Archive for November 4th, 2005

Ferrer, Bloomberg, and the “Puerto Rican Card”

From the New York Times this morning: The Mayor Tries to Trump His Opponent’s Puerto Rican Card

Reaching into a core constituency of his opponent, Fernando Ferrer, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg attended an East Harlem rally of cheering Latino supporters yesterday and said that he had received the endorsement of Jorge Santini-Padilla, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Now, being a Puerto Rican New Yorker who is most definitely voting for Fernando Ferrer, this article really got on my nerves.

Let’s start with the title: “The Mayor Tries to Trump His Opponent’s Puerto Rican Card.” First off, can I just express my continued annoyance at the Card Phenomenon? In other words, the consistent use of phrases like “race card” and “Puerto Rican card” when discussing the attempts of politicians, be they white or people of color, to win the votes of people of color. When are we going to hear the mainstream media talking about the White Card that so many white candidates hold in their hands and play so easily? Oh, but wait, I forgot – white folks don’t have race. Race is what we talk about when we’re talking about people of color. Silly me.

Aside from the general annoyance of the phrase – how exactly does a white man trump a Puerto Rican man’s Puerto Rican Card? Has the support of some deluded Latino supporters and a few opportunistic Puerto Rican politicians suddenly transformed Bloomberg into a Boricua? Sorry, no.

And, let’s talk about these Puerto Rican politicians who have nothing better to do than to support a white man over a Puerto Rican man in the NYC mayoral elections. The NY Times article cites the mayor of San Juan, Jorge Santini-Padilla, and three nameless members of the P.R. House of Representatives as having endorsed Bloomberg.

Well, a bit of research on Santini-Padilla confirmed my immediate hunch – the man is a member of the Partido Nuevo Progesista (New Progressive Party) of Puerto Rico – the party that promotes and campaigns for full U.S. statehood for Puerto Rico. So to me, it’s no surprise that a man who is willing to sell out his people and his national identity by making our nation of Puerto Rico even more a possession of the United States, a man who is the mayor of one of the richer cities in a country with a poverty rate of 48.2%, would also be willing to shill for a white Republican mayor over a Puerto Rican Democrat who actually gives a damn about NYC’s Puerto Rican and poor people. Disappointing, yes, but not surprising in the least. Santini-Padilla may be Puerto Rican, but this Boricua could give a damn about what he thinks is best for the Puerto Rican people of NYC.

(As an aside, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, the governor of Puerto Rico who has endorsed Ferrer, is a member of the Partido Popular Democrático (Popular Democratic Party), which is not so good as to endorse independence, but at doesn’t want things to go beyond the current commonwealth status.)