3.26.2007

Is Velazquez a Troublemaker Pushing PR Self-Determination?

As soon as I posted U.S. Corporations Lobby Against Puerto Rico Statehood?, I came across Julie Shapiro's Velazquez tries to solve Puerto Rico status limbo (The Villager, 3.14-20.07).

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez wants to put decisions about Puerto Rico’s future back in the hands of Puerto Ricans. A commonwealth — neither a state nor an independent country — Puerto Rico is often caught in the middle of a heated debate about its identity.

At the end of last month, Velazquez introduced the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2007. The bill, with 25 co-sponsors, describes a process for Puerto Ricans to decide the status of their home.

“Any proposal regarding the future of Puerto Rico must first come from Puerto Ricans,” said Velazquez, who was born on the island. “Self-determination needs to come from the people of the island — to do otherwise would be tampering with their free will."

Given the clear message in favor of short-term profits over the long-term interests of the Puerto Rican people by U.S. corporations, it seems that Nydia Velazquez may have taken on a bigger challenge than merely winning authorization in the Congress for a PR plebiscite.

This reminds me that PR Governor Acevedo's economic development plan is linked to his buddies in the political and drug manufacturing worlds of New Jersey. I suspect that island and New Jersey status quo interests may not be all that happy with a New York Boricua insisting on a democratic vote and self-determination in Puerto Rico.