The Democratic Party of Puerto Rico has passed a resolution supporting the validity of the upcoming status vote “as a legitimate and valid democratic method for exercising the right to self-determination of the American citizens of Puerto Rico.”
The resolution also calls on Puerto Rico voters to choose “Yes” in the vote on the question, “Should Puerto Rico be admitted immediately into the Union as a State?”
Reasons for the resolution
The resolution lists fourteen reasons for passing the resolution:
- Puerto Rico was colonized by Spain in 1493 and passed on to the United States in 1898, making it the oldest colony in the world and the longest-held territory of the United States.
- U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico do not have full representation in American democracy, since they do not have the legislators a State would have and cannot vote in presidential elections.
- Puerto Rico has almost 200,000 veterans and more than 25,000 active service members, as well as a proud tradition of military service in the U.S. armed forces stretching back more than a century.
- Puerto Rico’s treatment as a territory has “substantially contributed” to the Island’s current economic distress. “It creates uncertainty, a short-run approach to economic policy, a practice and ideology of reliance on special treatment by the U.S., and the absence of firm foundations for sustained economic development within the island’s own society.”
- Territorial status also allows “unequal and discriminatory treatment” of Puerto Rico, further contributing to economic distress.
- The 2020 Democratic Party Platform speaks out against unequal treatment of Puerto Rico.
- Polling in the United States shows that the American people overwhelmingly favor statehood for Puerto Rico.
- The Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, has described statehood as “the most effective means of ensuring that the residents of Puerto Rico are treated equally, with equal representation at the federal level.”
- Biden has also stated that “the people of Puerto Rico must decide and the United States Federal government must respect and act on that decision.”
- The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico has determined that the November 3rd plebiscite is “a constitutionally valid exercise of self-determination.”
- Full rights and representation are only available with statehood.
- The November 3rd vote will give a voice to the people of Puerto Rico in a valid act of self-determination.
Puerto Rico’s Democratic Party
The Democratic Party in Puerto Rico is part of the national Democratic Party. Traditionally, this party has included supporters of statehood as well as other status options, including various reiterations of a “Commonwealth” status of questionable Constitutional viability.
Stepping out in clear support of statehood is therefore a change in position. However, it is a change which has been building in recent years. Statehood supporters are found among both Democrats and Republicans on the Island. It is not uncommon for the Governor of Puerto Rico and the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico to be members of different national political parties, while both favor statehood.
The major political parties of Puerto Rico, the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) and the New Progressive Party (PNP), are not affiliated with the national political parties. Members of these two parties may identify as Democrats or Republicans. The central focus of each party is on the issue of Puerto Rico’s political status. The PNP supports statehood. The PDP has traditionally supported an “enhanced commonwealth” option that has been rejected many times by all three branches of the federal government.