Puerto Rico’s Three-Ring Political Circus
Come one, come all! Welcome to the greatest show on earth!
Ladies and gentlemen, in ring number one we have the minority opposition party in Puerto Rico pretending it can perform feats of magic and illusion. See defenders of the “commonwealth” regime of territorial government making promises of a state-like standard of living in a “country” with nation-like powers. Hear more promises that can’t be kept without borrowing more than the regime can pay back.
In ring number two we have the federal government demonstrating how to make a non-self-governing territorial client state economically dependent on federal tax shelters allowing giant mainland corporations to exploit Puerto Rico for thirty years. See how decades of federal tax shelter subsidization of the economy propped up the undemocratic “commonwealth” regime, but failed to create economic capacity for wealth production sustainable without federal tax shelters disproportionately benefiting corporate monopolies.
Saving the best for last, may we also direct your attention to the center ring, where we have the federal financial control board created by the U.S. Congress. Its incredible powers include unilateral suspension of the local constitution, with one blow knocking down the “fiscal autonomy” pillar of “commonwealth.”
See how the federal control board nullifies local powers of sovereign internal self-government delegated by Congress to the “commonwealth” regime. Then prepare to be shocked as the federal control board actions slay the mythical “bilateral pact alterable only by mutual consent,” proving there is no right to government by consent under the “commonwealth” regime.
Watch in amazement as the control board ends unsustainable spending and borrowing that spun out of control after federal termination of tax shelter subsidization of the “commonwealth” regime. If that is not enough then with your own eyes look – but don’t blink or you’ll miss it – as economic failure and bankruptcy of the “commonwealth” regime is being used as an excuse to deny statehood to Americans in Puerto Rico.
You’ll be stunned to see for the first time how denial of statehood after U.S. citizenship was granted a century ago has prevented Puerto Rico from competing in the national economy. But don’t forget to watch anti-statehood and anti-nationhood supporters profiting and benefitting under the “commonwealth” regime status quo lobby Congress. Be astonished by demands that Congress prevent Puerto Rico from becoming a democratic society at the national level as a state of the union its sons and daughters have defended in every war.
See how the leaders of the political party junta that exists only to preserve the “commonwealth” regime desperately oppose democratic self-determination we send Puerto Ricans to fight and die for in foreign lands. Watch your fellow Americans who profit from the undemocratic status quo seek to prevent Puerto Rico from either paying its own way as a state of the union, or going its own way under a national constitution with its own sovereignty, nationality and citizenship.
And don’t worry if there is a break in the action and the audience gets unruly. Don’t give it a second thought If news coverage exposes unpleasant realities of circus life behind illusions of the greatest show on earth. Even if some of the audience walks out and leaves for Miami, just stay in your seats.
What does the ringmaster do about delays when the crowd gets restless? The show must go on no matter what, so when the moment is right the call goes out, “Send in the clowns!”
Show Must Go On!
You can always count on the clowns, right? They show up on cue, just in time.
So it was no surprise on July 20, 2017, to read in the Caribbean Business publication that “commonwealth” party leaders actually are still expressing the intention for “commonwealth” to become “non-territorial” without the need for a democratic choice between real nationhood or real statehood.
We read that “commonwealth” party leaders absurdly espouse “dialogue” with the U.S. to “achieve the development of commonwealth.” Are there really people in the “commonwealth” party junta who believe that “commonwealth” is still to be taken seriously as a legally valid alternative to statehood or nationhood?
Of course, real nationhood can include a treaty of “free association,” but continued U.S. nationality or citizenship in the future is not feasible under a nationhood scenario. Yet, we read about pro-independence college professors who do not even live in Puerto Rico promising “dual citizenship” to children born in the islands after the people have rejected statehood and territorial status.
Mark these words. All clowning around aside, if U.S. sovereignty over Puerto Rico ends, the U.S. Congress can and will end all statutory and derivative U.S. citizenship based on birth in Puerto Rico.
Ignoring reality, “commonwealth” party leaders demand that it be recognized as a political status “outside the territory clause” but neither a state of the union nor an independent nation, with or without a treaty of free association. No problem. If Puerto Rico rejects statehood and territorial status, whether it is fully independent or a free associated state it will be outside not just the territorial clause but also outside the U.S. Constitution.
As either an independent nation with or without a treaty of free association Puerto Rico’s national constitution would be the supreme law of the land. The U.S. Constitution will not apply, and relations will be defined only by a treaty Congress can renounce, including a compact of free association.
As the July 25 anniversary of the “commonwealth” territorial constitution approached the clowns answered the ringmaster’s call. El Nuevo Dia and Caribbean Business featured clown acts by the “commonwealth” party intelligentsia.
Exactly as scripted the anti-statehood clowns put on an unconvincing act, still pretending the 1952 constitution “changed the political relationship” between the U.S. and Puerto Rico from that of a territory. Even acknowledging the 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that confirms the falsehood of that assertion does not deter “commonwealth” clowns. Without shame “commonwealth” leaders renewed blind obedience to the myth that “commonwealth” is a “bilateral pact of mutual consent.”Repeating a myth known to be false is a lie. The “commonwealth” political status became a lie decades ago. Click To Tweet
The most fatuous “commonwealth” party quotation in Caribbean Business is this: “The generation that strived to achieve what they did in 1952 does not deserve just a nostalgic celebration. They deserve a war cry committed to fight for the end of the colonial regime and for Puerto Rico to have a relationship with the United States outside the territorial clause that guarantees our well-being and prosperity.”
Now that gag is good for a laugh because “commonwealth” is the colonial regime. And even clowns know freedom and equality are guaranteed in America, and that prosperity is not a right but a product of rights and equality of opportunity.
Even clowns know the only path forward leading to economic recovery and political freedom is statehood with equal rights of U.S. citizenship, or nationhood with equal rights of Puerto Rico national citizenship.
Puerto Rico and the United States will be better off when the laws of political truth reveal to the audience that the “ commonwealth” party platform is a lie. It is a lie to misinform people that a political status that does not exist is worth delaying progress towards a political status that does exist and unlike “commonwealth” makes realization of freedom and prosperity possible. Unless and until that happens, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will remain the organic instrumentality of federal supremacy over the unincorporated territorial empire of the United States.