For or Against Statehood

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello has been sending a message to his fellow Democrats as the number of Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential race continues to rise: which side are you on?

In a tweet, Rossello said that the people of Puerto Rico “will not support vague statements.” In a video clip included in the tweet, the statement was expanded: “You can not be for equality and not support the will of the people of Puerto Rico.”

Rossello is referring to the 2012 and 2017 votes in which statehood was the most popular option with voters.

This is not the first time the governor has shared this message. He told reporters that candidates should not have any “wiggle room” when it comes to their positions on Puerto Rico’s political status.

“That’s beautiful that you believe in self determination but we have already self determined,” he said. “It is time to take some action.”

During the midterm campaigns, Rossello encouraged voters to choose candidates who supported statehood, calling them “friends of Puerto Rico.”

Vague statements

Rossello’s references to “vague statements” probably refer to the fact that most candidates for political office in the states say that Puerto Rico should be “consulted” about the Island’s political status or that the territory should have “self-determination.”

Donald Trump, for example, made this statement when he was campaigning for the presidency: “I believe the people of Puerto Rico deserve a process of status self-determination that gives them a fair and unambiguous choice on this matter. As president I will do my part to insure that Congress follows the Constitution. The will of the Puerto Rican people in any status referendum should be considered as Congress follows through on any desired change in status for Puerto Rico, including statehood.”

Rossello’s position is that the voters of Puerto Rico have already spoken on the subject of status. Self determination has already happened. Now he wants to know where candidates stand on respecting the vote and taking action.

Responses to Rossello’s tweet ranged from expressions of concern that he might sound adversarial to excitement over his bold statement.

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