January 16, 2008

Politics of Puerto Rico

Why is understanding Puerto Rican politics so important?

Politics are everything in Puerto Rico. First off, even in the last election 70% of the voting-age population cast a vote, which is significantly higher than the statistics for the U.S. Politics are constantly discussed on the streets, on the radio, in the newspaper, everywhere. It can be a little overwhelming if you’re not really interested. The only comparison I can think of is how Americans talk about football during football season. It’s really, really big.

What are the parties of Puerto Rico?

There are three main parties:
- Partido Nuevo Progresista/New Progressive Party (PNP), which is pro-statehood. Their symbol is a palm tree, and their color is blue.
- Partido Popular Democrático/Popular Democratic Party (PPD), which wants to continue (or enhance) the Commonwealth. Their symbol is a jíbaro and their color is red.
- Partido Independista Puertorriqueño/Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), which is pro-independence. Their symbol is a green flag with a white cross and their color is green.

The PPD is currently in power with Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, although the PNP controls both the Senate and the House of Representatives. These two parties command most of the votes and are bitter rivals. The PIP is much smaller but is still very important. Its supporters include a lot of intellectuals, and violence, while not condoned by the party, has been committed in the name of independence.

Puerto Rico’s status issue is a difficult topic to discuss neutrally so I’ll leave it for another time. Keep in mind, however, that it is not the voters or Puerto Rico’s government that decides its status, but rather the U.S. government. The entire island could vote for statehood or independence but only the U.S. can change it, although the island certainly could pressure it. Despite this, everyone has an opinion about it.

Who are some important political figures?

Aníbal Acevedo Vilá is the current Governor of Puerto Rico since the 2004 elections. I don’t really know what to say about him except that he’s not very attractive and I saw him once in person. Three Kings Day a year ago (or two? I can’t remember) we saw him walking into the Governor’s mansion in SJ. Okay, that’s not so exciting, but it’s better than nothing.

Pedro Rosselló is ex-Governor and leader of the PNP. He’s everywhere. A lot of people hate him but he keeps getting involved in politics anyways. Here is his website.

Luis Fortuño is the current Resident Commissioner (Puerto Rico's representative in Congress who can't vote) and another member of the PNP. His webpage is here.

These three politicians make up a large part of political news in the island and should help to make it more... understandable.

Anyways, for your listening pleasure (or really... not...) I have some samples of Rosselló's campaign music, thanks to my friend and her dad. If you want a laugh, download this file. It's hilariously awful. On the other hand, I have something more... respectable here.


1 comment:

Most things are Connected at Some Level? said...


Now that Mr. Barone --of U.S. News & World Report-- has discussed whether Puerto Rico's "all-or-nothing" 63 Delegate Primary might be incredibly decisive in determining the outcome of the primary, will you comment on this related issue that may well impact the result of the PR Primary?

Will you discuss the person often described as the "French Obama" (for better or worse... she even endorsed Obama on her recent trip to America! :|).

Segolene Royal dans Harvard: Endorses independence for the U.S. territory of the United States, Puerto Rico?!
Have you seen this about the French Presidential hopeful, Segolene Royal, which seems to have appeared, among other places, in a page associated to the French ultra-prestigious newspaper, Le Monde Diplomatique?

Will you comment on it to offer a more balanced perspective and the uniquely yours and facinanting analysis that only you know how to offer?