Dear Rick Santorum: English Has Been the Official Language of Puerto Rico For 110 Years

By Gary P Jackson

While campaigning in Puerto Rico Rick Santorum showed once again that he is simply too dumb to be president. Not only does Santorum [falsely] think that in order to become a state, English must be the primary language, he doesn’t know that English IS the official language of Puerto Rico, and has been since 1902.

[emphasis mine]

(CBS News) SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Campaigning on this island U.S. territory Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum spoke out in favor of statehood for Puerto Rico but said he also favored requiring it to adopt English as its official language. Puerto Ricans generally speak both Spanish and English.

Throughout the day, the former Pennsylvania senator was asked repeatedly about his position on the territory becoming the 51st state.

I would support the people of Puerto Rico if they make the decisive decision to move forward with that, I would support it,” he told a group of about 50 people at a town hall meeting. “But that’s a decision the people of Puerto Rico have to make and so far they’ve chosen not to make it. And so talk to your friends, and see if you can work that out.

Later, discussing the issue with reporters, Santorum declined to say specifically how high the percentage rate of approval would have to be in his view, but indicated that the bar would be high. “It can’t be 50 percent plus one,” he said. “It has to be a strong voice.

The issue has long divided the people of Puerto Rico, which has been a U.S. territory since 1898. In the most recent plebiscite, held in 1998, 47 percent of people supported statehood, but a slight majority, 50.3 percent, rejected all options, including statehood, independence or continuation of commonwealth status.

While Santorum said it was not the role of the president to advocate for Puerto Rico’s statehood, he said, “To me, it doesn’t make any sense to be in America and not want to be a state and have full rights as a United States citizen.

Speaking with the local newspaper El Vocero, Santorum said English would have to be the official language of the state, but seemed to suggest, incorrectly, that English was a federal requirement of statehood. “Like any other state, there has to be compliance with this and any other federal law,” Santorum told the newspaper, according to the Reuters news agency. “There are other states with more than one language, such as Hawaii, but to be a state of the United States, English has to be the principal language,” he said.

Puerto Ricans, who recognize both English and Spanish as their official languages, are scheduled to vote in November on a referendum to decide whether they want to pursue statehood or remain a self-governing U.S. commonwealth, Reuters reports. However, the U.S. Constitution does not designate an official language, nor is there a requirement that a territory adopt English as its primary language in order to become a state, the news agency said.

Emphasizing his interest in Puerto Rican issues, Santorum joked that he was called “Senador Puertorriqueno” when he served in Congress because he looked after some of the territory’s issues, including efforts to equalize Medicare reimbursement rates and secure relief funds after Hurricane George.

They used to make fun of me, ‘Why are you representing Puerto Rico?‘” he told reporters of his former Senate colleagues. “Well, someone has to because they don’t have a voice. … I felt a responsibility to the island.

He developed a working relationship with Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuno, who was then serving as the resident commissioner for the Island in Washington, D.C. However, Fortuno has endorsed front-runner Mitt Romney.

Asked about how that endorsement would affect his chances, Santorum lumped Fortuno in with the Republican establishment figures who are backing Romney.

The establishment across America has lined up behind Governor Romney very early on and I certainly respect that,” Santorum said, adding, “He looked like the odds on favorite at the beginning of the campaign. We tend to do that as Republicans, sort of take the person next in line. But what I think we’ve found is that Governor Romney is uniquely disqualified in making some of the most important arguments that we need to make in this country with respect to the rule of government in our lives.”

Between the blatant pandering, and whining, it’s clear that Santorum doesn’t have the maturity to be president.

Puerto Ricans have routinely voted down the idea of statehood for various reasons. There was a push in 2010 by democrats in Congress and socialists in Puerto Rico, but it went nowhere. There’s good reason for that. As a territory, the citizens of Puerto Rico enjoy the protection of the United States but pay no taxes. Why would they want to become the 51st state?

