Latin Post’s article, “Jeb Bush Comments on Caribbean Country Prompt New Debate on Statehood,” June 12, repeats politically biased reporting by right wing editors at the supposedly conservative National Review (“Sorry Jeb Puerto Rican Statehood is an Awful Idea,” April 30).
Latin Post implicitly joins National Review in suggesting Jeb Bush must justify his support for a vote in Puerto Rico on statehood. But it is those in denial about the 2012 vote who can’t justify opposition to democratic self-determination for 3.5 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico.
It is disappointing that the Latin Post would align itself with National Review in misinforming public about the 2012 vote in Puerto Rico, in which 61.2% of voters supported statehood. Voter turn out was 78%, and on a separate ballot question a clear 54% majority voted to end the current territorial status. Results were certified by the Puerto Rico Elections Commission, and there were no irregularities or disruptions that called into question the fairness and legitimacy of the vote.
In response to this historic vote, the local political party sponsored by corporate special interests exploiting the current undemocratic territorial status for profit did what it does best, and in desperation simply lied. Claiming that blank ballots should be counted against statehood, the status quo party argued statehood somehow got only 44% and instead of winning actually lost!
Of course, blank ballots don’t count or have meaning unless election law and ballot instructions assign a meaning. So it is anti-democratic and corrupts election integrity to repeat anti-statehood disinformation somehow interpreting blank ballots.
People lie but numbers don’t. Even with blank ballots there were more votes cast for statehood than for the current status, and that means the current status got its up or down vote and lost. It also means that statehood won and now deserves its up or down vote to confirm the certified results supporting statehood.
Corporate lobbyists for the rejected status quo “commonwealth” party swarmed over Washington lying about the referendum results favoring statehood. But the White House and Congress recognized the results and in 2014 enacted a federal law providing $2.5 million of a federally sponsored vote to confirm the results of the 2012 vote.
It is lamentable that Latin Post has aligned itself with those who seek to deny government by consent and equal rights and duties of citizenship under the U.S. Constitution for millions of mostly Latino people who have lived lawfully as U.S. citizens within the national borders of the USA for a century, making use of the term “country” by Latin Post to describe Puerto Rico at best confusing.