A front-page of the Miami Herald last week told of the impending mass migration of U.S. citizens from Puerto Rico into Florida. As of Friday, the number of Puerto Ricans who have arrived in Florida stands at 36,000.
I am not very politically savvy, but that could mean we are 90 days away from the Florida Legislature going from Republican to Democratic for a long, long time.
And that’s because Puerto Ricans will vote — and they will likely vote most Republicans out of office.
This has the makings of a cataclysmic event. Puerto Ricans are spending $200 on a one-way ticket from San Juan to the mainland.
Unfortunately, this tragedy in Puerto Rico can push swing states into a solid party line, overwhelm already stretched public school budgets and eat up welfare and social safety net budgets.
There is no doubt that the island is in desperate need of congressional members with brains and guts to actually call out what is really going on in Puerto Rico. Over 20 years of poor leadership has left Puerto Rico bankrupt and in a position where Congress will soon be forced to step in.
I wouldn’t dare dictate what our elected representatives should do next. But they need to be on the ground in Puerto Rico seeing the devastation first hand.This is beyond partisan politics. We are dealing with the lives of 3.4 million U.S. citizens.
The truth is that there are only two options left for Puerto Rico: statehood or independence, anything else will be another political bandaid and sadly the continuation of another ineffective political meddling which we have all grown to expect
And the decision ultimately falls on Congress to make.
With any promise of statehood, there must come an economic package in the billions to rebuild the island, bring back businesses such as pharma and technology. This will help put into focus a vision for the future of Puerto Rico.
If we don’t provide this vision for Puerto Ricans, the Republican Party can only blame itself for losing Florida.
Michael “Mike” B. Fernandez,