In this episode of the PRF Review, Andrew talks about a recent interview with PR congress people Raúl Grijalva, Nydua Velázquez and Joseé Serrano about the PRF status issue and makes an important announcement.
"There is no perfect moment. The only moment is now. The Puerto Rico issue needs to be resolved. It cannot wait... I believe that my time here in Puerto Rico Forward has come to a very adequate end... I have been blessed with this opportunity and it's been just a wonderful journey so far but I believe that the time has come for me to be able to continue being a PR issue advocate in other terms... I might not be on the podcast format but I'll be around and I'll continue fighting for this cause... Que Viva Puerto Rico." - Andrew Mercado-Vázquez
As explained by Andrew in the video, this was the last episode of the Puerto Rico Forward Review. There will be one more episode of the PRF podcast which will air in mid November. You will be able to listen to it on our website or your favorite podcast app.
Thank you everyone for your interest in and support of this show. We've been honored to work with Andrew over the last 2 years and he will be dearly missed. We wish him the best in all his future endeavors! Stay tuned for the last episode of PRF next month.
On today's episode I'll be discussing a recent interview to Raul Grijalva, Nydia Velazquez, and Jose Serrano about the Puerto Rico issue and at the end of today's episode, I'll also be making a very special and important announcement about Puerto Rico Forward. So please stay tuned until the end.
Hi, my name is Andrew Mercado-Vazquez and welcome to the PRF review the show based on the podcast Puerto Rico Forward which you can always listen to on iTunes and Spotify and all major platforms you get your podcasts from. Now today's episode is very important because it does we're going to discuss the opinion of three members of Congress that are hugely influential in the Latino and Hispanic population in the United States. So we're talking about Raul Grijalva Nydia Velazquez, and Jose Serrano. Now this interview was published recently, about Monday if I'm not mistaken, El Nuevo Dia, which is the major news outlet here in Puerto Rico and it's important because the interview was about the Puerto Rico status issue: how the status the status can can finally transform out of a colonial context.
So, Raul Grijalva went first and it's very important to highlight that Raul Grijalva is chairman of the US Committee of Natural Resources. So this committee has a huge part to play in Puerto Rico's political and legal structures and it's it's a very important body when it comes to determining whether or not Puerto Rico will be able to do X or Y thing. So whatever comes to a matter about Puerto Rico this body is very important and very influential to those types of decisions. So what does Raul Grijalva say when it comes to finally solving the Puerto Rico status issue. First off, he says that it's not the time for Congress to do that. Right now, and these are his words. I forgot to mention the interview is in Spanish, but these are basically their statements now. It's not the time in Congress to discuss that. Currently the political climate in Congress isn't favorable to be able to discuss that type of subject matter and that he sees very little possibility of that type of discussion to have any place in Congress currently. So that's the chairman of the US Committee of Natural Resources, Raul Grijalva’s opinion, essentially saying don't even try it.
Nydia Velazquez, on the other hand, places a little bit more of the responsibility on local political struggles and on the obstacle of the economy. So, Nydia Velazquez focuses more on the fact that here in the archipelago there isn't a general accepted opinion on what the status solution should be and the two major options are statehood or independence, but you have the free association option as well. Essentially she highlights that here in Puerto Rico there really isn’t any consensus and since there's no consensus here in Puerto Rico, then how can Congress step in. Because it's as soon as the status debate is brought to congresspeople's attention, the first thing they highlight is well, the people in Puerto Rico, they don't even know what they want, so what are we gonna do if we step in. Also Nidya Velazquez highlights the fact that it might not be the right time for that discussion to take place because of Puerto Rico's economic struggles currently.
Finally, we have Jose Serrano. Jose Serrano basically proposes that He acknowledges that the people of Puerto Rico have a very important role to play, But Jose Serrano does something very important. He also highlights that it is Congress who has the final say in regards to what Puerto Rico’s status is going to be and as a result he understands (and I agree as far as this) that Congress should be the one that places on the table the options to choose from. Clearly and openly without any type of wordplay. It's either independence or status. Basically, that's what Jose Serrano states. But he doesn't specifically say that it's time to solve the Puerto Rico issue basically. He proposes that this is what Congress should do, but essentially it's a very it's a very bland statement.
Why am I bringing these these statements up? Why am I bringing this interview up? Because I believe that this is essentially always going to be the answer from Congress. It's always going to be “oh, well your economy isn't strong enough”. It's always going to be “ Well, you don’t have any consensus locally”. Or it’s always going to be “well, there’s no space in the agenda for that” or “the political climate here in Congress isn’t appropriate for us to be able to enter that discussion” or “the administration is focusing on other things.'' The point is there's never gonna be a perfect time to discuss the Puerto Rico issue and the status issue. It's never gonna happen. If anyone is trying to allow Congress to suddenly, spontaneously, come together to solve the Puerto Rico issue, that person just should not hold their breath. Because there is never going to be a perfect moment to discuss such an important subject.
So why continue postponing the subject or playing some evasive maneuvers around the subject because it's not convenient right now or because it won't be easy right now or because X or Y factor isn't in favor? There is no perfect moment. The only moment is now. So the Puerto Rico issue needs to be resolved. The Puerto Rico issue cannot wait. If you think about it the Puerto Rico issue is 120 plus years old. So in 120 years there was never a perfect moment. Why should there be in the future? There won't be, so it's up to us, the people that believe in this subject, the people that believe in Puerto Rico and want to see it prosper and to move forward the Puerto Rico issue and to force Congress into a position where they can no longer ignore the subject: where they can no longer use excuses to evade or avoid touching on this subject. The people and the partners of the Puerto Rico issue need to be advocates in this cause and continue pushing for it to be resolved finally. So let's not wait for the situation to be perfect. Let’s not wait for conditions to be perfect. We need to act.
As I mentioned before at the beginning of the episode, I said that I had a very important announcement to make. The important announcement is the following: Things change and as that is, I have come to the decision that my time here in Puerto Rico Forward has come to a very adequate end. This is a very beautiful chapter in my life that I will always cherish and that I will always hold close to my heart all the relationships I've built working on Puerto Rico Forward and working with the people in Democracy at Work. I appreciate so much that I've been blessed with this opportunity and it's been just a wonderful journey so far, but I believe that the time has come for me to be able to continue being a Puerto Rico issue advocate in other terms. I feel like I've been able to express as much as I have wanted on this subject and I've been able to bring
as much valuable information as I have been able to. I'm so grateful to everybody that has supported this project. I'm so grateful to everyone at Democracy at Work. And this has been a beautiful moment in my life and I will continue moving the Puerto Rico issue forward. It might not be doing this or it might not be on the podcast format, but I'll I'll be around and I’ll continue fighting for this cause: a cause that I’ve been fighting for way before Puerto Rico Forward was even an idea and I’ll continue fighting for it long after. So, as always, thank you for your time. Thank you for listening. Y que viva Puerto Rico.
Transcript by Connor Bulgrin
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