New Governor’s De Facto Abdication of Duties

By Howard Hills

The new Governor of Puerto Rico needs a crash course remedial civics lesson about continuity of democratic representation and government by consent during an orderly transition of power under rule of law.

Through an accident of history and a flawed law of succession, the appointed Attorney General of Puerto Rico now has become the unelected Governor of the last large and populous U.S.territory. In a bizarre pronouncement she has renounced all duties of the office that are “political” in nature.

Apparently intending to appease critics who charge she had complicity in the misconduct of her predecessor, Wanda Vazquez has appointed herself to be political referee of partisan politics instead of the political leader under the territory’s constitution.

That could mean she sees herself as a caretaker who is prepared to step down after appointing a more powerful political leader as her successor. Or, it may be a ploy to buy time and consolidate power as Governor.

Political gesture

Either way, her gesture pretending to be above politics is perhaps the most political thing she could do. Especially because it included her declaration of intention to abandon the Puerto Rico territorial government’s formal petitions to the U.S. Congress seeking the 119 year-old American federally ruled territory’s admission to statehood.

Ignoring majority rule electing the pro-statehood Legislative Assembly and the pro-statehood Governor she succeeds, the novice Governor has by executive fiat and unilateral edict abdicated her role representing the freely expressed will of the majority in the most recent democratic elections.

Despite high voter turnout in those elections that installed pro-statehood majorities in the political branches of the territorial government, the new Governor is abandoning and refusing in effect to carry out the measures adopted as law and policy seeking statehood for the 3.2 million Americans in the territory.

Ignoring pro-statehood votes

What makes that even more anti-democratic and promises to foment even greater political frustration is the reality that while she was never elected she was in the line of succession and has become Governor only because she was appointed by a Governor who was elected, and she ran as a member of the same party as the Governor who appointed her.

That party comprises a bipartisan alliance of U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico who are both Republicans and Democrats. The central pillar of that party’s platform is that Puerto Rico can realize its potential for private sector led prosperity and attain equal civil and politics rights under the U.S. Constitution only through admission as the Fifty-First State of the Union.

A turning point for Puerto Rico

No one paying attention in America or beyond is unaware that the “commonwealth” model of home rule established by Congress in 1952 has failed democratically, politically and economically. It needs to be replaced through an orderly transition to statehood or nationhood on terms approved by Congress and ratified by the voters in an informed act of self-determination.

If U.S. citizenship is to continue, statehood is the only status that secures equal rights. If nationhood is instituted, the U.S. Constitution will cease to be the supreme law of the land.

By declaring that she is suspending the island’s law and policy seeking federal certification of the first political vote on a permanent non-territorial political status, the new Governor not only has disenfranchised and denied government by consent to the majority who voted for statehood in two past locally sponsored vote. She is also disenfranchising those who elected a majority pro-statehood government that is petitioning Congress and the President for a federally sponsored vote to confirm majority support for statehood or not.

Thus, ultimately her supposedly non-political gesture only appeared humble or populist, but in reality it was self-aggrandizing. By ignoring the disciplines of democratic representative self government and the legitimate role of even flawed political parties she is denominating herself party of one. That is how political cult of personality syndrome starts, usually led by a usurper who gained power without being elected.

The former Attorney General initially denied any ambition to be Governor, but now she has assumed the office through circumstances she pretends to have been beyond her control. The best way to support her success — for someone who hopes she does not make a bad situation worse — is to remind her that statesmanship is not the absence of political influences, but rather mastery in reconciliation between political narratives redeeming sound democratic values, integrity in the rule of law, and principles of human liberty and dignity.

