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How Should Puerto Rico decide what to do?

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  • How Should Puerto Rico decide what to do?

    If Puerto Rico were to have to decide between Independence and Statehood how should it be decided? How long should the Puerto Ricans have to decide?And then how long should they have to get ready for it? Please let me know I want to find out. I have alot of questions and and no answers.
    Just letting you know.....................


  • #2
    I hope this answers your questions

    I have posted this before, but the truth is the truth.

    The Questions
    How will Puerto Rico's economy operate under independence?
    Puerto Rico is a very small overpopulated island with few natural resources. How will it survive without outside help?
    Puerto Rico's progress has been far greater than that of many other Latin American countries, and since the economic difference between us and them is our close relation with the United States, isn't it true that without American help we would suffer the same economic hardships as many of them?
    How do you propose to transfer powers from a colonial government to self-rule?
    What incentives (such as the now defunct Section 936) do you propose in order to entice American companies currently operating on the island to remain after the declaration of the Republic?
    How would our foreign commerce be affected under independence: imports, exports, currency, etc.?
    Would the Republic of Puerto Rico continue political ties with the United States; if so, to what degree?
    The independence movement can be compared to swimming upstream against a swift current. Why do independentistas act as if independence is a sure thing and is just around the corner?
    What would happen to the American citizenship that Puerto Ricans now have?
    Would we lose all of the Social Security benefits that we have paid for?
    If the idea of independence for Puerto Rico is so great, then why do independentistas gain so few votes at the polls? Why do the voters reject them so?

    The answers:
    1. How would Puerto Rico's economy operate under independence?

    The economic model proposed by the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) before Congress prior to the 1989-1990 plebiscite debacle. It is included in Senate Proposal 712 of 1989 which contains the definitions for the three status formulas. Of the three formulas presented in S.R. 712, which was hotly debated but never passed, only the definition of independence remained virtually unchanged in the 1993 plebiscite. Both the Statehood and the Commonwealth ("Free Associated State" as it is called in Spanish) formulas proposed greatly altered descriptions on the ticket.

    The economic model of the Republic is based on the following principles:

    1. A model of incentives to attract capital and investments similar to that enjoyed by Section 936 in better times, with some additional advantages:

    a. This could be modeled on U.S. Section 901 which allows credits for corporations paying taxes overseas; this entitlement is not in danger of being eliminated, as was 936.

    b. The government of the Republic would return a substantial portion of a corporation's paid taxes as wage credits or in the form of diverse subsidies. This would allow the government greater control over the promotion of business on the island and greatly reduce the current dependence on Congress.

    c. Similar "tax-sparing" treaties can be made with Asian and European nations whose policy is to provide preferential treatment to developing countries, and have already expressed an interest in investing in Puerto Rico.

    2. Arrangements for self-help subsidies provided by the United States for a period of ten years, (with probability of these being renewable later), for an amount equivalent to that currently being received under Commonwealth status. The United States has many foreign aid programs for independent nations whose citizens are not American citizens. These block grants would be used by the government to develop infrastructure, attract foreign investment, and to help bring the population into the 21st Century.

    3. The U.S. Dollar would continue to be the local currency; those who so choose would remain American citizens, with unrestricted freedom of movement between the United States mainland and the island of Puerto Rico.

    4. An aggressive program of temporary import control tariffs in certain areas in order to protect local production, in coordination with trading partners. This is a method often used by developing nations and accepted by the U.S., Japan, and the European nations.

    5. The ability to enter into regional and international free trade agreements where we can negotiate on an equal basis, as does every free nation.

    6. A strong ongoing commercial relationship with the United States, since we will continue to be its most important Latin American market.

    7. The opening up of new commercial ventures with other countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America. As our economy diversifies, we will progress into being one of the most important countries in this hemisphere in technological areas such as telecommunications, micro-electronics, pharmaceuticals, banking and finance, surpassed only by the U.S. itself. By cornering but a small fraction of the exploding Latin American market, our exports could defy our imagination.

