PUERTO RICO: THE FAT CAT'S COLONY
The ludicrous tactics and transparent motives of those who are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to derail the Young Bill are sad and potentially tragic for the US residents of Puerto Rico and for the Republican National Party.
Their real intention is to preserve a constitutionally protected and sanctioned USA fiefdom, officially called the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, whose absolute economic and political lords exercise domain, not only over our economic, political and social landscape, but also over the indentured employees tied to them. Those executives, directors, shareholders of Section 936 corporate welfare companies, and their professional overseers: lawyers, accountants, bankers and politicians, from now on will be referred by us as the "colonial fat cats".
The goal is to perpetuate the present colonial fat cats' commonwealth status, whose nearly half century of island dominance has bilked the US Treasury of billions of dollars in untaxed corporate profits for the corporate minions, without presenting economic or political benefits for the island's residents. To protect their interests, they spend millions upon millions in fees and salaries for their professional henchmen and millions in campaign funds for their political allies.
To fight against the Young Bill, they have formed alliances. One group is composed of the pro-Section 936 economic "colonial fat cats" who pour huge amounts of money into mysterious organizations such as Puerto Rico First, Free the Eagle, and others, to attack the Young Bill by denigrating our island and its residents. In a San Juan Star article of Nov. 15, 1997, pg. B37: "P.R. Must Wait 2 Years For Another Try At Tax Breaks", it's easy to come to the conclusion that their ultimate goal is to get the Democrats back in power in order to revive Section 936. They will go to any and all lengths to accomplish that feat.
The other group, the political "colonial fat cats", is composed of a well taken care bunch of local politicians who, with the help of some radical left wing ideologues, support and protect the "status quo" in the electoral arena. These officially belong to the Commonwealth party and are aligned politically with the DNC.
Both groups have joined forces to try and kill off the Young Bill. For this they have enlisted unscrupulous Republican lobbyists to prey upon Republicans with racist appeals in order to defeat the only piece of legislation in 100 years that offers our 3.8 million US citizens the opportunity to vote for self-determination.
The "commonwealth" supporters, who masquerade under the banner of patriotism and cultural purity, have historically denied economic opportunity to the lower income island residents. One of their actions was to pass legislation to eliminate the teaching of English in public schools. This allows them to continue their grip over the island, since they make sure their offspring are fluent in English by sending them to exclusive private schools.
Shameless, they have the gall to shout from the pages of Washington's newspapers that the Puerto Rico Commonwealth's failed 45 year record (for which the present commonwealth relationship is responsible), is reason enough to disqualify, what they describe as a "Spanish speaking welfare dependent, poverty stricken, crime infested territory rife with Molotov cocktail throwing radicals," from statehood consideration.
Should the architects of this libel be permitted to renew their license to pillage and plunder the island, its US citizens residents, the American taxpayer, and the IRS for years to come?
The right thing to do is to allow a fair vote that would overthrow the self-serving masters of Puerto Rico in favor of a democratic rule. A democratic rule that would re-direct Puerto Rico's resources toward economic and social programs benefiting our people and turning an American deficit account into a surplus.
However, it is difficult for this to happen so long as the entrenched "colonial fat cats" are permitted to go unchallenged in their costly self-serving campaign to portray their own deficiencies as endemic to the island, and potentially lethal to the mainland.
The colonial fat cats' campaign to undermine the Young Bill has targeted the Republican House leadership to get them to back off from their support of the Young Bill. Their campaign has a veiled anti-immigrant theme with racist connotations, made all the more politically potent with unsubstantiated claims that a Puerto Rican state would tip the balance in Congress towards the Democrats.
Some Republicans may be taking the bait. Fearful of a backlash next November among their more conservative supporters, some might try to transform the Young Bill into an albatross, which could threaten Republican control of Congress. They are wrong!
It is the Democrat Party and its candidates who will benefit if the Republicans turn their back on decades of support for Puerto Rico decolonization and the Young Bill. Mainland Hispanics will punish Republicans next fall and their tenuous grip on control of the House may become undone. The last laugh would be for the Democrats both in Puerto Rico and in the mainland.
If these Democrats can engineer Republican abandonment so as to blame them for the failure of the Young legislation, they will make Puerto Rico self-determination their issue, and ride it into the Speaker's job! From there it will be easy as pie to leverage immigrant bashing and ethnocentricity into retaining the White House in 2000, just as the very same tactic was used so successfully in 1996 to deny Republicans key electoral victories in otherwise safe states such as Florida and Arizona. Then, if Congressman Rangel and Sen. Moyniham chair the powerful Ways and Means and Finance Committees, restoring Section 936, the Corporate Welfare tax benefit, will be a cinch.
By ceding the Puerto Rico issue and therefore the Hispanic vote to the Democrats, the Republicans may risk all that was gained in 1994 and all that they might have hoped to win in 1998 and 2000. Then the Section 936 fat cats, the Democrats, and their commonwealth allies will have pulled off one of the biggest coups in recent political annals. Puerto Rico will have been used by them as the Trojan Horse to recapture the House in 1998 and solidify their future support among mainland Hispanics soon to be the largest US minority and one of its most influential-voting blocs.
Of course, the real big winners will be the corporate welfare Section 936 companies and their local "colonial fat cats", who will once more have the island safe from threats of statehood. Statehood would undermine their ability to leverage its territorial status to their shareholder's benefit and that of their allies: the local political and professional establishment that feeds off them. Can a renewed Section 936 be far behind?
The losers will be the 3.8 million US citizens of Puerto Rico not connected with or recipients of the largesse of the 936 oligopoly. They will be consigned to many years more of colonial status, second class citizenship and a bleak economic future, where migration to the mainland will continue to offer the only escape route to opportunity for our best and brightest.
Let's hope that Republicans stateside will wake up to the ruse that is being perpetrated and recognize that 'sleeping with the enemy' offers little but electoral Armageddon. Puerto Rico First, Free the Eagle, and the pro-commonwealth Popular Democrat Party, whether in Spanish or English, don't give a whit for the GOP.
It's merely a tool for their unfettered domination over the United States' Banana Republic.
Republican electoral salvation ultimately rests on doing the right thing, constitutionally and morally. We can and should do well by doing good. Otherwise, what is our rationale for holding and exercising power? Why should voters choose us over the opposition if we, like them, choose expediency over principle?
But who should expose these nefarious activities? One could be the local Republican Party and its members. They must enlist fellow stateside Republicans, who have championed self-determination and statehood for Puerto Rico for almost a century, to warn Republican lawmakers against becoming as children with the Pied Piper, following the siren song (in this case: money) of the "status quo" preservers.
Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer can be reached for comments by contacting us at Info@PuertoRico-Herald.org.