PIP calls status referendum a ‘resounding failure’
SAN JUAN – The leadership of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) described the results of the status referendum held Sunday a failure for the ruling New Progressive Party (NPP) and for statehood as a political status option for the island.
“The result of the plebiscite constitutes a resounding failure for those who allowed to have the inclusion of the colonial option imposed in order to push a process with an imaginary endorsement, and will only serve to dramatize disinterest and rejection of any proposed annexation measure in the [U.S.] Congress,” PIP Vice President María de Lourdes Santiago said.
For the pro-independence leader, it was the inclusion of the colonial status between the political status formulas– referring to the current commonwealth (free-associated state)–that demobilized the electorate, which responded to the call for boycotting the vote by the PIP and the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), which preferred the boycott as a form of rejection to including as a solution to the island’s colonial problem, the commonwealth itself.
Sen. Juan Dalmau concurred with that position, referring to Sunday’s vote as “a denaturalized process.”
“This process failed since it was denatured. The plebiscite ceased to serve as a tool for Puerto Rico, for its decolonization, the moment when the government decided to provide reasonable accommodation to the colony per the federal Department of Justice’s design. And the rejection from our people, not only within [the pro-independence movement] … was blunt with its non-participation to not legitimize this process of rebaptizing the colony,” Dalmau said.
The legislator compared “the scant” electoral support of statehood in this referendum with the results obtained in previous electoral events and concluded that more than 324,000 pro-statehood voters rejected “this colonial referendum system and joined the boycott.”
PIP President Rubén Berríos was not surprised by statements from Caribbean Business sources on Capitol Hill who said if the result of a Puerto Rico status plebiscite favored independence, Congress would be ready to work on legislation to articulate said status formula.
“I have no doubt of that. I don’t know who said it, but you don’t have to be a genius…. I believe the only thing Congress is not willing to grant is statehood to a Latin American, Caribbean and Spanish-speaking nation. That is out of consideration in Congress,” Berríos said.
Both pro-independence leaders anticipated that the PIP intends to push forward a process of decolonization through what they called the “Project for National Sovereignty,” which includes meetings and alliances with organizations and people affiliated with independence and free association to combat statehood and confront the United States; promote the rapprochement with communities in the Puerto Rican diaspora to raise the call for decolonization before the media and the American public; and the stateside promotion of U.S. House Resolution 900, which was filed by Rep. Luis Gutiérrez at the PIP’s behest, as a mechanism for decolonization, among other actions in national and international forums.
Santiago also said that on June 19, the PIP will appear before the United Nations’ Special Committee on Decolonization to make their proposals and “denounce the farce of the past plebiscite.”