PDP: US senators side with party on Puerto Rico status referendum
SAN JUAN – The president of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), Héctor Ferrer, welcomed a letter signed by eight U.S. senators in which they say the June 11 Puerto Rico status referendum is unconstitutional and say commonwealth is a viable option.
“What’s happening with the letter sent by eight senators, which includes the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who determines the money [U.S. funds for the referendum], [and] who is not only telling the secretary of Justice not to give the money, but that the plebiscite ballot does not comply with the Constitution, laws, norms, nor public policy of the United States. It is a fatal blow to the plebiscite and the result of the plebiscite,” he said in a WKAQ 580 radio interview.
In February, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request an evaluation of the status options included in the ballot, “statehood” and “free association / independence,” and to request$2.5 million set aside by the administration of President Obama to finance the plebiscite. New Progressive Party (NPP) leaders, who drafted the Immediate Decolonization Act, said the referendum will be held even without the federal funds.
Ferrer said the eight senators make up 10 percent of the body and raise a similar arguement to that of the PDP’s over the past few weeks, that the process is rigged, anti-democratic and infringes on the rights of thousands of Puerto Ricans. The PDP’s president said he cannot advance what the party will do.
“I’ve been listening to the party leadership. What I’ve done is give that discussion some room. I have spoken with the mayors, with the legislators, with people within the party, always listening to them, allowing that conversation to go on ahead of the assembly,” he said.
Called Out for Endorsing Colonialism
Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Sen. Juan Dalmau said the PDP has no reason to celebrate.
Whoever celebrates that letter is like the slave who dances to the sound of his chains. Frankly, and paraphrasing the Letter to the Philippians in Bible teaching, “their god is the colony and they are proud of things that should embarrass them. Their colonial vocation and obsession cloud their understanding,” he said in a Radio Isla 1320 interview.
Dalmau said two senators who signed the letter voted in favor of the fiscal control board, which has been criticized and condemned by the PDP itself.
“Now they are celebrating that those same congressmen are demanding to include the colony, which allows them to legislate unilaterally over Puerto Rico by imposing a fiscal control board, affecting pensioners, affecting the University of Puerto Rico, affecting the country’s public and private sector working classes, affecting the healthcare system. What those congressmen who wrote that letter are doing is reiterating and reclaiming the authority they believe they should have over Puerto Rico,” he denounced.
Dalmau added that the PDP should have reacted differently to the letter.
“What the leadership of the Popular [Democratic] Party should have done is, upon receipt of that letter, express repudiation, denunciation, indignation and head what… is attainable as a political mechanism to face that colonial regime that allows that kind of humiliation,” he said.