to believe. I also wonder how much French (Joual, the dialect of eastern Quebec) is spoken in the New England states. Also, native American languages seem to be alive, if unwell, all across the continent.

    Toronto speaks 200 languages, and publish daily newspapers in several. Some of our TV channels support programming in several languages. A rigid attitude towards a language 'policy' is divisive. Our courts are required to be bilingual in both English and French. The Parliamentary Record (Hansard) is kept in both languages and either language is spoken in Parliament. There is an exception in one of our territories, namely Nunavut. There the unofficial official language is Inuktatut. English and French records are also kept.

    Our cultural mosaic works for us. The idea of a common 'melting pot' is probably up for review these days. Such parochial attitudes have often been causes of international altercations.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
  • Original Poster
  • Most people in Hispanic areas appear to be bilingual in both English and Spanish (or a dialect of Spanish). It wouldn't surprise me if there were more Spanish speakers than most would like to believe.

    There are a lot of people who speak Spanish in New York. Most of them speak English to some degree, but not necessarily very well - and they all prefer to speak to each other in Spanish, which cuts people like me out of the conversation since I can't understand a word they're saying.

    I also wonder how much French (Joual, the dialect of eastern Quebec) is spoken in the New England states.

    Only in areas near the border, and even then mostly as a service to visitors from Quebec. You won't find too many families that speak it exclusively at home, and of course the schools have been all English for generations.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Most people in Hispanic areas appear to be bilingual in both English and Spanish (or a dialect of Spanish). It wouldn't surprise me if there were more Spanish speakers than most would like to believe.

    There are a lot of people who speak Spanish in New York. Most of them speak English to some degree, but not necessarily very well - and they all prefer to speak to each other in Spanish, which cuts people like me out of the conversation since I can't understand a word they're saying.

    I also wonder how much French (Joual, the dialect of eastern Quebec) is spoken in the New England states.

    Only in areas near the border, and even then mostly as a service to visitors from Quebec. You won't find too many families that speak it exclusively at home, and of course the schools have been all English for generations.

    Time for an upgrade. Here, language options are offered starting in Grade X (or were in 1951 when I was in Grade X). However, we were subjected to one year of basic French in grade IX (Langue d'Oui: Parisian, not Joual). In Grade X the options were Latin and German as well as French (you could drop French), and later German was dropped and Russian offered.

    I took four years of French, four years of Latin, and a lot of maths and sciences since I was heading for Engineering. Kids that were good at language and poor at math generally took all the languages they could get and history, heading for a liberal arts education. I know at least one who became a lawyer, and one who wound up in jail. But that was over 50 years ago, and things have now changed, I am sure.

    Some schools are now offering Mandarin. French immersion schools now exist in most communities, probably because you have to be completely bilingual to get a job with the federal government.

    Private cultural organizations can now get classroom space on weekends to teach culture and language of many different counties, and yes, we do have Hebrew Separate Schools.

    As a people, we have decided that multi-culturalism is an advantage not to be lost.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Apparently I'm the first Puerto Rican around here to comment on the issue. In case my testimony appears biased, do consider that I'm of the independentist side of Puerto Rico.

    To answer some basic questions:

    - Puerto Rico is NOT independent NOR a US state--its current status is that of a territory of the United States of America (a belonging/dependency/colony, rather than a constituent member of the USA nor an independent country in close alliance with the USA). We just earned domestic rule in 1952, after a rather large rebellion in 1950. As of ca. 2010, Puerto Rico's population is at around 3,725,000 inhabitants, peaking at around 3,950,000 in 2000.

    - Puerto Ricans earn the USA's citizenship by birth, due to the Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917 (largely motivated to expand the WWI drafting).

    - Puerto Ricans serve the USA's Armed forces, contributing the greatest amount of soldiers of any individual polity of the USA. This, in the view of us independentist, is a blood tribute Puerto Rico is forced to give to the USA's elite.

    - Puerto Ricans have partial taxation at the US federal level: we do not pay US federal income taxes, but we do pay most other taxes (most notably the Social Security payroll tax and various taxes on key commodities). However, the big corporations of the USA pay much smaller tax rates than in the USA proper, and we formerly had a tax haven condition until the phase-out of 1996-2005.