Back to the idea of English as the “official language” as a requirement for statehood. Nowhere in the Constitution is that some sort of requirement. The Constitution is a rather simple and straightforward document. You’d think someone wanting to be president would be somewhat familiar with it. Especially someone who has already served in Congress.

After reading the above article, which states Puerto Ricans already regard both English and Spanish as their official languages, I decided to do a bit of investigating of my own.

After looking at The History of Puerto Rico I found:

1902

The Official Languages Act (under the Foraker Act) was instituted which declared that in all insular governmental departments, courts, and public offices, English was to be regarded as co-official with Spanish, and when necessary, translations and interpretations from one language to the other would be made so that all parties could understand the proceedings.

1917

President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones Act. With this law:

1.Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States (“organized but unincorporated,”)

2.A bill of rights was created.

3.Separated the three governmental powers into: the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

4.United States granted Puerto Ricans U.S. statutory citizenship, which means that Puerto Ricans were granted citizenship by act of Congress, not by the Constitution and citizenship is therefore not guaranteed by it. (The Puerto Rican citizenship ceased, it was not until 1927 that it was reestablished for residency purposes only.)
As citizens, they were now allowed to join the army, only 300 rejected the citizenship and many others refused to join the army. During World War I, over 18,000 Puerto Ricans served.

5.Established that elections were to be celebrated every four years.

6.English is decreed the official language of Puerto Rico.

As we see, for at least 110 years, by the virtue of not one, but two different Acts of Congress, English has been the co-official language, along with Spanish, of Puerto Rico.

Now look, we don’t expect our presidents or our congresscritters to be history experts, but one would think if someone is going to wade into an issue like this, they would know some basic facts. Santorum brags how he “took care” of the Puerto Ricans when he was in Congress, but doesn’t know much about the territory or it’s history.

In this time of peril, we need serious leaders. Rick Santorum is not a serious leader. He is the typical Washington politician who only knows how to pander and use tax dollars to buy votes. We got enough of those cats in Washington now. We don’t need to send one more dumb, inexperienced, Big Government failure to the party.

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6 Comments

Filed under In The News, Politics

6 responses to “Dear Rick Santorum: English Has Been the Official Language of Puerto Rico For 110 Years

  1. fred g.

    Your as bad as MSNBC plastering on their screen “Speak English if you want to be a state”. It wasn’t exactly said like that. He didn’t know, and I
    guarantee many people in high places if asked would think Puerto Rico
    was an official Spanish speaking country. Desperate to bring down Santorum is what it seems. Start running your old anti-Romney stuff again
    or is he now good enough.

    • Gary P

      So reporting the truth about a candidate is somehow bad? Grown up.

      Look, Santorum is a corrupt extremist who has ZERO chance of ever being president. Better to weed him out now than to nominate him and watch him lose all 57 states to Obama.

      Mitt Romney certainly isn’t “good enough” but he’s much, much better than Santorum.

  2. Donna

    You did the right thing reporting the truth. I always thought PR was only all Spanish, too. A friend of mine just told me they do have English language as 2nd language. But you didn’t have to bad mouth Rick about it. Many people didn’t know that. Even some of my family members didn’t know it!!

    My vote will still go to Rick Santorum!!!

    • Gary P

      I can understand most folks not knowing English has been Puerto Rico’s official language since 1902, but this sanctimonious clown wants to be president. That is never going to happen.

  3. fred g.

    The word corrupt is being thrown around to loosely. Romney spent 20 years being a liberal and many have embraced his reconfigured conservatism.

    • Gary P

      That doesn’t make Romney corrupt. It just means he may have matured. Remember, Ronald Reagan spent much of his life as a democrat. I know Romney is no Ronald Reagan, but people do mature and realize liberalism is wrong. Some take longer than others.

      Santorum, on the other hand, is actually corrupt. He was a kingpin in the very corrupt K-Street Project, along with Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay. DeLay went to prison over it. Newt and Santorum should have went with him.

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