42 Comments

Dennis Freytes

AGREE fully! WE must talk to Gov. Vazquez on keeping priority Equality through Statehood witch is not a political fight, but, a Civil Rights one! Besides– Research-Exposé (with Facts-Truth-Reason)-JULY 2019
**Equality for US Citizens-Veterans in US Territory of Puerto Rico!**
“Patriots cry for Justice-a Call to Arms (Civic Action)-for Fairness-Equality!”
SUM: Since, 1898 (for over 120 years)–fellow, but, 2d Class US Citizens-American Veterans (part of “We the People”– 3.4 million in the US Territory of PR; about 6+ million in the States (2d largest Hispanic-Puerto Rican Ethnic Group…)–don’t have Federal “Consent of the Governed”; FACE hidden Federal institutional discrimination; unfair treatment–DON’T have all Rights or blood earned Benefits or Parity in Federal Laws or permanent statutory US Citizenship (no matter US Residency)–that other US Citizens-American Veterans have…); FACE an epic Crisis which components are-
“Economic-Jobs; Fiscal; Infrastructure; Humanitarian; Status-Equality Crisis”
Where each PART affects the other; the Federal undemocratic Territorial (Colonial) Status affects everything–which ties Puerto Rican hands to compete fairly on a level Playing Field…!
• Loyal US Puerto Ricans sacrifice; make great contributions to our noble US, since 1513, when their Ancestors (1st Governor of PR) came to the now US–107 years before the Pilgrims; fought in the War of Independence (1776)…; brave US Veterans today shed sweat, blood, and tears… for our US Flag!
• The Federal Government has done some good things…, but, incongruently doesn’t FAIRLY treat fellow US Citizens-American Veterans, in the US Territory of PR, the same as those in the States even while they are part of “WE THE PEOPLE”… nor has it done anything for 120+ years to remedy an unjust Federal undemocratic situation as there is an Exodus to the States that taxes local resources…
• Patriots of True Grit call for Civic ACTION to get the Federal Government: US President; US Congress; US Federal Courts to do Right– concurrently solve the root causes of the magna Crisis starting with the Federal undemocratic Status; not generalize, speculate, politically distort or stereotype… that SUPPORTS or EXCUSES discrimination or closet racism for ages!
**Please, read enclosed Research based on Facts-Truth-Reason; for JUSTICE-PROGRESS.
START to SOLVE- The Federal Government should do its DUTY; not be incongruent in providing FAIR TREATMENT-EQUAL RIGHTS to some of “WE THE PEOPLE”, but, provide to ALL! Take concurrent ACTION to level the playing field,–fix, with PR Government (that bears some blame), the–
“Economic-Jobs; Fiscal; Infrastructure; Humanitarian; Status-Equality Crisis”
• US Congress must admit the US Territory of Puerto Rico, fellow US Citizens-US Veterans– to our “UNION of STATES” (via STATEHOOD) – with STATE- Boricua Identity; Constitution; Flag; and Sovereignty…, UNITED under our US Constitution-noble US Flag! OR—
o Alternatively, do a binding Referendum on NON-Territorial Constitutional defined options: STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE (Without or with PACT of “Free Association”…)
*NOTE: Those with a non-permanent statutory US Citizenship, even if residing in the States, should participate in any Status Plebiscite, because the outcome could affect them (can lose US Citizenship).
UNITED-With Truth, Reason, Courage, and Civic Action-for the Good of ALL!
Let the TRUTH liberate ignorance!
“Canto Claro Como un Gallo Patriotico Boricua!”–the TIME is now for EQUALITY!

Reply
Ismael Quinones

WTC 911 FIRST RESPONDER: THE TIME HAS COME (STATEHOOD) FOR THE LOVE OF P.R…PONCE…

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Vanessa Bermudez

Wow, I totally agree with you Mr. Freytas. Do not deny us of our rights!

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Haydee

Statehood for Puerto Rico. We need to be the 51 . It’s about time . Enough is enough . This is a different time we need to move forward no back on time ,

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Gloria

Cansada de tanto problema político yo soy una penepe desde que tengo uso de razón y entiendo que es sufragio universal el que manda ni el presidente del senado ni de ningún lado y los senadores dejen al pueblo el estado 51 y no fastidien más

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Felix Perez

How is that possible?, that should be her FIRST and major priority. Where has she been through all these years? That statement leaves a lot to say about a person that is not willing to take responsibility.
Equality for US Citizens-Veterans in US Territory of Puerto Rico!**

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CL Tucker

Every Governor of Puerto Rico should push actively for State hood if nothing else . That is their major priority next to the welfare of it’s citizens…In fact… STATEHOOD For Puerto Rico is in the best interests of it’s citizens!”