    - Puerto Rico, in worldwide terms, qualifies as having a very high human development index (I would blame it on the long life expectancy), but in US federal terms, we would be poorer than any of the US states, or the District of Columbia, and have about 40-45% of the population below the US federal poverty level. This translates to Puerto Ricans earning a rather big share of social assistance; something that doesn't go well with a structurally weak economy. The "Great Recession" of the late 2000s was felt here as a Depression, with us experiencing the greatest economic contraction worldwide during the last decade. We have one of the world's lowest labor participation rates at ca. 40%, whereas most wealthy countries have that at ca. 55-65%; and on top of that we have a rather high unemployment rate (peaked at 16% 2 years ago, now it's at 13.5%). Since our economy has a big informal and illegal sector (mainly the drug trade), retail companies earn extremely large sums from selling products and services in Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico's drug trade is informally ranked 3rd in GDP contribution, after government and the high tech industries of the USA).

    - Puerto Rico has some structural deficiencies when it comes to administration and government ethic. This includes large levels of tax evasion (although our own tax rates are extremely high), a corrupt government class, overfunding of services that somehow don't manage to go past a questionable performance (most notably primary and secondary education), and big levels of nepotism in what's meant to be a republican form of government.

    - In terms of education, our primary and secondary education are defficient despite the giant budget the Department of Education gets. Conversely, the higher education of Puerto Rico is reasonably outstanding (affordable, rather high level of enrollment, performance superior to that of the primary and secondary levels). Despite this, and having mandatory English language classes, the English language performance of Puerto Rico still lags--only a few of us are fully bilingual, with most of us able to be like this due mainly to the recent media (Internet, cable TV, videogames), not formal education.

    - Culturally, Puerto Ricans are almost entirely hispanic: Puerto Rican Spanish is our mother tongue, our foods, social values, historic reference, arts, gender roles, religion and self-identification correspond to those of a hispanic society, despite the inmense influence the mainstream culture of the USA has through retail and entertainment media. This strong cultural nationalism is present at all levels of society to some extent; with the vast majority of Puerto Ricans self-identifying as Puerto Ricans before anything else. The big influence of the USA's culture hasn't been enough to create a fully bilingual society--only some of us are fully bilingual in Spanish and English, with the majority of the population having either limited or basic mastery of English. If you visit Puerto Rico and go outside of the "gringo zone" (the tourism corridor between Old San Juan and the municipality of Fajardo--northeast Puerto Rico), you will notice it.

    - As for the sovereignty status preferences, I'd say the in-depth analysis of the referendum of last Tuesday explains it reasonably well: ca. 25% status quo, ca. 25% free association (just in case, this would match most closely cases like the European Union or various island countries of the Pacific Ocean), 45% US statehood and 5% full independence. We, however, have a slight majority rejecting the status quo above all (referendum's nominal results being 54% against status quo, 46% supporting status quo).

    The referendum we had on Tuesday goes as follows:

    Question 1: Are you satisfied with the current territorial status Puerto Rico has?

    Answers (valid votes only): Yes with 46%; No with 54% --> majority of 8% against the status quo

    Question 2: REGARDLESS OF YOUR ANSWER IN THE FIRST PART*** , which of the non-territorial status options would you prefer?

    Answers (valid votes only): (Estado 51) US Statehood with 61%, (ELA Soberano) Free Association with 33.5%, (PR Libre) Full Independence with 5.5%

    Answers (blank votes included): (Estado 51) US statehood with 45.1%, (En Blanco) Blank Votes with 26.3%, (ELA Soberano) Free Association with 24.5%, (PR Libre) Full independence with 4.1%

    The following graph compares the results of question 2 when expressed in both ways:

    Votosdelplebiscitodeestatus2012.png

    ***This is something many have failed to grasp in online discussions--voters were allowed to vote on both questions, rather than being kept from voting in the second if they chose "yes" in the first.

    The results of the 2nd part translate to a majority that isn't clear-cut--the blank votes of the second part were too many to simply ignore, as far as becoming the second option in total support. If we compare the results with those of the referenda of 1993 and 1998, they seem rather similar:

    - in 1993 no single option earned a majority, but the biggest one was the Free Association

    - in 1998 there was an option, "none of the above", which earned as tight majority (ca. 51% of the votes)

    One big problem with the sovereignty status referenda in Puerto Rico is how these are often politically loaded--the New Progresist Party (Puerto Rico's US statehood party) usually proposes them (out of the 4 we've had, 3 came from them), the People's Democratic Party (Puerto Rico's status quo party) always opposes or objects them in some form (save for the first one because it gave them a majority of 63% for the status quo). From this last one, we can take with certainly the first part, but not the second. Many here, however, believe the US federal government should run a binding referendum to decide this; others believe in creating a constitutional assembly of status (a roundtable discussion with representatives of the different options, such that Puerto Rico's needs are defined and matched with a final status option with negotiation conditions).

