At this point, it looks as though the nominees for this year’s presidential campaign will be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. If so, which candidate will support statehood for Puerto Rico?
Hillary Clinton’s Director of Hispanic Media, Jorge Silva, says that Clinton respects the 2012 status vote. The vote, in which 54% of voters rejected the current territorial status option and 61% chose statehood among the viable status options, was described by the White House as “a clear result,” but has since been questioned by supporters of the current status and of “enhanced commonwealth.”
The Clinton campaign’s spokesperson in Puerto Rico was accused of dodging status questions in an interview with El Nuevo Dia, and Silva’s statement — sent to the Puerto Rican newspaper — was intended to clarify Clinton’s position.
Clinton’s official statement on the subject of Puerto Rico speaks strongly about the need to support Puerto Rico economically and the importance of equal treatment of the territory in terms of federal funding for healthcare in Puerto Rico. “Underlying all of this,” the statement concludes, “is the fundamental question of Puerto Rico’s ultimate future. That question needs to be resolved in accordance with the expressed will of our fellow citizens, the people of Puerto Rico.”
Clinton released an updated statement this week, saying that she would support an up-or-down vote on statehood and that “it is time to bring [the status] issue to closure”:
The people of Puerto Rico have a proud history and a distinct heritage — and as American citizens, they are entitled to have their voices heard on critical issues that affect them. All Americans should be able to vote for the people who make their laws.
During my presidency, I will work as hard as I can with the people of Puerto Rico and with advocates from all sides to answer the fundamental question of their political status. It is up to the people of Puerto Rico to decide, and I commit to supporting their decision.
A process to resolve Puerto Rico’s legal status must be fair and consistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States, and the decision should be made by majority vote. I will support any process that meets these terms, such as an up-or-down vote on statehood. It is time to bring this issue to closure.
Additionally, all American citizens, no matter where they reside, should have the right to vote for the president of the United States. I expressed that in 2008 and I reiterate that position again today.
This doesn’t amount to passionate support of statehood, but it does express a determination to end the current unworkable status.
Trump also has not spoken clearly in support of statehood for Puerto Rico. He made a campaign statement in which he said, “As president I will do my part to insure that Congress follows the Constitution. The will of the Puerto Rican people in any status referendum should be considered as Congress follows through on any desired change in status for Puerto Rico, including statehood.”
At this point, then, the presumptive nominees haven’t committed themselves to Puerto Rico statehood as many earlier presidents have. Puerto Rico will hold a Democratic primary in June and the nominees are not definite until the party conventions take place this summer. It is still six months till the election. There is still time to demand a clear answer from the candidates. Click the question below to ask both presumptive nominees for a clear answer.@HillaryClinton @realDonaldTrump Do you support statehood for Puerto Rico?