30 November 2012

Analysis of Puerto Rico's 'plebiscite farce'

Comité de Puerto Rico en la ONU

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Analysis of results of the plebiscite farce and elections in Puerto Rico held on November 6, 2012, by the leadership of the National Hostos Movement for the Independence of Puerto Rico (MINH). 

A. The Plebiscite Farce

1. The Committee for Puerto Rico at the United Nations and the MINH from early on denounced the plebiscite farce as a non-binding move by the annexationist leadership. We also recognized that the plebiscite would have results of relative important. 

2. It is important that, because of its colonial nature, a majority of the electorate rejected the Free Associated State status of Puerto Rico. It is totally untrue that annexation to the United States won the support of more than 60% of the voters. Statistical manipulations by the annexationists attempt to hide that they obtained less that 45% of the votes and that the total vote for a Sovereign Free Associated State (24.3%), independence (4.0%), ballots left blank and ballots with protest expressions, add up to 55% of the votes cast. 

3. Annexation to the United States continues to be a minority option for Puerto Ricans and we can anticipate that the United States will do nothing regarding any aspect of this plebiscite farce. Sectors in Washington and the press in the U.S. capitol, including the Huffington Post, negate that annexation won the majority vote. 

4. We will continue to reclaim our inalienable right to self-determination and indepen-dence in conformity with international law, specifically resolution 1514(XV), and we will continue to advocate for a Constitutional Status Assembly as an instrument for the decolonization process of the Puerto Rican people. Our case is under consideration by the United Nations Decolonization Committee which has adopted 31 resolutions reiterating this right in conformity with resolution 1514(XV). 

Breakdown of the “plebiscite” data with 94.74% of the electoral units counted: 

Statehood: 802,179- 44.6% Sovereign Free Assoc State: 436,997- 24.3% 

Independence 72,551- 4.0% Blank ballots: 468,478- 26.1% 

Protest expressions: 17,602 -1% 

Sum total of votes: 1,797,807 

Sovereign Free Assoc State, Independence, blank and protested ballots total = 55.4% 

Sovereign Free Associated State and blank ballots = 50.4% 

B. The General Elections 

1. Defeat of the annexationist New Progressive Party (NPP) in the gubernatorial, legislative and municipal races, including the capitol, reflects rejection by our people of the arrogance and abuses with which Governor Luis Fortuño’s government acted during the last four years. The Puerto Rican people rejected undesirable candidates and bad ideas and actions with a negative impact on them. 

2. We welcome the triumph of Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto in the San Juan (capitol) mayoralty race. This represents another defeat of the annexation party its authoritarian government and was a triumph resulting from an alliance in favor of dignity and decency, and development in San Juan. The convergence of numerous civil society groups, and others including the MINH, in favor of Yulín, will be a model for the rest of the country. Progressive sectors triumphed once again, as happened in the August referendum regarding limitation of the right to bail. 

3. The elections reflected an important effort by emerging political parties, all of them progressive, which was effective in delivering their message to the Puerto Rican people; but this effort was affected by the will to rid Puerto Rico of the Luis Fortuño and New Progressive Party government. The election of Pro Independence Party (PIP) representative María de Lourdes Santiago to the Puerto Rican Senate is a good development. 

4. A candidate from MINH’s national leadership, José Rivera Santana, to the Puerto Rican House of Representatives on the slate of the Pro Sovereign Union Movement, had a good impact with its message of transparency, depth, and commitment. His message went beyond the independence advocates and beyond the number of votes he garnered as he was projected as a national leader in Puerto Rico. 

5. The significant number of votes from pro-independence advocates for governor-elect Alejandro García Padilla of the Popular Democratic Party was decisive in his victory. This reflects the high number of independence advocates which goes beyond the Pro Independence Party and the emerging political parties. 

6. A profound electoral reform is urgent. This reform, among other things, should guarantee the elimination of electoral fraud against minority parties, and also modernize the electoral process, to ensure clean, free and fair elections. Modalities of electronic voting compatible with Puerto Rico’s system should be considered. 

7. We will be watchful of the appointments made by governor-elect García Padilla to ensure that appointees are honest and competent and have broad support. We will recognize positive efforts by the new government but will also continue to defend the interests of our people and will denounce any initiative against their interest. 

We will continue to work for the unity of the pro independence forces in the face of pseudo plebiscites and future elections.