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CL Tucker

What the new Gov.of Puerto Rico does not understand is that the people have already spoken on the issue of Statehood..she is reluctant to heed the voices just as she’s reluctant to be in the office….If it pains her to be there… she has but to resign and leave the office to a Governor who knows that Statehood is the best condition for citizens of Puerto Rico and will push until Congress grants this!”

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Migdalia Feliciano

Puerto Rico, por no ser un estado de nuestro país, carece de representación legislativa en Washington y, por ende, no tiene senadores o representantes por los que su gente pueda votar. Adicional que los últimos años hemos sufrido por un sistema colonial y de no tener los mismo derechos. Es importante que EU reconozca que somos una colonia y tenemos el derecho de igualdad.

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Emiliano P. Zapata

The Gobernment of PR is a big mess, caused by the high degrees of corruption in the entire island that dates back to 1940. Corruption needs to be reduced and all the funds used to support projects authorized and not for favors like is done in all other contries including our USA, but we can not afford these violations due to our historic economical problems. These funds need to be used for real projects for all residents and not only for the ones that live in the metropolitan area. Final stop using Veterans as an excuse to get more funds, these veterans if really are disable get a large amount of money based on percentage of disability and should not seek any more funds. Our Island needs to pay what many politicians stole in the past and move forward with needed projects but paying the debts and elect decent and honest leaders not the trash we presently have representing us at all levels of Gobernment.

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Minnie

I agree PR should be a state, however I believe that as long as the current President is in office, taking this step will be a disaster.

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Fernando Ortiz

We need to become state 51 of the United States NOW, We work hard for our Island and we deserve to have a better life quality. And receive the same benefits that the other citizens of the states have.

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Carlos Ortiz

I believe that statehood is what the people of Puerto Rico needs,..Gov.Vazquez..should listen and make statehood a priority in her agenda…

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Rolando Lucas

Its time !!! State 51 We Already sacrificed enough blood for the love of America, we don’t need to be a territory no more we need to be state 51

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Eugenio Gil de Lamadrid, Sgt. USAF

Please, let us respect Constitutional order. Politicians are not patriots. The problems PR has been facing are due to the political corrupt system due to the disrespect for the reign of Law.

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FEDERICO GARCIA BRAVO

Dejen a la nueva Gobernadora trabajar, la Estadidad es una prioridad Politica, que es muy importante para todos nosotros los estadistas, PERO, Primero tenemos que poner a PR en orden y luego los politicos podran trabajar en ese asunto.

Que bueno que no tenemos una Gobernadora identificada Politicamente, eso es lo que asusta a los Politicos, el pueblo va a experimentar un cambio y estaremos atento para el 2020.

Que Dios los Bendiga a todos

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Armando

Why not make it into a state already we already have most of the benefits from the US currency businesses ,The island on its own cannot make it

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Mayra Gardon

Queremos la Estadidad, Siempre ha estado en prioridad en la Agenda del PNP, asi que Wanda NO nos representa.

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Lina Galloza

It’s time for Puerto Rico to become State #51. We the people of Puerto Rico have spoken. Now is time for Governor Vazquez to listen to the Puertoricans.

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Eileen M. Kierce

Right now, in this moment I don’t think we should do it right now, maybe next year, six months before the Election Day.
The governor should not work for that matter right now, she has lots of things to work out, but someone like Pedro Pierluisi, could start moving our goal, to finish our colonial status into the 51 first State of our Nation.

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Jimmy Roman

Pr need to be 51 state so we could be equals to the mainland and have full rights that we have work so hard for. This those not mean we not Puerto Rican’s. For example people for ND some of them are Native Americans and they are both dakotas and Americans, people i Alaska have their native Alaskan and they also American state fellows. We can be Puerto Rican Americans that is a sensible choice .

Seamos parte de la unión.

