February 14, 2008

Puerto Rico Gets Involved in the Primaries

So, my news (thanks Google for allowing me to set my news page to automatically pick up news on Puerto Rico) keeps coming up with the news that Aníbal, governor of Puerto Rico, is endorsing Obama.

    Great leaders like Senator Obama are defined by their visionary leadership
- but also by their willingness to listen to, and learn from, the voices
of citizens. The four million Puerto Ricans on the Island, along with the
four million across the U.S. mainland, are seeking such a leader as
President. Senator Obama has answered our call, by hearing Puerto Ricans'
desire to advance our economic, social and political aspirations. I am
proud to endorse Barack Obama for President.
This is making waves because apparently PR has 63 delegates, more than most states, and it's winner-take-all. This is made its way around a few blogs already.

Honestly, I think this is nonsense. The idea that Puerto Rico can determine the primaries just seems ridiculous to me. Let's see... could it be that their primary is on June 1st, the very last primary? I am hoping that by then this will all be decided. Even if it is, who's to say that Puerto Rico won't vote for Hillary? While racism, according to our media, supposedly has kept Latinos on Hillary's side, this certainly can't be an excuse for Puerto Rico, with its sizable black and mixed population... but Puerto Ricans tend to be cautious with both liberal morals and uncertain change (my main example here being the inability to claim either statehood or independence and instead preferring a inhibitive but "safe" Commonwealth). I'm not sure how much Aníbal's endorsement will mean to Puerto Rico but I am not sure it will have as much weight as some project. He's a relatively unpopular governor involved in a few scandals in the moment.

The strangest part of all of this for me is that they can have a vote in the primaries, but can't vote in the general election. How bizarre would it be to have them choose a presidential candidate, only to be unable to support him/her in the real election? It's like having someone make a cake and then tell them they can't have a piece.

Anyways, point is, it's too early to make that judgment. I think I'll just sit back and allow everyone to scramble over themselves trying to predict what cannot be predicted.


Petra H said...

I just discussed this issue with my Spanish teacher (Puerto Rican of course) yesterday - he's hoping that Obama wins. I asked him to explain why there is a Puerto Rican primary when they don't have the right to vote in the presidential elections - absurd but interesting...

:: VEGA :: said...

Puerto Rico doesn't have the right to vote in the final elections for several reasons... for example: we are not a statehood just a commonwealth + puerto ricans don't pay federal tax, etc, etc... allowing puerto ricans to vote in the presidential elections would be a contradiction - because our status is still not resolved...
As a Puerto Rican (living in the US right now) I just HOPE and wish that after so many years of oppresion my country goes out and vote wisely in the primaries...
I truly believe that Obama is offering the island a great opportunity... the opportunity to FINALLY be heard... he wants to impulse our economy, restore vieques and its waters and seriously take agenda over our status among other things....
here's a link to some of the coverage:

I know there is a lot going on with the current governor but I think the country is smarter than that... my parents don't support "Acevedo Vila" (PR governor) but they are paying attention to the candidates and what are they offering and right now... Obama is winning for them... the media is doing lots of coverage and that is what everyone over there is talking about...

Speaking Boricua said...

Yeah, I understand, but the status should be resolved because being governed without representation, and the other problems that go along with it, is unconstitutional! The status should be resolved.
I agree that Obama offers a lot to the island and deserves attention. His message has a certain resonance with the people of Puerto Rico who are looking for the same "change" that many Americans also seek. I think it's vital for Puerto Rico to explore what a Hillary or Obama presidency would mean for the island.
(By the way, I hope you didn't take my attempts at being neutral to mean I support Hillary... not that that's bad either, but...)

:: VEGA :: said...

I totally agree... either Obama or Hillary have great things to offer Puerto Rico and the US at such difficult times... let the best candidate win!