|Do Mainland Puerto Ricans Identify With Island Political Issues?
As the dust was settling from the July 25th dueling celebrations by the political parties on the island of Puerto Rico, U.S. Reporters marched into mainland Puerto Rican neighborhoods to conduct street interviews of persons identifying themselves as "Puerto Rican." Reportorial curiosity had peaked by the barnstorming tour of the U.S. East Coast the previous week by Puerto Ricos Governor, Sila Calderon.
At press conferences and staged events in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., the Governor unveiled her six million dollar plan to register mainland Puerto Rican residents in a two-year effort. It was to be, she said, "an exercise in democracy." Previously she told reporters that she thought that a larger election turnout of mainland Puerto Ricans would "help advance Puerto Rican issues with the Federal Government." In a previous Herald poll, a solid majority of respondents thought that the true purpose of registration effort was to help the Puerto Rican government achieve in mainland electoral districts what it was unable to affect through the normal processes of official representation.
Articles showing the results of these U.S. street interviews appear in the news section of this weeks Herald. They reveal attitudes by passers-by that must be giving Ms. Calderon and her voter registration brigades some dyspepsia. Although the responses reveal the expected admiration for the quality and uniqueness of "Puerto Rican Culture," they also reflect ambivalence towards specific issues that drive the island political debate. When asked about what concerned them most, their replies mostly spoke to local economic, educational and social issues. When asked about political status preferences, answers reflected considerably less passion than is normally expressed on the island.
So, what do you think? In general, are mainland Puerto Ricans conversant with, and engaged in, matters of importance to the Puerto Rican government or are they, like most Americans, narrowly focused on matters closer to their own homes?