Puerto Rico Minority party proposes autonomous, not sovereign, commonwealth
SAN JUAN – During the 65th anniversary celebration of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on July 25, Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President Héctor Ferrer proposed that the party readopt the reasons it was created to track a “new course” with a political and electoral reorganization, the development of a political status, and the creation of a “new governing model.”
This political status, Ferrer said, must be developed during a “new Autonomist Pact” that includes 10 fundamental principles and that is a “fourth option,” alongside statehood, independence and free association.
That fourth option “that we will invoke for our model” is “any other political condition freely decided by a people,” is “dignified and legal,” and prevents “the political subordination we live today.”
The PDP president explained that the developed commonwealth would maintain the bilateral relationship with the United States; ensure U.S. citizenship; protect the island’s cultural identity, language and history; preserve fiscal and political autonomy; and keep an olympic committee.
The proposed status for the island would include the eliminating of federal legislation such as cabotage laws or the suspension of section 9 of the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act, to prevent the imposition of a fiscal control board; expanding Puerto Rico’s participation in international forums as well as commercially; and recognize the existence of that fourth political option, as defined in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2625, “The Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States,” of 1970.
“The development of the commonwealth must have a clear and defined agenda that establishes why we need political powers and how they will be used for the country’s benefit,” Ferrer said.
This political-status proposal would be developed next year at the PDP General Assembly, the party’s president said during an event in Morovis on Tuesday.
When redefining the commonwealth, the PDP would initially embark on a first phase to organize the political structure. Starting in August, Ferrer, PDP Secretary-General Charlie Delgado, and Rep. Brenda López de Arrarás will visit every municipality on the island, starting with 40 visits in two months.
Afterward, the project would enter its second phase, in October, which is being organized by San Lorenzo Mayor Joe Román, Comerío Mayor Josian Santiago, Rep. Jesús Manuel Ortiz, and Sens. Aníbal José Torres and Rossana López.
Against corruption and in favor of unity
“This party belongs to you. It’s time to hit the streets together, united…. We will save the [party] together, united, toward a new commonwealth, a new autonomous pact,” Ferrer stated, alluding to San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto’s proposal to visit the island’s municipalities herself.
His clamor echoed in the absence of some pro-sovereignty PDP leaders, such as Rep. Manuel Natal Albelo, Mayor Cruz Soto, and Loíza Mayor Julia Nazario. Cruz Soto and Nazario excused themselves from participating because they had a municipal event in Loíza.
Moreover, regarding the party’s new leadership, the PDP president presented a series of parameters that range the gamut from ensuring essential services are provided and high-quality education, to creating a universal healthcare plan, protect citizens against discrimination, and strengthen the fight against corruption.
To put an end to corruption, the former House representative proposed eliminating anonymous contributions to political campaigns and the creation of a lobbyist registry that reveals revenue and the efforts carried out under oath.