    There is, of course, more to this economic model, but this gives you a basic idea. It has been discussed frequently with influential congressmen, many of whom have expressed their satisfaction, as has the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), that this is a realistic, workable plan. We have videos showing Chris Dodd, J. Bennett Johnston, Bill Bradley, Pat Moynihan, various members of the CBO, of Yale University and Harvard University, and others commenting on the Independence economic model in very favorable terms.

    The feasibility of this economic model has been expressed often, appearing mostly in newspaper articles in Caribbean Business, El Nuevo Día, and Diálogo, by authors the likes of Dr. Francisco Catalá, Erick Negrón and Manuel Rodríguez Orellana. Other articles and books by Fernando Martín and Rubén Berríos Martínez also effectively explain the economic plan, especially "Independencia: Razón y Lucha" (1978) ("Independence: Account of a Struggle") and "Puerto Rico: Nacionalidad y Plebiscito" (1993) (Puerto Rico's Nationality and the Plebiscite").

    Please note that this is in harmony with the "road to sovereignty" as contained in House Resolution H.R.856 (the Young Bill), an updated version of which is currently under discussion in the U.S. House of Representatives.


    2. Puerto Rico is a very small overpopulated island with few natural resources. How will it survive without outside help?

    This is an often expressed observation that can be most effectively answered by using real-life examples that prove it to be wrong: Singapore, Ireland, South Korea, Costa Rica, Luxembourg, the Bahamas and others, all small, all independent nations, all relatively "overpopulated", all with few natural resources:

    Are they starving?


    Do they need massive aid in order to progress?


    Are they economically stunted?


    Do the majority of their people live in deprivation?


    The "we can't get by on our own" theory is thus shown to be deceitful. As we enter into the 21st Century, we see that a vigorous economy and economic progress come from competitiveness and inter-dependence between independent nations acting a s trading partners. Do poor subsidized colonies in Asia and elsewhere participate in commercial treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement or the European Common Market? NO. Small independent nations, capable of adapting rapidly to new technology and opening markets, are benefiting. Being small and heavily populated by a well-trained workforce is an advantage in the 90's.

    Puerto Rico is not going to become an enemy of the United States because it obtains its sovereignty. In the long run, independence would be doing a favor to the American economy. In every instance that someone in Congress or in the executive branch comments on Puerto Rican independence, they make it quite clear that there will be considerable economic aid. And, why not? The U.S. sends financial aid to nearly every country in this hemisphere, and would continue to have many commercial and manufacturing ties with Puerto Rico. The island would continue to receive substantial investments comparable to those presently coming in. It is fair and in the best interests of both the United States and Puerto Rico.

    In a worst-case scenario, Puerto Rico would operate under a combined budget of six billion dollars annually. In addition, customs, parks, air and seaports, toll roads, etc. are user-paid through tolls, landing fees, docking fees, service fees, excise taxes, the emission of bonds, etc. That's what they're doing right now in Singapore, Ireland, South Korea, Costa Rica, Luxembourg, the Bahamas, and in many other countries. Many small independent nations provide an effective infrastructure for their people, and they didn't have the "head start" that a free and independent Puerto Rico would have.

    A country, even a small one, that keeps up to date on the constantly-changing global market, and makes opportunity count will attract more industry, (American as well as European and Asian industry). Native industry in well-defined instances can be protected for local growth through the temporary application of import tariffs. These measures will increase employment and therefore the tax base; it decreases pork-barrel spending and an over-inflated governmental budget, coordinating resources in the form of more and better services to the people.


    3. Puerto Rico's progress has been far greater than that of many other Latin American countries, and since the economic difference between us and them is our close relation with the United States, isn't it true that without American help we would suffer the same economic hardships as many of them?