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Leonides Villalon

Unfortunately, until we don’t have a Republican Governor and a Republican Party in Puerto Rico, we will not be able to get the statehood. This together with a majority that understands the benefits of statehood and that we need back values and principles. We have to show who we really are and have all the riff raff talkers out of the way. We need to show we are not crooks, nor corrupt, nor we only want to have gains without giving. We have to have God in our daily life. Until then there will be no consideration for statehood in the USA. We need to have born puertorrican leaders, not Cubans, not New York born descendants.

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Lydia I. Diaz Olmeda

No podemos perder el adelanto realizado por los que si deseamos que Puerto Rico se un Estado. Queda demostrado esta última década la mala administración y lo que se está perdiendo unos pocos beneficiándose del dinero que es para todos los puertorriqueńos. Hay que eximir el mandato de un pueblo ya hemos ido a referéndum y ha quedado demostrado Puerto Rico quiere un cambio. Demostrémosle en una marcha gigantesca todos los que queremos ser el estado 51 y veras que vivimos en paz y vuelven a su nido los nuestros.

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Ada Montero

We the people of Puerto Rico are American Citizens since 1898 and we have voted twice and won and no one in Congress does nothing and we are entitled to become State 51 so that we can vote for the President of the USA.

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CL Tucker

Every Governor of Puerto Rico should push actively for State hood if nothing else . That is their major priority next to the welfare of it’s citizens…In fact… STATEHOOD For Puerto Rico is in the best interests of it’s citizens!”

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Jose Velez

State hood is the best direction the time is now the people have awaken and will not allow misfits to govern Puerto Rico Government in the wrong direction!

Many governors have allow there administrators govern Puerto Rico-in the wrong direction it’s time to demand state hood for Puerto Rico 🇵🇷

YES 51 STATE GOD BLESS PUERTO RICO AND GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES 🇺🇸 🇺🇸🇺🇸

*****NO TO INDEPENDENTS*****
************YES TO STATE HOOD**********

51 STATE

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John O Ortiz Sr Sgt USMC

I was a Sargent in the United States marine corps, my wish is to see one more star in the United States flag representing Puerto Rico before I leave this world

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Nicomedes Morales

Our Governor needs to understand that the majority of the people have voted for Statehood in the past two plebiscites and that is the final gol for equality by becoming the 51st State of the Union. For those who question ¨majority of people¨, in Democracy the people that votes are the ones that counts. She also needs to know that the political party in power, its finality is P.R. becoming the 51st State. Ahora en español. Con esto no quiero decir que debe abandonar la Gobernación, solo debe cumplir con el mandato del pueblo que votó en las pasadas elecciones, que somos Estadistas. Tres prioridades debe tener en agenda. 1. Atender las necesidades apremiantes de nuestro pueblo. 2. Fortalecer nuestra economía. 3. Exigir la Estadidad para Puerto Rico, con todos los beneficios y responsabilidades que eso conlleva. La tercera, en esencia resuelve las dos primeras.

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Lorna

Creo que es una estupidez pedirle que le de la prioridad a la estadidad cuando la mujer tiene otras cosas más importantes que resolver. Seamos sensatos en lo que pedimos.

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Jose

How can she be Puerto Rican and a politician and not know the importance of becoming a state to help Puerto Rican count in decision making. Enough with politician who don’t care and can’t see what is right for the island and it’s people!

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Franklin Soto

Hay que pedir al congreso de nuestra nación que PR quiere un plebiscito, Estadidad o Independencia.

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Mitch

Now more than ever is the right time to have a voice and a vote in our US democratic system, please get it together and lest become the 51st State .

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Raymond Navarro

Mi gente, is time that our beloved Puerto Rico is allowed to be the 51st state. We need to have equal rights just like those who live in the mainland. My people suffered so much after Hurricane Maria, past and current administrations (PPD, & PNP) have been destroying the island with corrupt, and unethical leaders for over 50 years. The “commonwealth” status needs to end now, it worked when Puerto Rico’s was a sugar cane heaven; but those times have ended. Puerto Rico needs strong, ethical leaders that implement real economic development strategies in order to have a higher quality of life.

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Angie Roche

Statehood now!!!! We need PR to have full rights and support. This new governor is not too smart, I wonder if she has an idea of what she is talking about.

Reply

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