Courting Caribbean Votes – Puerto Ricans

Go Lean Commentary

Dateline: Miami, Florida – Voting is a hallmark of democracy!

CU Blog - Lessons from Regional Elections - Photo 2Every Caribbean member-state is a democracy; (Even Cuba, but with only the one Communist Party).

So any quest to elevate the Caribbean’s societal engines – economics, security and governance – must consider the strategies of voting, and courting votes.

Right now, it is election season in the United States. There are many members of the Caribbean Diaspora living in the US – some figures project up to 22 million; many of them are eligible to vote on November 8, 2016.

  • Who will they vote for? Who should they vote for?
  • What if the criterion for the vote is benevolence to Caribbean causes?

This commentary is 1 of 3 of a series from the movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean, in consideration of Courting the Caribbean Votes for the American federal elections – President (Donald Trump -vs- Hillary Clinton), Vice-President and Congress (Senate & US House of Representatives). This and the other commentaries detail different ethnic communities within the Caribbean Diaspora and their voting trends; the series is as follows:

  1.       Courting the Caribbean Votes – Puerto Ricans
  2.       Courting the Caribbean Votes – ‘Jamericans’
  3.       Courting the Caribbean Votes – Cuban-Americans

All of these commentaries relate to governance, the election of the leaders of the American federal government. The Go Lean movement (book and blog-commentaries) asserts that Caribbean stakeholders need to take their own lead for their Caribbean destiny, but it does acknowledge that we have a dependency to the economic, security and governing eco-systems of the American SuperPower. This dependency is derisively called a parasite status, with the US as the host.

CU Blog - Puerto Rico Bondholders Coalition Launches Ad Campaign - Photo 1This accurately describes Puerto Rico.

Not only is the island of Puerto Rico a parasite of the US, but a near-Failed-State as well. While this has been a consistent theme of the Go Lean movement, it is no secret. Washington and Puerto Rico readily admit to this disposition. In fact this failing condition has driven many Puerto Ricans out of Puerto Rico. This has been within that consistent Go Lean theme, that “push-and-pull” factors drive Caribbean citizens away from their beloved homeland. Greater Orlando has become a new destination.

They are gone from Puerto Rico, but have not forgotten home. This year they are looking to impact their homeland with their vote. They seek to support candidates for federal offices that can help to reform and transform the island. See the  AUDIO Podcast here and related news article:

AUDIO – Puerto Ricans Could Sway Florida for Trump or Clinton –


News Article Title: Puerto Ricans, in Florida, could be a political catch
By: Andy Uhler

There’s a new, growing population of American citizens in Florida who might be able to vote for president for the first time – Puerto Ricans. And a lot of those leaving the island’s broken economy end up in Central Florida. Thousands of Puerto Ricans have settled over the past couple of decades in a town south of Orlando, near Disney World, called Kissimmee.

One of the main Puerto Rican hubs in the town is Melao Bakery. Wilfredo Ramirez stood outside most of the day asking people in Spanish if they’re registered to vote. It’s not normally the first thing a new acquaintance asks, but Wilfredo’s on a mission. He moved here from Puerto Rico a few months ago and has a job registering people. He said the electoral system on the mainland is tough for some new arrivals to figure out.


“It’s a bit confusing. Puerto Ricans are considered U.S. citizens, but it’s not the same as being born in the U.S.” mainland,  he said. “And that is the ultimate motive, for Puerto Ricans to register and give their vote.”

Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, but because of its territory status, those on the island can’t vote for president. Puerto Rico holds a presidential primary, but that’s where it ends. If they come to Florida and establish residency, though, Puerto Ricans can vote in November.

Wilfredo had been at the bakery for a couple of hours and had talked to more than 150 people. His contract will have him in Central Florida through November. The group he’s with, Hispanic Federation, isn’t affiliated with any party but has been vocal about Donald Trump’s immigration statements – calling them “misleading, demeaning and unfounded.”

But unlike in Florida, the island’s dominant parties aren’t Democrats and Republicans, and the main issue is whether Puerto Rico should stay a territory, become a state, or assert independence.

Carlos Vargas-Ramos is a researcher at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at HunterCollege. He said the Puerto Rican migration to Florida wouldn’t affect the election if groups weren’t out there explaining what’s happening.

“In general, were it anywhere else, where there’s not a mobilization effort, those Puerto Ricans would be less likely to turn out to vote,” he said. “But because, precisely, they’re going to be targets, they will be in play.”

The presidential campaigns know that. Florida is a battleground state, and apart from spending on TV, the Clinton campaign has been focused on trying to get people registered to vote. What they’re finding is that recent migrants aren’t necessarily as Democratic as once assumed.

Mark Oxner, Republican chairman in OsceolaCounty, where 60 percent of the Hispanic population identify as Puerto Rican, said he’s pleasantly surprised that they’re seeing the same thing

“The big thing is, they’re not coming all Democrats, most of them come over and sign as no party affiliation,” he said. “So they’re not, specifically tied to the Democratic party.”

That could make it a little more difficult for Democrats and Republicans to directly identify supporters. Which means it’ll probably be more expensive to get those independent voters to pick a side.

But in this part of Central Florida the community’s biggest concerns are extremely local. Newly arrived Puerto Ricans need teachers in the schools who can help their children transition to living on the mainland. That means, teachers who are bilingual.

Pablo Caceres, director of the Puerto Rican Federal Affairs Administration, a Puerto Rican governmental arm with an office in Kissimmee, said that’s what he hears all the time.