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Well, if Puerto Rico becomes the 51st State and that sends fear through some as they see it as building another Democratic State, those of us up here in northern California & southern Oregon can always try reigniting the 'State of Jefferson' movement. For those unaware, a good portion of northern California & southern Oregon were on the verge of forming the, then, 49th State back in 1941 when a little thing commonly referred to as 'Pearl Harbor' derailed the efforts. You can read more about the State of Jefferson at: http://www.jeffersonstate.com/ It also gives a bit of insight into the mindset of the folks who live up here.

    As good Jeffersonians we (the wife & I) still secede from California every Thursday. At least symbolically.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    How much people would the proposed US State of Jefferson have? Puerto Rico alone has ca. 3,725,789 inhabitants (2010 US Census Bureau), if we added the US Virgin Islands (106,405 inhabitants from the same date and source) it'd go up to 3,832,194 inhabitants. If there was an intention to allow for a balance of power in terms of the political orientation of each place, Jefferson should have a comparable population (ca. 3.5 to 4 million inhabitants).

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    First, thank you, Dragonxander, for giving us an insider's perspective.

    Second, isn't part of the proposed state of Jefferson also part of the proposed Cascadia?

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Since the proposed Cascadia include British Columbia, I think you can forget it. You have as much chance of grabbing B.C. away from Canada as Quebec has in separating. In the Cascadia instance, I think we would fight.

    A referendum in B.C. would very likely kill this idea entirely. After all, it is only a ploy of proponents to grab B.C.'s natural resources, especially the water.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Two points:

    1. The PR referendum was non-binding.

    2. The US has never denied statehood to a territory that met the federal governments requirements and petitioned to join the Union.

    So still a long way to go to add a 51st star, as I would guess that there would have to be a binding vote for statehood to move forward.

    It would be interesting to see if the Republican Party would choose to be part of denying a Latin territory statehood when it clearly needs a higher percentage of the Latino vote to win the presidency. (And yes, I realize that the Latino vote is comprised of multiple groups).

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Two points:

    1. The PR referendum was non-binding.

    2. The US has never denied statehood to a territory that met the federal governments requirements and petitioned to join the Union.

    So still a long way to go to add a 51st star, as I would guess that there would have to be a binding vote for statehood to move forward.

    It would be interesting to see if the Republican Party would choose to be part of denying a Latin territory statehood when it clearly needs a higher percentage of the Latino vote to win the presidency. (And yes, I realize that the Latino vote is comprised of multiple groups).

    About number 2, while that is true, I think when Hawai'i, for example, was declared a state, we saw it as a Pacific stronghold, and proceeded to build Pearl Harbor there. I'm not sure if Puerto Rico has "something" that we're "interested" in.

    Additionally, as someone mentioned earlier, politics are more partisan, and Puerto Rico would surely go blue.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    2. The US has never denied statehood to a territory that met the federal governments requirements and petitioned to join the Union.

    But it has required that certain conditions be met before admission to statehood is granted. It is entirely possible that such a move could happen here.

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an Account  

    Sign up to join our friendly community. It's easy!  

    Register a New Account

    Sign In  

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

    Sign in to follow this  

    • Recently Browsing   0 members

      No registered users viewing this page.

    ×

    Help Keep Simtropolis Online, Open & Free!

    stexcollection-header.png

    Would you be able to help us catch up after a bit of a shortfall?

    We had a small shortfall last month. Your donation today would help us catch up for this month.

    Make a Donation, Get a Gift!

    We need to continue to raise enough money each month to pay for expenses which includes hardware, bandwidth, software licenses, support licenses and other necessary 3rd party costs.

    By way of a "Thank You" gift, we'd like to send you our STEX Collector's DVD. It's some of the best buildings, lots, maps and mods collected for you over the years. Check out the STEX Collections for more info.

    Each donation helps keep Simtropolis online, open and free!

    Thank you for reading and enjoy the site!

    More About STEX Collections