Puerto Rico’s lesson in bogus election results
November 12th, 2012
One of the interesting results of last weeks elections that I heard mostly secondarily was that Puerto Rico had voted to support a move to statehood.
Now, I would like to see Puerto Rico resolve it’s status and I think that statehood is one possibility. It would be difficult for both Puerto Ricans and non-Puerto Ricans for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that this is a nation with a distinct ethnic identity and different language, but it could be accomplished. We have managed the inclusion of a Polynesian kingdom, a religious homeland, a couple republics, and a sparsely populated block of ice; so I’m certain we could find a way to incorporate an island nation in the Caribbean.
I suspect this move would likely skew polling on gay equality negatively and would increase religious adherence statistics. But it would definitely benefit gay Puerto Ricans. And, as a bonus, it would resolve Anita and Rosalia’s musical debate.
But I have long become accustomed to Puerto Rico voting on their future without any clear consensus as to which direction to move in, and I was surprised to hear that over 60% voted for statehood.
And it turns out that they didn’t.
Instead they participated in a political game, an exercise in silliness designed to give advocates of statehood a talking point that had no reflection on reality. (ABC)
The territory question had two parts. The first part asked voters if they favored their current status as a U.S. territory. About 54 percent of voters said no, that they were not happy with the status quo.
From there, everyone could answer a second question that gave three options: statehood, sovereign free association or independence. Sovereign free association is not the same as the current status.
Only about 1.3 million voters answered the second question. Of those, 61 percent chose statehood, 33 percent chose the semi-autonomous choice and 6 percent chose independence, according to the AP. Nearly 500,000 people left the question blank. The population of Puerto Rico is nearly 4 million people.
To give some (very round and extrapolated) numbers:
Roughly 1,800,000 people voted. About 828,000 people like it the way it is. Of those, about 500,000 didn’t answer the second question. Some 328,000 did, listing their second choice.
Around 793,000 chose statehood as either their first or second choice. This is less than half of those voting on the issue of status.
In other words, about 44% of voters selected statehood as their first or second choice, 28% selected some other option as their first or second choice, and 28% selected the status quo as their only choice.
Ultimately the powers that be will decide what they want to do and use whatever means they choose to justify it. But when they tell you that the Puerto Rican people voted by two-thirds in favor of statehood, you can know that you are being snowed.
Anti-Gay Pol Resigns Over “Losing Weight”
August 29th, 2011
Puerto Rican Senator Roberto Arango resigned this weekend after nude photos of him were found on the gay smartphone hook-up app Grindr. Arango had voted for Resolution 99, which would have blocked same-sex marriages, and he helped to block a measure banning discrimination and allowing for adoption rights for gays. In 2004. Arango served as the committee chairman for Puerto Rico for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, and played leadership roles for the Republican Party in Puerto Rico. Arango neither confirmed nor denied the photos were his, but said that he had taken a few photos of himself because he had been “losing weight.”
Anti-Gay Puerto Rican Legislator Caught On Grindr
August 26th, 2011
Puerto Rico Senator Roberto Arango was spotted posting photos (NSFW) on the gay hook-up smartphone app Grindr. What makes this noteworthy is the anti-gay positions he’s taken over the years. According to a tip at Joe.My.God:
In 2009 he voted in favor of Resolution 99 which would have amended Puerto Rico’s constitution to ban the recognition of same-sex marriages (it didn’t pass). He has been opposed to civil union bills and in 2004 he used a rubber duck and made it quack to make fun of an opponent (in Puerto Rico, the word for duck, “pato”, means faggot.)
Arango was identified partly by the pendant that he was wearing while taking the photo. Another photo allegedly downloaded from Grindr has him wearing a shirt and showing his face. And then, of course, there’s this one (NSFW). The photos were aired last Friday on the Puerto Rican TV show Dando Candela.
Arango, who served as Puerto Rico chair for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign in 2004, neither confirmed nor denied taking the photograph. He told Dando Candela:
You know I’ve been losing weight. As I shed that weight, I’ve been taking pictures. I don’t remember taking this particular picture but I’m not gonna say I didn’t take it. I’d tell you if I remembered taking the picture but I don’t.
Is “losing weight” destined to become another euphemism?
Puerto Rico Police Arrest Suspect In Gruesome Murder
November 17th, 2009
Last last week, the brutally butchered body of nineteen-year-old Jorge Steven López was found by the side of a road near Cayey, Puerto Rico, just a few miles from his home in Caguas. Police have now arrested a suspect in the case.
On Nov 13, López’s body was found partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered. According to reports, both arms and both legs were cut from his torso. The gruesome murder sent shock waves throughout Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican community in New York.
Initial reports held out little hope that a proper investigation would be conducted. One investigator, Ángel Rodríguez Colón, told a Univision reporter, “Este tipo de personas cuando se meten a esto y salen a la calle saben que esto les puede pasar. (This type of person, when he does things like this and go out on the street knows that this can happen to him.)” Puerto Rican LGBT activist Pedro Julio Serrano denounced the investigator and called for disciplinary action.
Early today, police arrested a twenty-sixeight year old male in connection with the case and seized two vehicles as evidence. So far, his name has not been released. (See update below.) Primera Hora reportsthat the man came under suspicion after police question López’s friends in Caguas, who reported that the suspect offered López money in exchange for sex.
Regional police director Hector Agosto saidthat police are investigation whether López’s murder was motivated by anti-gay hatred. “This was a ruthless crime,” said Agosto. “Whoever did this just wanted to make the person disappear.” But he cautioned that the investigation has just begun and police were investigating several possible motives.
LGBT advocates have urged officials to investigate under the recently passed U.S. federal statues protecting LGBT people against hate crimes. Harry Rodriguez of the FBI said they are monitoring the case and will provide any assistance needed in accordance with the hate crimes statute.
Update: Local media are now identifying the suspect as 26-year-old Juan Antonio Martínez Matos, who is running the gay/trans panic defense. Martínez is reported to claim that he was in the area looking to pick up a woman. He first thought López was a women but discovered that he was a man. He also claimed that López demanded money. Police investigators found a wig, a burned mattress, burned PVC pipe, a knife and blood stains on the wall of the courtyard of the suspect’s apartment. Investigator José J. Bermúdez is quoted as saying that he has no doubt that López’s murder can be prosecuted as a hate crime.