2020 Presidential candidate Julian Castro started his campaign in Puerto Rico, but does he favor statehood?
His brother says so. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Julian Castro’s brother and campaign manager, told ThinkProgress that “if the island votes to becomes a state, Julian would, as president, wholeheartedly support that.”
Puerto Rico’s voters have already voted to become a state twice. In 2012, 61% of voters chose statehood from among the viable options. In 2017, 97% of voters chose statehood.
In each case, anti-statehood factions worked hard to discredit the votes. This was necessary for one simple reason: they could not win the votes. “Enhanced commonwealth” has been soundly rejected by the federal government, the “commonwealth” party
But candidates who say that they will support statehood “if the island votes to become a state” are in a weak position, because the island has already voted — twice — to become a state. The government of Puerto Rico has officially requested statehood. Saying that a candidate will support whatever the voters choose is absurd after the voters have already chosen.
During his visit to Puerto Rico, Castro sidestepped the question of political status with an emphasis on “self-determination.” As Governor Rossello has said, “That’s beautiful that you believe in self determination but we have already self determined. It is time to take some action.”
Lester Aponte tells us, “I spoke to Secretary Castro and explained to him that the phrase ‘I respect Puerto Rico’s right to self determination’ has lost all meaning after 120 years of American colonialism. He listened politely and committed that, if the people of Puerto Rico choose statehood, he will fully support them in that aspiration.”
We reiterate that Puerto Rico has already chosen statehood. However, we appreciate Mr. Castro’s “full support” and will list him as a statehood supporter. Our thanks to Lester Aponte for bringing us this information.