    The other republics in the region do not share a common history with Puerto Rico. The economic and political situations of these countries, when they first gained their independence and today, are very different from Puerto Rico, both then and now. The world order and the global economy when they became independent were vastly different from today. So why is Puerto Rico becoming independent in, say, 2006 constantly compared to other Caribbean, Central and South American nations? Where is the logic that every Spanish-speaking country is the same as every other Spanish-speaking country? Are we somehow inferior to other nations?

    No other country has proved or disproved Puerto Rico's potential as a free nation because of its own past or present condition. This is because each country is unique in and of itself, and depends to a great degree on its economic condition when and shortly after it becomes sovereign, on its trade agreements with other nations, its level of technology, its infrastructure, its level of education, and upon a multitude of other factors that do not include its language, its music, or its culture. If Puerto Rico is to be compared to other similar countries, we should use real comparisons. To determine whether we have a shot at a successful economy, then compare us to Singapore, Ireland, South Korea, Taiwan, etc.

    As an example of what we are saying, consider Italy and Yugoslavia. They are neighbors, both European, but their respective economic and social structures are vastly different. Japan is nothing like the Philippines. They are neighbors, both Asiatic. Nicaragua is quite different from its neighbor and fellow Central American country, Costa Rica. South Africa is worlds apart from Ethiopia. Both neighbors. Both African. On the other hand, Singapore, Ireland and Taiwan share common economic characteristics, (size, population density, level of industrialization, infrastructure, access to financial resources, foreign investment programs, access to important markets, education, and others), these are the nations that can most accurately be compared to a free sovereign Puerto Rico, not countries such as the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Haiti.

    To insist that Puerto Rico without North American handouts will be exactly like every other Hispanic country is to promote the adage that everything "South of the border" is inherently the same... and economically inferior. The fact that we all speak a common language is not the factor that will determine our economic future. To say that we should abstain from seeking independence because our Hispanic heritage will doom it to failure is absurd.

    To them I suggest books such as "Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina" ("The Open Veins of Latin America") and Memorias del Fuego" ("Memories of the Fire"). The effects on Latin American history and social development of North American interventions are presented in detail. Puerto Rico was the "Poorhouse of the Caribbean" and similar to other Latin American countries between 1900 and 1950, all the while under American rule. Therefore, it wasn't as a result of being a United States "possession" that caused the "prosperity" of later years. It was the political, economic and military needs of the United States at the time that made the U.S. deal with the status issue of its Caribbean colony that resulted in the creation of the "Free Associated State" (Commonwealth) status of limited self-rule.


    4. How do you propose to transfer powers from a colonial government to self-rule?

    What was proposed to Congress in 1989, (and was well-received). We proposed a peaceful and orderly transition of both political and economic powers. All sovereign powers, (customs, parks, the right to enter into foreign trade agreements, etc.), would be transferred to Puerto Rico. Protection and guarantees would be made to industries and foreign-owned property on the island. A Constitution would be written and ratified by the people and would include a Bill of Rights equal to or more liberal than that of the U.S. Constitution. Puerto Rican citizenship would become a reality with at least the same rights and privileges as those currently afforded, and would be automatically extended to all those who are born on the island, or reside for a period of X years in Puerto Rico, (the exact number decided later).

    In economic terms, we have asked for a ten year period of financial aid in which Puerto Rico would receive block grants equivalent to current assistance under Commonwealth. The response to this request has been favorable at all levels of the federal government in that it is very reasonable and is in accordance with U.S. federal assistance policy, more so since we are American citizens, (Jones Act, 1917). The amount paid into the federal Social Security system by Puerto Ricans, (plus earned interest), would be transferred to a similar Social Security system to be created in Puerto Rico. Tax exemption on various Puerto Rican bonds and financial instruments in U.S. markets would be continued.

