Romero Barceló Calls for Boycott on Bernie Sanders
SAN JUAN—Former Puerto Rico Gov. Carlos Romero Barceló called upon statehood supporters to boycott Democratic presidential pre-candidate Bernie Sanders in the June 5 primaries, after Sanders came to the island while joined by pro-independence and free association (or sovereignty) leaders.
Romero said that “estadistas” (Spanish for statehood supporters) must place their vote on someone who is committed in bringing statehood for Puerto Rico. He also criticized Sanders because he “refused to commit in demanding equality for all American citizens in Puerto Rico.”
During a press conference held at the headquarters of the New Progressive Party in San Juan’s Hato Rey district, Romero Barceló said that all of the petitions that the administration of current Gov. Alejandro García Padilla, of the Popular Democratic Party, has made “would be given the day after we’d be admitted as a state,” referring to the inclusion of the commonwealth to Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the parity of Medicaid and Medicare benefits, among other issues.
In a May 16 speech at the University of Puerto Rico, Sanders said he was committed to give the Puerto Rican people the opportunity to vote in a binding referendum that would allow them to choose between becoming a state, an independent nation, or reform the existing commonwealth relationship.
However, Romero Barcelo demanded that the Democratic Party’s platform establish the commitment to submit and support during the first year of the upcoming administration (assuming the party wins) a bill admitting Puerto Rico as a state.
Romero also indicated the party platform must “clearly repudiate the lack of full democracy in Puerto Rico.” He also talked about the ambiguity of Hillary Clinton regarding statehood for Puerto Rico, saying she should “commit wholeheartedly,” to achieve such a political status for the island.
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