06 November 2012

Rocking the vote in Puerto Rico

Oh my poor little blog... completely neglected and abandoned, I ignored you when you needed me most! After my summer of globetrotting, you would think that I would have been extremely motivated to write and share my experiences. However, unsure of where to start, I procrastinated. And then I came back to Puerto Rico and the semester started and things got hectic, way more than last year! However, I decided that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to write about about the elections here in Puerto Rico. I hope to keep writing consistently from now on!

Puerto Rico not only votes today for their Governor and other elected officials, but also in a referendum or plebiscite to vote on the political status of the island, which hasn't been done in several years. As a result, this is a very important election!

The political system here in Puerto Rico works different than in the United States. First, although Puerto Ricans are US citizens, have US passports, pay taxes, etc., they are not allowed to vote for president. The political parties are also structured very differently:

These are the political parties: In the upper lefthand corner is the Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP), which is in favor of becoming the 51st state of the USA. The current governor, Luis Fortuño, is a member of this party.

In the upper righthand corner is the Partido Popular Democrático (PPD), which is in favor of maintaing Puerto Rico's status as a territory.

The next party is the Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño (PIP), which is in favor of independence, followed by the Partido Puertorriqueños por Puerto Rico (PPR), which is in favor of leaving the political status of Puerto Rico aside and instead focusing on social, economic, and environmental issues that affect the island.

Finally, there's the Movimiento Unión Soberanista (MUS) is a new party in favor of a sovereign Puerto Rico, in other words to stay a territory but to give the Island more sovereignty. Another new party, the Partido del Pueblo Trabajador (PPT), is in favor of the well-being "working people". 

The PNP and PPD are generally two biggest parties. In each party, there are politicians on both sides of the political spectrum in terms of political, social, economic, and environmental issues.

As the elections grew closer, huge groups of people from different parties travel throughout the island, blasting music and political slogans from huge speakers mounted on top of cars, people with flags from all parties driving all around honking, causing massive traffic and confusion all of the island!

Here are some pictures of the past few weeks via Instagram:

The PPD outside my apartment in Río Piedras
"Dominicans with Santini"- Santini (PNP) is the mayor of San Juan in Santurce
PPD Caravana Política in Santurce

Ads to vote NO to the current status and pro-Independence during the plebiscite, Río Piedras

The Movimiento Socialista de los Trabajadores (Worker's Socialist Movement) organization saying "Who ever wins, the people lose: Don't vote!" in Río Piedras

Another add saying "Le'ts ask for it", referring to Statehood and becoming the 51st State in Santurce

PNP cars, with Unitedstatesan flags and everything in Hato Rey

PPD outside the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras

The Plebiscite!

Ballot for Governor
The Pro-Independence Party's (PIP) flag down the street, Río Piedras
PNP supporters going crazy in the street with palm tree leaves and flags on top of a bus stop, Carolina
"Say No to the Colony, Vote No November 6th" and the white pice of paper says "The politicians want to clean PR (by) dirtying the walls",  Santurce
Juan Dalmau, the PIP candidate, Río Piedras
Signs for the PPT, Río Piedras
Election time is definitely an interesting time to be in Puerto Rico, we'll see what happens! I'll be posting more soon about my trip to Ghana, Morocco, Spain, Philadelphia, as well as announcing the winner of the postcard contest! It's not too late to comment on the previous post and get a chance to win postcards from my summer trip!


  1. I really enjoy your perspective on all things PR. I hope you found election time more fun than irritating! Caravans can be quite annoying after all.

    1. Haha it was definitely entertaining, much more so in the United States! I was very excited to vote here yesterday :)

  2. So who did you friends support, was there one party/viewpoint mainly or was it varied?

    1. I think because I'm studying at the University of PR, most of my friends are very pro-independence, however this is not the norm in PR. Outside of the university, a lot of people tend to be more mixed. Lately, from all parties there was a lot of discontent with the current government, therefore many people voted against the current one even if they are in favor of statehood. It's quite interesting and complicated!

      PS sorry I'm so bad at answering my blog lately!!

  3. Hello Ashley got a question for ya.Do expatriates gringos vote inPR elections or they don't care at all?

    1. Hello Reinaldo! Personally I have not met many other expatriates from the United States living in Puerto Rico. However, out of the few I know it is kind of mixed. Some of the ones I know are not registered to vote in PR, they continue to vote in the United States. Out of the ones I know who actually do vote in PR, they tend to care a lot about the elections and the ones I know tend to be pro-independence. I hope this answers your question!