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June 28, 2002
Copyright © 2002 PUERTO RICO HERALD. All Rights Reserved. 
What Will Political Status Change Bring To Puerto Rico?

97% of Herald readers participating in last week’s "Hot Button Issue" want Puerto Rico to embrace a new political status. Only 3% are happy with the present arrangement. The question is WHY?

Last week’s "Hot Button" poll prompted readers to choose among political status options for Puerto Rico, to be achieved by the island within ten years. Over 60% of respondents voted for permanent union with the United States through Statehood. Some 25% chose Independence, either with or without a treaty of free association with the U.S. and 12% of respondents wanted Puerto Rico to remain in a territorial status but with more autonomy. Only 3% of participants projected the current Commonwealth status into Puerto Rico’s political future.

These results are consistent with what analysts have been seeing in the plebiscites and referenda on the island over the past decade, which have reflected a mood of dissatisfaction with the status quo and a dramatic trend away from the consensus achieved by the late Governor Luis Munoz Marin and the coalition that lead to acceptance of the current Puerto Rico Constitution and its attendant local government. At that time, he characterized the Commonwealth as a temporary arrangement that would move to a permanent political status when the island’s economy and experiment with local self-government had matured. It seems that his assessment was prophetic, since almost no one in Puerto Rico is today content with what their forbearers fashioned in 1952. What has not occurred is the realization of any new status for the island.

Since it is evident that virtually all Puerto Ricans think that the current Commonwealth is inadequate, the question is; "why do they think that way?"

Is Puerto Rico’s economy the principal issue motivating the choice for a new political status or are enhanced civil rights accruing to individuals by the adoption of a new governing system the essential factor? Is U.S. Citizenship — its loss or retention now or in the future — the consideration that most drives the choice for a new Puerto Rican reality, or are there cultural considerations that chiefly motivate your vision of change? Maybe taxes are your predominant concern. Was your choice predicated on the financial cost to you of any new status option?

Needless to say, all of these factors, and many more, go into deciding the best path for Puerto Rico to tread but, very often, a single anticipated outcome is first and foremost in the expectations of a voter in the self-determination process. What, for you, is the "sine qua non" of a new political status for Puerto Rico?

This week’s poll offers the chance to express the overriding reason why you wish to see Puerto Rico change its current political status. You have already voted as to how to fix it. What you can identify this week is, "what’s broke."

This Week's Question:
What Single Factor Drives Your Political Status Choice For Puerto Rico?

U.S. Citizenship -- Will I or my children lose it?
Civil Rights -- Can I obtain increased legal rights by this option?
24% Economic Factors -- Will this new status improve my economic position?
18% Cultural Factors -- Will my identity be best reflected by this option?
13% Taxes -- Will I pay more or less taxes within this option?


.To submit your idea for a future PR Herald poll question or "Hot Button" issue, please click here.

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