Dr. Jill Stein is the presidential candidate for the Green Party in 2016. She hasn’t gained as much coverage as candidates Clinton and Trump, but a reporter from Caribbean Business got a statement about Puerto Rico from Stein at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.
“Whether they want statehood or to be separate,” she continued, “we need to respect the people of Puerto Rico.”
On a Facebook Live presentation last month, Stein said, “It’s time to stop exploiting Puerto Rico, which is the same thing as colonizing. Puerto Rico has provided a more-or-less tax-free environment for U.S. corporations for quite some time. It has provided low-wage workers. Corporations have been free to pollute in Puerto Rico to devastating impact. I think it’s time to repay the burden that we have imposed on Puerto Rico… I believe we need to give Puerto Rico a real chance to contemplate what kind of a future it wants and what kind of an arrangement is going to work for it… We need to have democracy rule the day in Puerto Rico.”
These remarks echo Stein’s statement on Puerto Rico at her website, which says in part,
“The colonial status of Puerto Rico under US rule has allowed its residents to be exploited by the rich and powerful, depriving most residents of a decent quality of life. The poverty we have created there is crushing and overwhelming. We need to begin to treat Puerto Rico with respect, dignity and fairness and commit to promoting economic justice, security and self-determination rather than exploitation.”
The 2016 Green Party Platform statement on Puerto Rico is consistent with Stein’s comments:
The Territory of Puerto Rico
We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state. We further recognize the historic significance of the 2012 local referendum in which a 54 percent majority voted to end Puerto Rico’s current status as a U.S. territory, and 61 percent chose statehood over options for sovereign nationhood. We support the federally sponsored political status referendum authorized and funded by an Act of Congress in 2014 to ascertain the aspirations of the people of Puerto Rico. Once the 2012 local vote for statehood is ratified, Congress should approve an enabling act with terms for Puerto Rico’s future admission as the 51st state of the Union.
Stein, a Harvard-educated physician, ran for president as the Green party’s nominee in 2012 as well. Originally from Illinois, she has run for public office in Massachusetts and is known for her work as an environmental activist. According to Politico, Stein expects to be listed on November ballots in 47 states, and has showings as high as 5% in polls that include her.