Deciding the Future of Puerto Rico

Voters in Puerto Rico are preparing to reconsider the island’s relationship with the federal government. This is the first time since 1998 that voters have been asked to reconsider the fate of the island territory.

A Congressional Research Service Report for Congress states, “Although the November 2012 status vote, termed a ‘plebiscite,’ is nonbinding, Congress will likely be asked to consider the result and may choose to engage in oversight or legislation on the issue. Regardless of the outcome, the plebiscite is likely to be followed closely in Puerto Rico and Washington. Whether initiated by the Puerto Rican people or Congress, any change in the island’s political status would require congressional action.”

On November 6, voters in Puerto Rico will be asked two questions. Question 1 asks “Do you agree that Puerto Rico should continue to have its present form of territorial status?” Question 2 states: “Regardless of your selection on the first question, please mark which of the following non-territorial option would you prefer?” With options of Statehood, Independence or Sovereign Free Associated State.

The CRS Reports further states, “The statehood and independence options are essentially self-explanatory, although instructions listed on the ballot provide descriptions of each option. The ‘sovereign free associated state’ option is not a term of art historically associated with the status issue. The term resembles language used to describe ‘freely associated’ states, such as the relationship the United States maintains with the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau. As in those areas, the ‘free associated’ option for Puerto Rico would entail, the ballot instructions suggest, independence but ongoing, negotiated ties with the United States.”

It is generally believed that members of the Popular Democratic Party support the status quo or “pro commonwealth” position; New Progressive Party members support statehood; and the independence position is generally associated with the Independence Party. No major party in Puerto Rico appears to be supportive of the free association option.

The CRS Report further states, “Given the prominence of the status issue in Puerto Rican political culture, it seems likely that voters will be familiar with the status issue. How the electorate will choose to vote remains an open question… The PDP, which supports commonwealth status, has urged supporters to boycott question 2. It remains to be seen whether this will occur… How the ballots are tallied could have ramifications for interpreting the results, particularly if no option in question 2 receives a clear majority… Results that indicated the connection between answers in both questions might clarify whether question 2 was boycotted or whether there are indications of “spoiler” votes (e.g., incongruous choices for questions 1 and 2, such as maintaining the status quo but choosing independence). On the other hand, in the absence of additional information, voter intent could still be unclear even with a more detailed count.”

The CRS Report concludes that Congress may not be persuaded to act by one tally method or another.

No matter what the results of this vote or the action taken by Congress, the future of Puerto Rico should be for the people of Puerto Rico, not bureaucrats in Washington, DC to decide.


Darryl W. Perry

Darryl has spent most of his adult life as an advocate & activist for peace and liberty. Darryl is an award winning author, publisher & radio/TV host. He is a regular contributor to several weekly and monthly newspapers. He hosts the daily newscast FPPRadioNews, the podcast Peace, Love, Liberty Radio, the weekly news podcast FPP Freedom Minute, and is a regular co-host on Free Talk Live. Darryl is a co-founder and co-chair of the NH Liberty Party. Darryl is the Owner/Managing Editor of Free Press Publications.

  1. As much as i want my country in Latin America, to finally achieve independence from the United States “democratic empire”; unfortunatly, i do not feel the PIP party will achieve independence for the island. I believe the best option for independence, should be the Free Associated republic status, or better known by us Puerto-Rican’s is Estado Libre Associado Soverign. If we were to become a Free Associated Republic, it would give us Puerto-Rican’s, the benefit, and privilage to know what it is like to be semi independent. We can create our own law’s, citizenship based on our own nationality, create foreign investment’s as well as Foreign trade, and relation’s with soo many country’s around the world. Of course we would have a special relationship with the U.S. and have less U.S. governmental juristiction like what we have now as a colony. I do agree with what it say’s in the last paragraph of the entire article. “No matter what the results of this vote or the action taken by Congress, the future of Puerto Rico should be for the people of Puerto Rico, not bureaucrats in Washington, DC to decide.” But if the U.S. Congressman in Washington D.C., decide to make Puerto-Rico, a free associated republic then by all mean’s i dont mind. It’s time we have freedom, and some sovergnty from the soo called “U.S. democratic empire” to end it shortly and simply, Free Association is the best alternitive status option of independence for Puerto-Rico.

