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(GFR Media)

Washington - Although its proposal to develop a tripartisan status agenda in the federal capital was put on hold, the Puerto RicanIndependence Party (PIP) considers that it is a matter of time before the NewProgressive Party (PNP) and the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) accept that they must put pressure on the federal government together.

"We hope that, sooner or later, the leadership of both parties will realize that there is no other way (to advance this issue) than to resort a joint approach," said PIP Executive President, former Senator Fernando Martín.

 The PIP tried that Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares -PNP president- and former Representative Héctor Ferrer - as PPD leader - joined a proposal to call a referendum in favor of the decolonization of Puerto Rico and against the Oversight Board, which controls the financial decisions of the elected government of the island.

On the other hand, in June, Ferrer suggested the PIP and PNP leadership to go to the White House and Congress together to demand amendments to PROMESA and the elimination of the Board.

According to Martín, Ferrer later lost interest in the proposal, which makes him think that his intention was directed "more to isolate the governor" than to facilitate a joint initiative.

While the PNP government runs out of time to pass a pro-statehood bill during this Congress session and after the Donald Trump government rejected that possibility, the PIP trusts that time is approaching to recognize that a single sector on the status debate will not convince Washington that it is time to end the colonial situation of the island. 

A few days ago, the US ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Carlos Trujillo, said that, for the Trump government, there is no consensus in Puerto Rico about its political future.

Although he acknowledged that statehood won the 2017 plebiscite with 97 percent of the votes, Trujillo stressed that it was a referendum in which only 23 percent of the electorate participated, while in Puerto Rico, status referendums usually generate high participation.

 Days before, Trump himself gave an absolute no to statehood, considering that the island has an incompetent leadership.

The US President focused his criticism on the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, with whom he has kept an ongoing feud since the beginning of the emergency caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

 Mayor Cruz, however, favors free association as an alternative status.

It is urgent to change the strategy

The PIP executive president believes that, in the case of the PPD, a possible change of leadership could encourage new efforts to put pressure on the United States. 

For Martín, those in the PPD who think that Puerto Rico and the United States were "equal partners before the world" are now "a small minority" after the imposition of the Board.

In this sense, Martín anticipates that the political balance within the PPD regarding the status debate will become clear in the internal struggle "for a new leadership".

Regarding the PNP, he thinks that once Congress sessions conclude in December, and the fate of the bill filed by Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González is confirmed, Governor Rosselló Nevares should change the strategy.

"As things now stand in Puerto Rico, it is not politically feasible to say that we must indefinitely postpone the status issue," said Martín.

The PIP considers that the low turnout in the 2017 plebiscite and Trump´s government considering that there is no consensus on the status are proofs that acting unilaterally does not advance the debate on this issue.

 "The PNP cannot go to the 2020 elections with the status issue shattered by the inaction of Washington," said Martín, who believes that, in that party, "they will need a new strategy."


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