Just two posts to go on Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria now.

This one has no hurricane news, but it relates to political parties and nationality, two topics that have arisen elsewhere online over the past fortnight.

Politics

Hurricane Maria has brought out the political spectrum in Puerto Rico. More of us now understand the island’s politics, from conservative to leftist.

New Progressive Party — NPP

Although there is a Puerto Rico Republican Party, it functions as the conservative wing of the New Progressive Party, or NPPPartido Nuevo Progresista (PNP) — which has two camps. One aligns with America’s Republican Party and the other with the Democratic Party.

The NPP is the majority party on the island to the extent that, with a two-thirds legislative majority in both Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives and Senate, it faces no real political opposition.

Both the governor and the resident commissioner are from the NPP.

Jenniffer Aydin González Colón, the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, has been doing a lot of liaison work in Washington DC in Maria’s aftermath. González, an NPP member, aligns herself with the Republican Party in the United States.  In June 2017, The Hill included her in its list of Latina Leaders to Watch and describes her as a pro-statehood, small government, pro-business conservative.

Governor Ricardo Antonio Rosselló Nevares is also a member of the NPP. However, he aligns himself with the Democratic Party. He would also like to see Puerto Rico become the 51st state and is certain that it will:

Colonialism is not an option …. It’s a civil rights issue … The time will come in which the United States has to respond to the demands of 3.5 million citizens seeking an absolute democracy.

Although 97% of voters agreed with him in a June 2017 plebiscite on statehood, because they represented only 23% of voters, the result was nullified. This is not the first time Puerto Ricans have voted on the issue. No doubt there will be another plebiscite, although Rosselló would like create a commission which would ensure the island’s legislature would honour the result. Ultimately, the US Congress would have the final say on statehood.

Rosselló’s social views are mixed. On cannabis, he favours legalisation of medical marijuana but opposes legalising recreational marijuana. He supports LGBT rights but opposes same-sex marriage.

Financially, he is grappling with the island’s crippling debt — upwards of $70 million — and has implemented austerity measures on the island.

Popular Democratic Party — PDP

The Popular Democratic Party, or PDP — Partido Popular Democrático (PPD) — wants Puerto Rico to maintain its current status as an unincorporated territory of the United States with self-government.

That might sound like a conservative stance to those who do not live on the island, but the PDP was born out of the Puerto Rico Liberal Party and the Unionist Party in 1938. It, too, is divided into ‘populars’ and ‘conservatives’, and its slogan is ‘Bread, Land, Freedom’.

In 2007, the PDP moved leftward with a new set of party policies:

The new philosophy commits the party to defending a political status for the island that is based in the irrevocable right of the people of Puerto Rico to form a sovereign country.

The mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, is a PDP member and aligns herself with the Democratic Party. She has been President Donald Trump’s biggest and most vocal critic in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. She was also the only mayor out of 78 who refused to work with FEMA. She would not be out of place with her American counterparts.

Puerto Rican Independence Party

The Puerto Rican Independence Party Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño, PIP — is far-left and gets around 2.5% of the vote. The FBI has even had cause to investigate it over the years.

Nationality

Concerning nationality, Puerto Ricans are blessed.

They are blessed from the point of view of automatically belonging to the United States and, potentially, Spain, and, by extension, the European Union.

How much good fortune could a person on an impoverished island want?

Wikipedia‘s article on Puerto Rican citizenship tells us that anyone who is born in Puerto Rico is born as a) a citizen of Puerto Rico (former Spanish possession until 1898) and b) the United States.

Just as good, since 2007, anyone with Puerto Rican nationality can live in Spain for two years and acquire not only Spanish nationality but also (by virtue of the passport) EU nationality, giving them the freedom to live and work anywhere within the EU.

Therefore, native-born Puerto Ricans are in the rare position of potentially holding four citizenships, should will and circumstance permit: Puerto Rico, United States, Spain and the EU.

Who could ask for anything more?? If I were a teacher in Puerto Rico, I would be encouraging all my students to work their proverbial off so that they could go to the US or Spain and Europe.

Puerto Ricans have multiple exit doors that most people in the world don’t have. They need only to harness their energy, whether in the professions or trades.

All Puerto Rican teachers should be telling their students that the world is their oyster — and to prepare themselves for a bright future.

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