    1. Sovereign Commonwealth, a.k.a. ” Free Associated Republic”, a.k.a. “Sovereign Commonwealth” is nothing but a gobbledygook fantasy instigated by pro-statehood and pro-independentist people to kill the true commonwealth option that stands for autonomy. A so called “sovereign commonwealth” is nothing but a sovereign republic that chooses to associate with another. Whosoever wants Puerto Rico to be a soverign nation has but one option, and that is INDEPENDENCE. Therefore, whosoever wants independence must step out of the 2% soap box and start convinicing some people of the niceties of supreme sovereignty.

      1. Im guessing what you said also impies “is nothing but a gobbledygook fantasy” for the three Sovereign Free Associated Republics in the Pacific Ocean? Is this Political status “a gobbledygook fantasy” for the Republic of Palau, The Confederated States of Micronesia, and the The Marshall Islands? Because these three Republics are associated with the United States, and I believe this benefits the Marshall Islands, and Palau. Why not let this become the new status of Puerto-Rico? We would finally defeat Statehood once and for all. Because honestly the more Puerto-Rico remains a Territory/Colony of the U.S. the more these damn tretarious American Wannabes here in Puerto-Rico are going to continuosly try to play congressman for fools in Washington D.C., they are always going to try to lie, manipulate, and bullshit their way out of elections to make it seem as if the Statehood really won When in reality it did NOT WIN! Im sick of this shit that continues here in PR. As a Free Associated Republic Puerto-Rico will never be on their own completly as they would be as a completly independent country. The U.S. can support us in Economics, Homeland security, Governmental programs, disaster responds, Federal Postal Services, etc. The only difference about this for Puerto-Rico is that We would finally be able to no longer face Political oprression. We would be able to run our own government, and have Diplomacy with all nations around the world something we lack as a Colony/Territory, With that said renounce our short lasted citizenship, thanks to that damn Jones of act!

  2. The whole thing stinks. Puerto Ricans held a plebiscite in 1967 and 60.4% of the people chose a further development of the autonomous Commonwealth status. This is the status that was established in Puerto Rico in 1952, but which had never been updated since then. Keep in mind that the commonwealth status was not established in 1952 to let it rot like a banana. A commonwealth status is a special relationship based on cooperation between to nations of people and must be revised and updated every so often until the parties reach a disagreement, like in Catalonia and Scotland. In the case of Puerto Rico, the sore losers of the pro-statehood and independentist parties refused to accept that democratic mandate in 1967, and have done nothing but sabotaging all efforts by the pro-commonwealth party to update our relationship with Washington. After a generation passed and forgot the mandate of 1967, pro-statehood sore loser’s held another plebiscite in 1993 and lost to the pro-commonwealth majority. By 1998, they didn’t even have the decency of letting another generation die or emigrate to the Mainland and held, yet, a third plebiscite. The only difference this third time was that they excluded the Commonwealth Option from the ballot, so they could not win like they did in 1967 and 1993. And yet, they lost again to them via the “None-of-the-above” option. Now in 2012 here these pests come again, with a fourth plebiscite, this time WITHOUT the Commowealth Option again and WITHOUT the “None-of-the-above” option. I have never seen people so obstinate and hard headed like pro-statehood Puerto Ricans, who want to be a state of the Union and can’t even speak or write a coherent sentence in English, let alone can recite the Pledge of Allegiance. And what’s worse…. Mitt Romney pledged his allegiance to the pro-statehood party and promised staehood for Puerto Rico if in November they win by at least one vote.

  3. I agree with the last paragraph and especially elpoderlatino Puerto Rico is better off as sovereign free association.