    We are not asking for a welfare handout. We ask for block grants for a)a stable and realistic economic transition, b)to avoid the unnecessary flight of investment capital and financial calamity, and c)as compensation for federal use of Puerto Rican land and as a part of a peaceful process of transfer of these lands to the new insular government. The idea of the block grants is to transition from a welfare economy to a one based on productive governmental investments without penalizing those who today, due to historic and social reasons, depend solely on social benefit programs for their very subsistence.

    Our sole purpose has always been the peaceful, stable, economically rational and solid transition of powers that will allow an ample development of the Puerto Rican economy far beyond its current colonial limitations.


    5. What incentives (such as the now defunct Section 936) do you propose in order to entice stateside companies currently operating on the island to remain after the declaration of the Republic?

    American industry figures prominently in a development plan for the Republic. We have proposed the use of Section 901 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code to provide federal tax exemptions and/or credits for stateside companies operating on the island upon payment of taxes in the Republic of Puerto Rico. Additional local governmental incentives can be contracted with individual companies to provide extra services, operating and wage subsidies, etc. Such forms of industrial incentives are already successfully being used in such places as Taiwan, Ireland and Singapore. In addition to keeping (and attracting new) American industry, self-rule would allow Puerto Rico to attract foreign investment companies from Japan, England, Spain, France, etc. Many of these companies, which do not currently operate in Puerto Rico but have expressed a desire to do so, and have in fact established plants in countries just now beginning to develop technologically.

    Lately, even the Populares, (Popular Democratic Party, PDP), have begun to espouse this PIP proposal, since it is the only one capable of equaling and in fact improving upon the economic incentives of the now defunct Section 936. Every major financial analyst and economist in both the academic and federal sectors have expressed appreciation and approval to the PIP economic strategy as being fair, equitable and workable.


    6. How would our foreign commerce be affected under independence: imports, exports, currency, etc.?

    We would prefer to keep foreign trade with the United States at present levels, (since we are one of its proportionately greatest markets in this hemisphere). With the establishment of self-rule Puerto Rico would also be in a position to establish trade agreements with other trading partners and foreign markets, such as MERCOSUR, the Andean Market Agreement, the European Common Market, CARICOM, etc.

    Another plan under development for the Republic of Puerto Rico is to apply the right afforded by self-rule to impose customs tariffs in order to protect and promote key native industries, (tuna processing, electronic components and equipment, health services, banking and other financial institutions, telecommunications, etc.). This will result in the development of these key industries, which will in turn help to lower the currently high level of imports of products that can be produced locally, and increasing imports of products better produced offshore.

    In regard to currency, we propose to continue to use the U.S. Dollar as the official currency, at least during the first years after the establishment of the Republic. While we have never discarded the issue of a Puerto Rican currency at a later date, the reality is that the bulk of our future trade would be with the United States and measured in dollars and cents. Looking at current tendencies toward common currency between nations involved in both regional and global free market agreements, we see no insurmountable problems nor political inferiority with the continued use of the Dollar as an official currency under the Republic.


    7. Would the Republic of Puerto Rico continue political ties with the United States; if so, to what degree?

    While some people would have you believe that independentistas are blood-thirsty warriors hell-bent on bringing America to its knees, nothing could be further from the truth. Being Pro-Puerto Rico does not mean you are Anti-American. There is absolutely no reason not to maintain excellent relations with the United States of America. There are plans to maintain unrestricted passport-free travel between the island and the U.S. mainland for a minimal period of 20 years, due to our particular situation of having almost as many Puerto Ricans living stateside as on the island. It can only be a relationship of mutual respect and bilateral agreements entered into by two sovereign nations, and not based upon the imperial-colonial relationship presently in place.


    8. The independence movement can be compared to swimming upstream against a swift current. Why do independentistas act as if independence is a sure thing and is just around the corner?

    We are fully convinced that in the long run independencia will prove to be the only viable option to end the problems associated with imperial-colonial rule the United States now faces. Commonwealth (ELA) is now publicly going through its death throes because it no longer serves its original purposes, neither for the United States nor for Puerto Rico. Statehood as it is presently being touted in congress (Spanish-speaking, Olympic team, etc.) is, quite simply, impossible. The more the Puerto Rican status issue is addressed in Washington, D.C., the more obvious it will become to everyone that only one real option remains... independence.

