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Occupy Puerto Rico

Posted 2 years ago on Aug. 18, 2012, 12:53 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: puerto rico

On Sunday, August 19th Puerto Rico will vote on a referendum to amend parts of its local constitution. One amendment is to limit the right to bail on six different counts of homicide. The other amendment is to reduce the number of legislators from 78 to 56. Many on the island are uncertain of the true intentions behind the referendum, as both rise from the ruins of failed public policies by the two main political parties (PNP and PPD), who now seek to push forward these amendments with the consent and approval of the island’s electorate.

The first amendment is a disingenuous attempt at solving Puerto Rico’s suffocating crime and homicide rates, without tackling any of the much more serious deficiencies that have characterized the island’s judicial system, such as the rate of unsolved crimes/homicides solved (barely 36% of homicide cases in the past decade have even been presented to a judge) and arrests per homicide (only 43% of homicides result in a suspect being arrested [source]). This amendment has sparked a heated debate between people advocating, mostly through manipulation of people’s fears to vote YES, and the burgeoning grassroots movement that has started a campaign to vote NO. By the limiting the right to bail the whole concept of being innocent until proven guilty comes under serious threat and with the police department’s poor reputation of framing or falsely incriminating innocent people, many are up in arms over the matter.

The second, although less discussed, represents just as much an attack on fundamental principles of democracy and democratic process. The island’s political landscape has been dominated by the two mainstream parties, that much like the US have elbowed out any true opposition from ever participating in the policy or legislative process. After extremely low public approval ratings for the local Legislature and it’s deeds, a referendum was held a few years ago to eliminate the island’s bicameral system and transition to a unicameral legislative system. The unicameral system won by majority, yet both of the biggest parties completely ignored the referendum’s results. This spurred the creation and the way for the blossoming of alternative parties, such as the PPP, PPT and MUS, but under the threat of opening up the Senate and House to an actual democratic process and not the exclusive club that they have become, both parties came together (a rarity) and redacted the amendment to reduce the amount of legislators. All while legislators are considering passing laws to raise their salaries and in no way deal with the abysmal inefficiency that defines the current legislature.

Both amendments are a smokescreen before the elections, as they serve to dilute the public discourse on any real subject matter or issues and to polarize public opinion, as well as a number of yet unknown intentions lying underneath.

Help those campaigning against the referendum by checking out the following links and/or spreading the word! We need to elevate the dialogue and seriously confront the problems Puerto Rico faces, which are being used to manipulate puertorricans into limiting their own rights and democracy.

Join us tomorrow at 10 am for the "NO" car caravan - starting at Ponce de Leon Ave, opposite the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Pierdas at 10 am and ending in the town of Loiza. We might lack money, but we still have our dignity - and that's all we need to take to the streets and defend our right to bail, because we are all innocent until proven guilty.

No es lo mismo (It’s not the same)
http://www.facebook.com/noeslomismopr

12 Comments

12 Comments


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[-] 2 points by m4trix87 (71) 2 years ago

Saying "NO" to the referendum? Why not a campaign to convince the people to have the referendum, but only to send the proposed changes to hell?

In this way, the proposed changes will take a huge blow by being totally delegitimised and also a truly grassroots process (referendum) will take place, possibly setting a precedent.

Saying no to the referendum instead of the changes restricts democracy and sets a precedent for authoritarian tactics.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

Mi Puerto Rico!

[-] 1 points by m4trix87 (71) 2 years ago

I realise the referendum is a trick the ruling elite use here to let the people dig their own grave and legitimise the proposed changes.

The best way to deal with it is to turn it against them- let the people vote on the referendum, but the opposite of what the ruling elite want.

If the referendum doesn't take place, the elite will have more arguments to push anti-99% measures (like these ones) by force/parliament by claiming that since the people don't want referenda, they trust their rulers.

If the people vote and say yes, the elite will have their measures legitimised and passed.

Both ways, the people lose.

The only way for the people to win is to 1)Vote 2)Vote NO.

In this way, the elite will only have the option to push the measures by force, and that will go against a referendum of people saying NO, which will mean if they pass it the state gets delegitimised and the people can strike back.

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

Support our Taino Hermano y harmana.

[-] 0 points by fiftyfourforty (1077) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Last time I looked Puerto Rico had been occupied for a while now.

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

You got a problem with Puerto Ricans?

[-] 0 points by fiftyfourforty (1077) from New York, NY 2 years ago

I don't know if you're serious but I will assume you are. No, l was struck by the irony of the title of this news item. Puerto Rico was occupied by the US as a trophy of the Spanish American War. Puerto Ricans were made US citizens in order to legalize drafting them to be slaughtered during WWI. I know that most Puerto Ricans on the Island are satisfied and even pleased to be American citizens, though the majority do not want to lose their uniqueness nor their language and culture. A minority of a few percent want to be independent, the rest are about 50/50 over statehood vs. continuing the not quite a part of the US but still yes a part of the US status of now. I would not want anything of their future to be determined by anyone but themselves.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_status_of_Puerto_Rico#United_Nations_classification

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

I was only half serious (if u DID hv a prob) but glad the post now has another bump. You are correct about the history, and current state of affairs.

I would only add that Puerto Ricans are proud decent people who love their island home. They still struggle with large pockets of poverty, as well as all thedifficulties we struggle with. They deserve our support, and sounds like you might support their occupy.

Solidarity

[-] 1 points by fiftyfourforty (1077) from New York, NY 2 years ago

If progressive activists in PR embrace the name "occupy" who am I to say it's wrong. Just sort of creeps me out personally ."Occupy Puerto Rico." Okay if they say so...

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

They're allowed.

[-] 1 points by fiftyfourforty (1077) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Who am I to say it's wrong?

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

We are not relevant in that regard. They are allowed because they ARE the 99%