ONTD Political

And dozens of people continue to shake their heads at Santorum...

7:14 pm - 03/14/2012
Santorum to Puerto Rico: Speak English if you want statehood

(Reuters) - Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum told Puerto Ricans on Wednesday they would have to make English their primary language if they want to pursue U.S. statehood, a statement at odds with the U.S. Constitution.

Santorum traveled to the U.S. territory to campaign ahead of the island's Republican primary election scheduled for Sunday, where he, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are vying for 20 delegates.

Puerto Ricans, who recognize both English and Spanish as their official languages, are scheduled to vote in November on a referendum to decide whether they want to pursue statehood or remain a self-governing U.S. commonwealth.

In an interview with El Vocero newspaper, Santorum said he supported Puerto Ricans' right to self-determination regarding the island's political status.

"We need to work together and determine what type of relationship we want to develop," he told the newspaper.

But Santorum said he did not support a state in which English was not the primary language.

"Like any other state, there has to be compliance with this and any other federal law," Santorum said. "And that is that English has to be the principal language. There are other states with more than one language such as Hawaii but to be a state of the United States, English has to be the principal language."

However, the U.S. Constitution does not designate an official language, nor is there a requirement that a territory adopt English as its primary language in order to become a state.

Congress would have to give approval if Puerto Rico is to become the 51st state. Although Congress has considered numerous proposals to make English the official U.S. language, none has ever passed.

However, some states have passed their own laws declaring English the official language, including heavily Hispanic Florida.

Puerto Rico has about 4 million people and its population can vote in partisan primaries but not presidential elections. Puerto Ricans on the mainland have the same voting rights as other U.S. citizens.

Santorum's statement may fall flat with Puerto Rican Republicans, who have always argued that issues of language and culture should be controlled by state governments and not the federal government.

It also could alienate the 4.2 million Puerto Ricans who live on the U.S. mainland, including nearly 1 million in presidential swing-state Florida.

Romney and Gingrich have both said Puerto Ricans must decide their future for themselves. Romney has said that if they choose to pursue statehood, he would help them achieve it.

Romney, who is scheduled to travel to Puerto Rico on Friday and stay through the weekend, won the endorsement of Governor Luis Fortuno, who is also the head of Puerto Rico's pro-statehood New Progressive Party.

Santorum was to meet with Fortuno on Wednesday before a town hall meeting with residents.

He said he and Fortuno are friends because they went to the same church in Washington when Fortuno served as Puerto Rico's non-voting representative in the U.S. Congress from 2004-2008.

Santorum also said that he does not support "at this time" allowing residents in territories like Puerto Rico to vote for president, although he said he was open to analyzing alternatives, such as allowing their votes to count in the popular vote but not in the Electoral College.

Gingrich will send his daughter, Kathy Gingrich Lubbers, to campaign on his behalf in Puerto Rico on Thursday and Friday. She is fluent in Spanish and was expected to hold a town-hall style meeting.

(Reporting by Reuters in San Juan, with additional reporting by Jane Sutton in Miami; Editing by Bill Trott)


Stay classy, Santorum.
rebels 15th-Mar-2012 12:01 am (UTC)
Since Congress and the Supreme Court have been the ones to define our relationship with the US they've come up with the most interesting excuses to justify us being denied the vote in the Federal Presidential election. Not only us but the US Virgin Islands and other US territories. They give us fancy names like "Commonwealth" so no one knows the truth, but the truth we're all fucking colonies and second class citizens.
ennifer_jay 15th-Mar-2012 12:04 am (UTC)
"but the truth we're all fucking colonies"

yup. that's the best way I can describe PR's political status to people unfortunately.
draion 15th-Mar-2012 12:35 am (UTC)
Yes, it's conveyed that you're a "commonwealth" and get all the benefits of an American without the taxation. Go, you free, fun, lively Puerto Ricans!

The shadiness and blatant oppression shouldn't surprise me at all. I always wondered how U.S.-affiliated islands went about U.S. political involvement too, so that answers that. How disturbing that this is all really going on.
rebels 15th-Mar-2012 12:44 am (UTC)
And Puerto Ricans got citizenship for shady reasons too. Historians cite two of them, to send us to war during WWI and because the PR Nationalists had committed a gamut of terrorists acts. If Puerto Ricans were citizens these groups could be accused of treason easily and quickly executed. The older I get, the more I learn, the shadier it gets. People frame it as if the white saviors came over and released us from abject poverty and Spanish oppression but it was anything but that. We were a chess piece, merely of use because of the fact our position in the Caribbean was of tactical value to the United States Navy, during the Cold War we were used as a counterpoint to Cuba, and now we're of use because of what we contribute to the US economy as massive consumers. The minute we're of no use to the US they're gonna send us on our way like yesterdays garbage.

