The United States Department of Justice ruled out validating the statehood referendum yes or no

Washington D. C. – The government of Donald Trump ruled out validating the statehood referendum yes or no proposed by the government of Puerto Rico, reaffirming that it is not clear that the voters of the island have rejected the territorial status of the Commonwealth (ELA).

In a letter signed by the undersecretary, Jeffrey Rosen, dated Wednesday, the Department of Justice again put aside the position of the government of the New Progressive Party (PNP) that Puerto Rico rejected the current status and affirmed that validate in this At the moment a statehood referendum yes or no would be to support a specific alternative.

In the letter, first disclosed by jayfonseca.com, Federal Justice took advantage of the language of the plebiscite law that asked for a response by June 30, to warn that, anyway, it would not have enough time to evaluate and deliver the $ 2.5 million offered in a 2014 federal law if they were validated the ballot and the educational campaign for a status referendum on the Island.

He also highlighted his opposition to the language in Puerto Rican law that wants to imply that the referendum of November 3 will cause the immediate admission of Puerto Rico.

Undersecretary Rosen maintained that the Puerto Rican law is misleading when comparing the November referendum with consultations legislated by Congress to offer admission to Hawaii and Alaska as a state. In that sense, he said that “the references to Alaska and Hawaii … do not provide an accurate description of how the statehood process is likely to develop and therefore are likely to confuse the voter.”

“The United States remains committed to allowing the people of Puerto Rico to determine the future political status of the ‘Commonwealth’, but the Department must emphasize that a majority vote of yes in this plebiscite would not automatically or immediately lead to admission, ”said Undersecretary Rosen.

That is the second time in three years that the federal Justice Department rejects a plebiscite legislated by the PNP government.

“The Department notes, as it did in 2017, that ‘the validity of the 2012 plebiscite results have been subject to controversy and debate’ and that it is ‘uncertain’ whether the 2012 results reflect the ‘will of the people present’ ”, Indicated the letter of number two of federal Justice.

When El Nuevo Día contacted the president of the EEC, Juan Ernesto Dávila, in the middle of the afternoon, he said that he has been “focused on primary issues.” “I have not attended any type of correspondence ”, he added, although he was in search of the letter.

Undersecretary Rosen reminded the government of Puerto Rico that federal law requires that if the United States Department of Justice validates the ballot and the educational campaign, it would have to refer its evaluation to the appropriations committees of Congress and then wait 45 days to be able to disburse the $ 2.5 million.

For some reason, the law – signed by Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced last May 16 – wanted him to impose on the federal Justice Department until June 30 to evaluate the ballot and the CEE documents.

Still, Undersecretary Rosen said he received three-page sketches of the EEC’s nonpartisan educational campaign, but without other details. “That is in contrast to the 2017 presentation, which included specific examples of the content that was planned for the voter education campaign,” he added.

Both President Trump and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) have rejected statehood for Puerto Rico or Washington DC. The same day that Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced signed the plebiscite law, a White House official told El Nuevo Dia that “the first priority of all Puerto Rican leaders” should be to “put in order” the financial affairs of the Island government ”.

Reactions

Washington Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, who caucuses with Republicans, said the referendum will be held “because democracy for the people cannot wait for government agencies.”

Commissioner González maintained that the United States Department of Justice, in this four-year period, “plays non-disbursement so that we continue to slip into the colonial slump.”

Meanwhile, former Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, candidate of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) for resident commissioner in Washington, called on the EEC and the Fiscal Oversight Board (JSF) that controls the financial decisions of the elected government of the island to specify if they are going to validate “a waste of funds”.

Acevedo Vilá added that Commissioner González, who supports Trump’s reelection, “cannot even convince members of his Republican Party to approve an electoral simulation.”

May warning

On May 18, The new day He announced that the United States Department of Justice – in a report to Congress dated April – warned that it was going to take “enough time” to assess whether a forthcoming referendum on the political future of Puerto Rico meets constitutional, legal norms. and of public policy of the federal government.

But, he made warnings that ruled out disbursing before June 30, as the Island government wanted, the $ 2.5 million that a 2014 federal law authorizes to assign to a status referendum in Puerto Rico that has the approval of the Justice Department of U.S.

Responding to a request for information from the Congressional Appropriations committees, the federal Justice Department made extensive reference to the letter sent to the PNP government in April 2017, in which it concluded that “any plebiscite that seeks to ‘resolve the political status future of Puerto Rico ‘must include the current territorial status as an option. “

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