    Those who hang on to the ideal of statehood for Puerto Rico show a complete lack of simple logic. It may be that we will actually need to have an official request for statehood denied in Congress before we all accept reality. I personally am absolutely sure that this is what will happen, and very shortly. Statehooders have been unable to refute arguments against that ideal, and usually choose to simply ignore them or pretend they don't exist. Sooner or later they will have to face the reality that the only real chance a statehood bid would have in Congress is if Puerto Rico could show itself capable of governing itself. In addition, the language issue, the Olympic issue, and others are important to the United States. The U.S. learned many lessons from the Quebec independence bid, due mainly to cultural and linguistic differences... they will not admit a state with a built-in secessionism.

    Populares (the once-entrenched Popular Democratic Party, PDP) can now see that the pork barrel is all but empty and, while they continue to dribble the ball downcourt, it's obvious to everyone that the final whistle is just seconds away. More and more a large portion of the one-time party faithful is now accepting their own Puerto Rican nationality, now calling it libre asociación ("free" association), still unable to use that crude, offensive word: independencia.

    The fact is that independence will come to Puerto Rico, if only because it is the one viable solution option available. The U.S. might have to begin the transition subtly in order to avoid a mass exodus, even sneak it in the back door, because, admittedly the fear of independence is great throughout the entire population. Two successive generations have been taught to refer to those proud of their own heritage as "independentistas-comunistas". After decades of blacklists, loss of employment by independence supporters, arrests, incarceration and many other abuses, it is quite easy to understand why. Anyone, however, with an open and objective mind can see this is already beginning to take place.

    It is a difficult problem at best and is as sticky for the U.S. as it is for us independentistas, since we have such a small electoral backing. Truth shall prevail, however, it's just a matter of time and remaining calm in the meantime. It may take 15 or 20 years more, but qué será, será.


    9. What would happen to the American citizenship that Puerto Ricans now have?

    We do not propose a population of "foreign citizens", but of bonafide Puerto Rican citizens. We have absolutely no problem with a mutual pact that guarantees dual citizenship for whosoever desires it, if the Congress also agrees that it is in the best interests of both parties. While we see it as false (and needless) security, it makes very little difference if someone wishes to be a citizen of two countries at the same time. All babies born in Puerto Rico after the declaration of the Republic would automatically become citizens of the Republic of Puerto Rico. The Republic of Puerto Rico would guarantee the same or additional rights as those now expressed under the U.S. Constitution. The real purpose of this proposal benefits the U.S. far more than it does P.R. since it is the fear of a sudden mass exodus from the island that has kept Congress from addressing the political status issue for so many years.


    10. Would we lose all of the Social Security benefits that we have paid for?

    Why would we wish to withhold earned benefits from our own people? Social Security funds paid over the years by Puerto Ricans, plus interest accrued, and transferred into a newly-created insular Social Security system, analogous to the federal system, would be paid out in the same manner.


    11. If the idea of independence for Puerto Rico is so great, then why do independentistas gain so few votes at the polls? Why do the voters reject them so?

    There are many reasons for this, most of which are based upon the unequal treatment and blatant persecution of known independentista supporters over the years. Most people "learned their lesson".

    a)Lack of capital and active supporters. The two major political parties in Puerto Rico can usually muster a large number of "volunteers", (state and municipal employees who do not wish to jeopardize their careers), and can amass millions of dollars from commercial dealings and corporations who may benefit further down the road. The immense majority of independentistas give of their time and efforts voluntarily, without pay, and in many cases at great risk to their livelihood, and even their families' safety. Our political campaigns are based on content which can't compete with saturation campaigns of jingles and slogans the people have become accustomed to.

