Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another Day, Another Speech: Obama en Puerto Rico

President Obama's visit to Puerto Rico left nothing on the table other than the crumbs from the lunch he shared with Senator Alejandro Garcia Padilla, if that. The best thing to come out of his visit seems to have been the beautification of some San Juan streets. That is, for Puerto Rico, but for Obama, it may bring in some support in Florida, a battleground state, which has seen an increase in the Puerto Rican population.

On his speech:

Obama stated that the question of political status had been addressed by the presidential task force on Puerto Rico status. That the report provided a meaningful way forward but that remains to be seen. It was obvious that his visit showed how divided the people really are and that a much longer road to resolving  the status dilemma is still ahead.  Although he states that his administration will stand by the decision Puerto Ricans choose, that still leaves a question unanswered, "what about congressional plenary powers on this matter?"

There was nothing concrete or for that matter, anything to celebrate about, in regards to his part on education, housing and employment. The same drab speech, on these subjects, given by many a politician with an eye on their political future. In the President's case, four more years with the hopeful support of the Latino vote.

Let's face it. The American story has been written and, yes, Puerto Ricans have helped make it happen but with little to no mention. Just ask many about Puerto Rico and they would be puzzled, know nothing about it or its political and social dilemma. A crafty speech would never imply or use the word colony (still in denial).

On Marc Anthony's presence  and the use of J.J. Barea  's name in the speech. Well, very nice, some would say it was a brilliant inclusion. It was just the right hook needed to capture the hearts of many. A little show, À la Hollywood, to gain some support.  J.J. Barea did Mr. President a favor, all within perfect timing.

Not leaving any stone unturned, Obama touched on the veteran. Those Puerto Ricans who have given of themselves so valiantly, yet, can't vote for any U.S. President, their Commander in Chief. Let's remember, even in Puerto Rico, they do come from all walks of life. Like in America, socio-economics play a role in entering military service. Not to say that there are not those who do it for their patriotism towards the U.S. but, as it stands, Puerto Ricans are sharply divided. There has been no measure of those in military service and their sentiments toward the political status of the island.

In the end, did he take a foothold of the Latino vote? Election time will answer that. As for Puerto Rico today, it's just another day in the colony. Much ado about nothing.


  1. I had to watch Telesur from Venezuela to see hundreds of Independentistas protesting Obama's visit, despite the immense security to keep them away. Not a word from Obama to oppose the gas pipeline. So disappointing.

  2. Indeed. For Obama to have even said anything about the pipeline would have made it seem as opposition of the current Governor and his administration. It would have been poor politics, of course. It was obvious that his only reason for being there was politically motivated, especially as it gets even closer to election time. Thank you kindly for visiting and commenting.