Edited at 2012-03-15 12:45 am (UTC)
draion 15th-Mar-2012 01:03 am (UTC)

That's seriously the most reaction I can muster without spewing all my anti-American sentiments. I can't even believe the controlling complex of this fucking country. It makes me even happier to know I'm from Dominican Republic and can head back any time due to dual citizenship (which I've been planning to do, once I finish school).

Good luck to Puerto Rico. It's like growing up with an older brother that bullied you, and now that both siblings are older, there's less overt shadiness, but still the intimidation and overbearing endeavors of that older brother. Probably a shitty metaphor that really undermines it all, but you know what I mean. It's disturbing as shit.
rebels 15th-Mar-2012 01:07 am (UTC)
I always have to remind myself that my issue is with the US government and not with the general public in the US, because they just don't know the terrible things that have been done in their name to be quite honest. I have many American friends and they're all good people so no hate on that front. The only thing I want is that for once Puerto Ricans got the opportunity to actually make the big decisions for themselves, for ourselves.
roseofjuly 15th-Mar-2012 02:18 am (UTC)
Yeah, because my jaw is practically on the floor over here (black American). I mean, we already don't learn the history of brown people in the U.S. but we definitely have never learned the history of any U.S. territories, or about the people who live there.
ennifer_jay 15th-Mar-2012 03:27 am (UTC)
I'm student teaching 8th grade English right now and I was teaching two poems by Latina poets. One of them talked in her poem about being from Puerto Rico, and the other was Chicana. I had them compare and contrast the two poets/poems, and even though I stated like 5 times that Puerto Ricans are US Citizens/Puerto Rico is a part of the US, I still had students put in the middle of the venn diagram, "both immigrants" :|.

My university has this college exchange program where you can attend another (participating) university within the states and territories for a semester. One of my friends was born & raised in PR and was interested in returning to PR for a semester for college. I was picking up information for her in the registrar's office (where I worked last semester) and I said that she was born & raised in PR, so there was no need to worry about the language barrier, etc. And my coworker said to me, "Is she a US citizen?" Me: "....She's from Puerto Rico."


Edited at 2012-03-15 03:30 am (UTC)
13chapters 15th-Mar-2012 04:10 am (UTC)
tbf, people from NM get asked if they're US citizens a lot too, and then there are the tourists in Hawaii who are surprised to learn you can use American currency there!

People are fucking ignorant.
lizzy_someone 15th-Mar-2012 05:59 am (UTC)
Once in high school my English teacher asked a student who had grown up for a while in China whether Chinese schools told students about Tibet, and another student asked rhetorically, "Do American schools tell us about Puerto Rico?" and the teacher was like, "...Shit, good point."
amethystcitrine 15th-Mar-2012 03:07 pm (UTC)
That student was one smart cookie!
amethystcitrine 15th-Mar-2012 03:03 pm (UTC)
I feel like such a dumbass for not being aware of this. I am going to try to read more, but it makes me feel sick that I am hearing about it for the first time in LJ comments.

Tbh I grew up in Georgia and the only thing they really bothered teaching was Georgia history, almost the whole time I was in K-12. :/
rjdaae 16th-Mar-2012 03:59 pm (UTC)
Tbh I grew up in Georgia and the only thing they really bothered teaching was Georgia history, almost the whole time I was in K-12. :/

Ah, so it wasn't just me then. :/
anna_darkholme 16th-Mar-2012 04:30 am (UTC)
You're right, we (Americans) are generally so ignorant. I just went to San Juan with my mom and we were both wondering how and when it became a part of US territory. We took a tour of one of the forts and learned all about it. Before that we had no clue and I'm pretty sure most people don't. Pretty much as long as no one is hurting us we're fine but if the US gov't walks around and bullies other countries it's no big deal. Smh
lone_concertina 15th-Mar-2012 10:18 am (UTC)
Guam gets that shit pretty terribly too. The military is seizing thousands of acres of sacred historical sites and using them as bases, missile testing grounds, etc with absolutely no regard for the archaeological and cultural importance of the land they're destroying. Worse is that in doing so, they're completely cutting off the Chamoru people from accessing these places. Just like in PR, they're taxed to shit but get so little funding for things like public schools that kids are falling behind at a terrifying pace.

And there's no way to stop it.
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