“The issues that are most important for us, the Puerto Rican community, that we need to obviously start talking about is having good quality education for our kids,” he said. “And there are also other big issues like immigration.”

At the same time, a lot of Puerto Ricans left the island and came to Florida because things were so bad. Unemployment is twice that of the mainland, almost half the population is living under the poverty line, hospitals have to limit hours because they can’t pay for electricity and schools are closing because teachers aren’t getting paid.

Now some migrants feel like they might have an impact on what Washington does about their home’s crippling debt crisis.

Jose Rivera moved here from the island in 1994. He’s an engineer in favor of independence.

“It’s about time we own our own destiny,” he said. “We are the 32-year-old guy that still lives with mom and dad and we’re expecting mom and dad to fix all our broken plates.”

Independence would come with a complete financial break from the federal government and a complete rethinking of the economy of the island.
Source: Posted September 30, 2016; retrieved October 4, 2016

The experience in the US is that the politicians do not always represent the majority of the people, but rather the majority of the passionate ones in their constituency – those who turn out to vote. According to the foregoing story, it is obvious that passion for the Caribbean homeland is resulting in passion for the voting booth. Therefore, there is a jockeying to win these votes for the different parties this election year. The Puerto Rican numbers are so impactful that they can swing the vote in this swing state of Florida. (Legally, Puerto Ricans need only establish legal residence for 6 months in a US state – Florida in this case – and then they can vote).

The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). It advocates optimizing the societal engines of economics, security and governance in the Caribbean, not in Florida or any other jurisdiction in the US. But it is what it is. The Diaspora is here-now. We must succeed in this Caribbean reboot to dissuade further migration and hopefully to facilitate a subsequent repatriation.

We must do better than our past. We must be an American protégé, rather than just an American parasite. This is the quest of the Go Lean/CU roadmap, to elevate the Caribbean’s economic-security-governing engines. The roadmap recognizes that the changes the region needs must start first with convening, collaborating, confederating the regional neighborhood into a Single Market, no matter the ethnicity, language or colonial legacy of the member-states. This need was pronounced early in the book, in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 & 13) with these statements:

xi.  Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation … for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

xxiii. Whereas many countries in our region are dependent OverseasTerritory of imperial powers, the systems of governance can be instituted on a regional and local basis, rather than requiring oversight or accountability from distant masters far removed from their subjects of administration. The Federation must facilitate success in autonomous rule by sharing tools, systems and teamwork within the geographical region.

The Go Lean book, and previous blog/commentaries, stressed the key community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementation and advocacies necessary to effect change in the region, to improve the oversight of the governing process. They are detailed as follows:

Community Ethos – Economic Principles – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Minority Equalization Page 24
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Security Principles – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future – Give the Youth a Voice & Vote Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Turn-around Page 33
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederate all 30 Member-states into a Single Market Page 45
Strategy – CU Stakeholders to Protect – Diaspora Page 47
Tactical – Separation-of-Powers – CU Federal -vs- Member-state governments Page 71
Anecdote – Turning Around CARICOM – Regional oversight Page 92
Implementation – Assemble Caribbean Election Oversight as Cooperative Page 96
Implementation – Assemble Constitutional Convention – Start of federal elections Page 97
Implementation – Ways to Impact Elections Page 116
Implementation – Reasons to Repatriate to the Caribbean Page 118
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – Confederate a Single Market of 4 language groups Page 127
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices – Election Outsourcing Page 134
Planning – Lessons Learned from US Constitution – Progress over generations Page 145
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Advocacy – Ways to Impact US Territories Page 244
Appendix – Interstate Compacts for Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands Page 278
Appendix – Nuyorican Movement Page 303
Appendix – Puerto Rican Population in the US (2010 Census) Page 304

The points of effective, technocratic oversight and stewardship for Puerto Rico were further elaborated upon in these previous blog/commentaries: ‘Like a Good Neighbor’ – Being there for Puerto Rico Ten Puerto Rico Police Accused of Criminal Network Puerto Rico Bondholders Coalition Launches Ad Campaign US Territories – Between a ‘rock and a hard place’ Caribbean Ghost Towns: It Could Happen … in Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Governor Signs Bill on SME’s Ailing Puerto Rico open to radical economic fixes

We want to make Puerto Rico and other places in our Caribbean homeland, better places to live, work and play. So we must engage the political process in Washington, DC as they are a major stakeholder for Puerto Rico. The island is bankrupt, it depends on federal bailouts just to execute even the basic functions in the Social Contract. Personally, many residents on the island depend on federal subsidies to survive: benefits like veterans, social security (disability & pension) and welfare. Many Puerto Ricans have understandably abandoned the island – this is both “push” and “pull”.

The Go Lean movement advocates being a protégé of America, not just a parasite. This is a turn-around from the status quo. We must now seek out solutions that encourage participation of Puerto Ricans in the nation-building process, as a territory, a new US State or an independent nation; (as alluded to in the foregoing story). If we want to stop the abandonment – a quest of the Go Lean roadmap – then we have no other choice; we must present the opportunities for citizens to prosper where planted in the Caribbean.

The choice for president should consider these needs.

We need Washington’s help. But the only way to impact Washington is through voting. This is why the Puerto Rican vote – for those in the Diaspora – is being courted. Which presidential candidate best extols the vision and values for a new Caribbean?

Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

This is the question being considered. These two camps are the ones courting Puerto Ricans in the Diaspora.

The purpose of the Go Lean roadmap is to provide the turn-by-turn directions to accomplish the needed turn-round. The Go Lean roadmap does not seek to change America; our only focus is to change the Caribbean, to make it better to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

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