I’d like to introduce the audience here to a vocal statehood for Puerto Rico activist. Maria de Lourdes “Marilou” Rivera Ramos is an artist and a blogger who regularly posts news regarding Puerto Rico and its political status (as well as politics in general) in her blog website, Estrella 51 (meaning Star 51), which advocates for Puerto Rico to become the 51st state of the United States of America. She is also a political conservative and is affiliated with both the New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico and the United States Republican Party. Estrella 51 is a Spanish-language blog that focuses on political news regarding PR’s status, as well as the differences between free-market democracies and countries with Communist/socialist governments and how they function on the political arena. Ms. Rivera Ramos writes her posts using humor and, at times, sarcasm, in order to inform readers on how ridiculous and hypocritical opponents of statehood, as well as adversaries of the United States, the West and free-market capitalism, are and how those anti-democratic forces behave in general. In her blog posts, Ms. Rivera Ramos mixes in some English-language phrases in her blog posts for humor, including her favorite catchphrase, “Such is Life”, which she states at the end of each blog post. The link to the Estrella 51 blog website is here: http://estrella51.blogspot.com/.
One of Ms. Rivera Ramos’ featured blog post on Estrella 51 focuses on the cases of two very different Puerto Rican political figures: Victor Fajardo (not to be confused with the city of Fajardo in Puerto Rico) and Oscar Lopez. Both men have different opinions regarding the political status of Puerto Rico (Mr. Fajardo supports statehood for the island, while Mr. Lopez wishes for the island to secede from the United States). Both men have been accused of committing different crimes in separate cases. Mr. Fajardo was Puerto Rico’s Secretary of Education from 1996 to 2001 (under the administration of then-Governor Pedro Rossello), while Mr. Lopez was a notorious militant who was a member of the far-left, anti-American, pro-secessionist, pro-Communist totalitarian, Marxist-Leninist terrorist group Armed Forces for National Liberation (FALN). While Mr. Fajardo was accused of alleged public money misusage in regards to funding his party (the NPP) and its agenda, Mr. Lopez and his FALN comrades were responsible for around 130+ bombings in the U.S. mainland (mainly in cities like New York and Chicago) between 1974 (when the FALN first formed) and 1983 (when the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] apprehended most of the FALN key members) one of the most notorious of those bombings took place on January 24, 1975 in the Fraunces Tavern restaurant in Lower Manhattan in New York City around lunch time. The bombing resulted in four deaths and around 60 wounded. one of the four people who died was a man named Frank Connor, who was the father of Tea Party activist Joseph Connor. Since the Fraunces Tavern attack, the younger Mr. Connor has been campaigning to win justice for his father. However, in 1999, Mr. Connor and other relatives of the FALN victims faced a humiliating defeat when then-Deputy Attorney General (and now Attorney General) Eric Holder and U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) (the latter is a rabid opponent of statehood for Puerto Rico. Mr. Gutierrez is a radical left-wing politician who supports either independence, free association or the impossible “enhanced commonwealth” status option for Puerto Rico, while advocating for complete amnesty and U.S. citizenship for all undocumented [or illegal-depending on your preference] immigrants in the United States) encouraged then-President Bill Clinton to grant clemency to the unrepentant FALN militants. The move was opposed by the FALN victims’ families, the FBI and various law enforcement agencies, many politicians and the American public in general. The sad part of the clemency was that the terrorists were given 30 days to discuss with each other (via phone calls between prisons) whether they would accept the clemency. In the end, most of the FALN militants accepted clemency and walked out of prison. Ten years later, Mr. Connor testified in the Senate against the conformation of Eric Holder as Attorney General, only to see him confirmed. In early 2011, Mr. Connor and the other relatives of the victims travelled to Terre Haute, Indiana (that’s where the prison that Mr. Lopez lives in is located) to confront the terrorist. Mr. Lopez was (and still is) trying to get parole from the government after having turned down the 1999 clemency offer that his other comrades accepted. The victims’ families tried to get the militant to apologize to them and to the American public for his crimes, but he refused. In the end, the Parole Board refused to grant Mr. Lopez parole and said that he must remain in prison for another 12 years, until 2023. To this day, Mr. Lopez has been trying to get released from prison, while remaining unrepentant about his past. There has been some misguided protests demanding that he get released from prison. Earlier this year, the illegitimate “governor” of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Garcia Padilla (who is the head of the Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico), has met with Mr. Holder to discuss the November plebiscite, as well as the Lopez case (Mr. Garcia Padilla supports having Mr. Lopez released from prison.
Ms. Rivera Ramos’ blog post (the link is here: http://estrella51.blogspot.com/2013/09/victor-fajardo-oscar-lopez-rivera-y-el.html) exposes the hypocrisy and bias that the media in Puerto Rico, particularly El Nuevo Dia newspaper, have regarding the cases of Mr. Fajardo and Mr. Lopez. The blogger notes that El Nuevo Dia falsely classifies Oscar Lopez as a “political prisoner” (thus repeating the left’s line about how the federal government deals with militants who want to destroy American society), while calling Mr. Fajardo’s alleged misdeeds, as well as his release from prison “a hard slap to the island”. This is the same newspaper that parrots the PDP’s propaganda line regarding blank ballots in the November status plebiscite. I mentioned that the plebiscite had two questions, that 54% of those who answered the first question voted no to continuing Puerto Rico’s current territory status, and that 61% of those who answered the second question voted for statehood. I also mentioned that more voters picked statehood than any other status option, including the current status. However, despite the fact that the plebiscite results are accurate, the PDP and other opponents of statehood continue to insist that statehood did not prevail in the plebiscite because “almost 500,000 voters left the second question blank”. They argue that because of this ridiculous theory, statehood got 45% of the vote, rather than 61%. While it is true that many voters did leave the second question blank, the argument that blank ballots should count as votes falls flat, because blank ballots contradict Puerto Rico electoral law, as well as federal law and many state laws. In any election, votes are made by ballots properly marked. A blank ballot is entitled to no weight at all. Not voting is simply an empty act. Despite this basic logical fact, the PDP and some newspapers like El Nuevo Dia continue to insist in the ridiculous theory despite the fact that it has been disproven long ago. Besides the cases of Mr. Fajardo and Mr. Lopez, as well as the plebiscite results, Ms. Rivera Ramos exposes leftist hypocrisy on many other political cases in general. Overall, Estrella 51 is regarded by many as one of the main authoritative blog sources for news regarding politics in Puerto Rico, the rest of the USA and the world in general. In future blog posts on Borinqueneer Blog, I will provide links to her website, as well as describe her posts in igreater detail.