For months I have been debating the idea of writing about politics in Puerto Rico. The reason why I have held this for this long – a topic for which Boricuas are very passionate about- is because no matter what I write some people could get offended or it can carry a negative idea to the readers who are not in or from Puerto Rico. But then again, we have countries like our uncle Sam’s spying on everything (like a paparazzi on Kim Kardashian), or people in Middle East still and will continue fighting over land, or people in Egypt that fight one another supporting or hating the Islamist president, or Paula Deen using the N word (Oh yes she did!), blogging about Puerto Rico’s politics is a joyful moment for many (if we compare, of course). So today, I will write about the different parties and their basic ideas. But keep in mind, I will make fun of all of them, and also use sarcasm (something I love to use, really). If you, my fellow Puertorrican, think you might get offended by the comments I will make, this is the time to stop reading. If you continue reading, well…continue.
We should begin with a really brief history lesson. Back in the begging of time, Borinquen was full of indigenous tribes living happily and half naked. In1493, Christopher Columbus arrived with his ships representing Spain and stayed here. After the Island was claimed by the Spanish people (they found it floating around) and they brought slaves from Africa to work here, all of them got together and gave birth to little Boricuas. After that, Boricuas got tired of all the oppression from the Spanish government and decided to call the United States to come rescue them. The original plan, and this is in the history books, was to ask USA for help and once the Spanish decided to leave, Boricuas were going to make a new government and be part of Latin America, but the saviors decided to stay longer (quítate tu pa ponerme yo). Since they decided to stay, we decided to be part of the country (it took quite some time to do that) but without being a part of the country. And that’s how the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was born.
Estado Libre Asociado (Commonwealth). The Island is not a state, it’s not free and sometimes it’s associated with the United States. The definition made no sense but the people were happy. Boricuas got their shoes thanks to Luis Muñoz Marín, got the so needed cupones (food stamps) and the government does not pay federal taxes. What super power wouldn’t take a deal like that? I only give you the citizenship and you give me your land (an even deal).
But the opposition has always existed, something that is normal in every country. New Progressive Party, or PNP in Spanish acronym. These guys want the Island to be a State of the great corporation (the way USA is called by some over here). And as any other political party out there, they wanted to crush the opposition. That’s how Carpeteo, or profiling, was born in Puerto Rico. The explanation is easy: if you were against the government of the time, you would be spied on (the only difference now is that everybody is) and most likely hurt. It did not go as far as Pinochet in Chile, but it was ugly. It got to the point where the government was paranoid and that paranoia cost the lives of a couple of guys. Cops killed these guys a July 25 morning because they thought the youngsters were planning an attack on the government. People were outraged and surprised, and the governor at the time, Carlos Romero Barceló (who I call “The devil in the Flesh”) congratulated the cops for doing an excellent job on preventing a hit to the government (the cops even peed on the dead bodies).
Not far after that, the Puertorrican Independece Party, PIP, was born. The name says it all; these guys wanted the Island to be independent, a republic like any other out there. The name of the party was not that one before, and the leaders have had different mind sets since then, but the idea has always been the same: a free and sovereign nation. People have died in the fight, have gone to jail and even members of the Party have gone to form other parties or movements because some of the ideas are different or the leader does not want to leave already.
The thing with all these political parties is that the Island should define its course in terms of “belonging”; who do the Island “belong to? Who should decide that? The people of the Island or the United States government is in charge? Will they want to stay the same, nor here nor there? The fact is, according to the US government, the people of the Island have to decide first, and from there Uncle Sam’s team will make a decision. Sounds easy and fair, but we have not been able to decide, in part because the politics don’t care that much about our status (here is where my fellow Boricuas will start the blame game). If that is decided, many politicians will lose their jobs and others will be fighting over who goes to Congress to represent the Island. Why would a politician who makes money, a ton of money, pretending to be working for the people of the Island, with a paid car from the taxpayers’ money, and more money on the side, would allow that to disappear? Picture yourself in their place and imagine what it would be like to leave the comfort you pretend to work in, and then actually work and really earn the money. That’s like working in the private sector, for any non-government agency, where most of the time you have to work to get paid. It would be terrible for them, scary, outrageous. It gives me the creeps just thinking about it.
The governor of the Island has changed many times in the last 50 years. The government had tried to do stuff for the people and some for themselves. Money has been stolen, mistresses have been found, politicians saying they live in one place but spend the time somewhere else, we have even seen images of politicians posing nude (in case you ask who, Roberto Arango is the name). But one thing is certain: despite all the dumb and crazy and thieves politicians that we choose (Bush Jr. was President for 8 years, so cut us some slack here!) Boricuas fight every day to make a better country. We love to take care of our people and extend our hand anytime we can. Puerto Rico is the best place to be and the best people live here (that’s a proven fact. Ask a Boricua and you’ll see I’m right). We have faith that stuff will get better and no matter what, we know that Bush Jr. was 100 time dumber that many of the leaders on our side. So we know we’ll be ok.
Remember to comment on this post, something that, given the topic, will happen, and share with your Boricuas and not so lucky friends. There are 18 more posts I have done, so go ahead and take a look at them too. You can email me to firstname.lastname@example.org anytime. Until next time, cójanlo suave!
P.S Here’s a song from Rubén Blades that describes what goes on everywhere in the World with politicians. Déjenme reir (Para no llorar)