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The Rum Wars

Since 1917, Puerto Rican rum has had an excise tax imposed when sold in the U.S., and the U.S. government has sent roughly the same amount of money back to Puerto Rico. In recent years, this “cover-over,” as it’s called, has amounted to about half a billion dollars a year for Puerto Rico. The U.S. Virgin Islands gets the same deal, but they’ve received only a fraction of the income from it — about 20% as much as Puerto Rico.

In an effort to catch up, the Virgin Islands offered Diageo PLC part of the cover-over if they’d move their distillery from Ponce to St. Croix. They agreed, leaving a 6th generation rum company devastated.

The British company, which makes Captain Morgan rum, will cost Puerto Rico about $140 million this year — money that went toward schools, health care, and the island’s infrastructure.Read More »The Rum Wars

Santorum’s Misstep

Republican candidate Rick Santorum was busy wooing Puerto Rican voters in the primary when he remarked,“As in any other state, you have to comply with this and any federal law. And that is that English has to be the main language. There are other states with more than one language as is the case in Hawaii, but to be a state in the United States, English has to be the main language.”Read More »Santorum’s Misstep

Possible U.N. Vote on the Horizon

On June 20, 2011, the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization called on the United States to expedite a process that would allow “Puerto Ricans to fully exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence[.]” This was not the first time these nations highlighted the lack of democratic freedom in Puerto Rico to the United Nations – the Special Committee on Decolonization has approved text calling on United States to expedite Puerto Rican self-determination every year since 2006. Will a similar proposal be approved this June?
Read More »Possible U.N. Vote on the Horizon

The United States Has an Obligation

The United States has an obligation to resolve Puerto Rico’s status as a territory of the United States

The U.S. took possession of Puerto Rico through war.  Almost 110 years later, the United States citizens of Puerto Rico still do not have voting representation in a government that makes and implements their national laws.  The historical underpinnings of the U.S. and our efforts to bring democracy around the world are inconsistent with the lack of a democratic form of government in Puerto Rico at the national level.Read More »The United States Has an Obligation