    b)The Third Party Syndrome. Since the two major political forces are nearly equal in size and voter strength, they tend to "alternate" in power (with the money, the jobs, and all the other ways of influencing voters that this entails). Most of the population openly expressed hatred toward one or the other of these two parties, (much like fans at a boxing match), and the greatest admiration for the PIP, but feel that their vote would be "wasted" upon a third party "that has no chance to win anyway".

    c)Morbid fear of independence. We have heard for decades that Hispanic countries are inherently corrupt and condemned to perpetual poverty and/or dictatorial oppression. Cuba and the Dominican Republic are cited incessantly. Our own vision of geography is limited to the Northeastern states of the U.S. Many feel that the U.S. would somehow punish us as disloyal for as much as discussing ways to take control of our own destiny. Both government and business are seen as the "boogey man", dispensing jobs, goods and services only to those who are totally disassociated from any label of "independentista". These same people often say that we are too small, too overpopulated, lack sufficient natural resources, and are too inept to govern ourselves or even to survive on our own. Although we have refuted all of the fallacies in previous answers, and on innumerable occasions to the people, these morbid fears, based on irrational emotional response and not on intellectual analysis, will continue to be around for years.

    After forming the "Free Associated State" in 1952, then Governor Luis Muñoz Marín vowed to eliminate every last independentista by 1960. This great "purge" strengthened his Popular Democratic Party for years, but ultimately grew into a fear of anything not stamped "U.S.", which gave its pro-statehood rival New Progressive Party the crossover voters it needed to emerge as the new front-runner. What we have left is what PIP President Rubén Berríos Martínez once described as the "Goya (Foods) complex (in a take-off of its advertising slogan)": "If it's American, it HAS to be good!"

    d)Chronic Dependence on Federal Funds. Over 60% of the population in Puerto Rico currently live below the poverty level, and unemployment hovers above 20%. The immense majority of people employed work for the insular government or subsidized stateside corporations and industries that in turn depend on federal tax breaks, subsidies and incentives in order to turn a profit. Small wonder many still don't see independence as an option. Even though the independence option can be shown to be the best, indeed the only real opportunity for a vigorous economy, our dependence is now nearly total.

    Small wonder, then, that more than 100,00 Puerto Ricans still stand firm and publicly proclaim their God-given right to a free and sovereign nation.


    • #3
      So Many it Too Long?

      Puertorriquenos after so many centuries of colonialism suffer from a condition of ambivalence. The political spectrum of the three main parties of Independence, ELA, and PNP have not brought the condition to a halt; if anything it has consolidated it by mainly the three agreeing to referendums imposed by the imperialist power of the U.S..

      Referendums have proved useless and are even now considered obsolete by the powers that be in Washington.

      What ought to be put before the Puertorriquenos is the core values and principles of Independence with Justice. Freedom and Justice go hand in hand. Therefore, the Napoleonic Code that the Spanish Empire brought to the Island-Nation, since the time that the Bourbons were installed in Madrid by the armies of Napoleon, is useless and the terrible crime statistics in P.R. proves that, and the P.R. gov't ought to sit down and write a new code of law that they all agree upon, and then do it!

      Of course, this will take time, but it is time well-worth spent, because without such a legal change, the Puertorriquenos will never see the principle that Justice and Freedom go hand in hand, and that one without the other would be meaningless and inimical to what is best for Nuestra Isla-Nacion de Puerto Rico.

      EDDIE R.


      • #4
        They emotionally emasculate and cripple their sons with the same helpless mentality and in that way assure that every generation will feel as useless without the USA as the previous one. They can't be reasoned with, and trying to do so will only cause them to tag you as a communist. Insist too much and you might even get physically attacked. In short, for Puerto Ricans living in the states, these PR islanders are their worse enemy since they are as comfy as a maggot in its cocoon while their off island counterparts have to suffer the sneering contempt which they in their subservient stupidity generate with their ass-kissing policies.