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Governor Writes Misleading Letter on Plebiscite to Congress Members

Puerto Rico Report has obtained copies of letters that Governor Garcia Padilla has sent Members of Congress giving results of Puerto Rico’s political status plebiscite very different than those determined by Puerto Rico’s Elections Commission (which includes his “commonwealth” party representative).

Remarkably, Garcia’s letter asserts that the territory’s statehood party “has concentrated all of its efforts on misrepresenting the outcome of the referendum” and its leader, who is Puerto Rico’s elected representative to the Federal government, Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, “has launched a campaign to mischaracterize the electoral results.”

According to the Elections Commission, 53.97% of the vote was against Puerto Rico’s current territory status and 61.16% was for statehood among the alternatives, with nationhood in a non-binding association with the U.S. obtaining 33.34% and independence 5.49%.

Garcia’s letter purports to report that “statehood received only 44.4%.”

It also contends that 26.5% of the vote consisted of ballots that made no choice among Puerto Rico’s status options, suggesting that these should be counted — contrary to Puerto Rico election law.

Further, it combined “Commonwealth supporters” and those who did not choose among the options as totaling “more than 50% of the vote.”

The Governor was not clear as to what option “Commonwealth” supporters voted for.  He urged voters to cast ballots for continuing the current territory status, which received 46.03% of the vote.  The total for territory status and no status choice using his results would be 72.53% — much, much more than 50%.

He also opposed the nationhood in a non-binding association with the U.S. option and urged voters to not vote on the alternatives to territory status.  The combination of those votes and his 26.5% of ballots not voting that he said should be counted would be 59.84% — still much more than 50%.

Garcia also wrote “Commonwealth” was “the option that Puerto Rico has chosen in all past plebiscites.”

In fact, a “Commonwealth” option did win a majority of the vote in the 1967 plebiscite, another “Commonwealth” option obtained a slight plurality of the vote — not a majority — over statehood in the 1993 plebiscite, and statehood was the status that won the most votes in a 1998 plebiscite with a bare majority of the ballots choosing none of Puerto Rico’s status options.  But there is much more to the story that makes the Governor’s claim about “Commonwealth” victories very misleading.

  • The current territory status is often popularly — but misleadingly — called “commonwealth” but the “Commonwealth” option that won the 1967 plebiscite was very different from the current status and was rejected when considered by the Congress and President Ford.
  • The “Commonwealth” option that obtained a slight plurality of the vote in the 1993 plebiscite was different from the 1967 plebiscite “Commonwealth” as well as the current status also was not accepted by President Clinton and congressional leaders.
  • The “commonwealth” party urged votes for none of Puerto Rico’s options in the 1998 plebiscite — as did other nationalists — saying that such votes would be votes for the party’s current status proposal but that proposal was found to be impossible for constitutional and other reasons by the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama Administrations and the leaders of both national political parties of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives committees with jurisdiction over status issues.

4 thoughts on “Governor Writes Misleading Letter on Plebiscite to Congress Members”

  1. Very good analysis. I urge you to send a copy to all members of Congress before this Charlatan continues with these types of stupidities. A loser afraid to declare himself an Independentista, just as the other two hypocrites Gutierrez and Velazquez. Shameful miscreants all of them.

  2. The current Governor of P.R. is desperate and would resort to all sorts of number manipulation and lies to continue with the colonial status. Thevoters in the recent plebiscite said “enough” and voted agains the current colonial status. The majority voted for statehood.

  3. The governor of Puerto Rico needs to study democracy, his Estado Libre Asociado is not a viable alternative or solution to the present status quagmire. Like Lincoln properly stated: ” You can fool some of the people some of the time, , but you can’t fool all the people all the time”.

  4. What can be expected from a Governor that is so ill prepared to govern that he can’t even speak English? Let him go to the Congress of the U.S. and make a speech in English on behalf of all his misrepresentations and lies.

  5. Finally! Someone has explained that the “commonwealth” options of all previous plebiscites were each different from the original 1952 constitutional and from each other. This is a result of the Popular Democrat Party’s insistence in redefining the USA-PR relationship to suit their ever changing whims. They have always wanted to have their commonwealth cake and eat it as independence too.

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