Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Puerto Rico questions US ties

While I question the BBC's shoddy reporting.

Let's start at the beginning.

Puerto Rico was invaded by the United States in 1898 and has remained a US territory ever since.

Now why do you suppose the US did that? One things for sure, you won't find out in this BBC article. But here's why.

1898 - Under the Treaty of Paris, Puerto Rico is ceded by the Spanish to the US at the end of the Spanish-American War.

Ok fine. But why has it remained so all these years after the invasion? Again, you won't find out from this BBC article. But if you look closely at the webpage and bother to follow some of the links on the right, you'll find this timeline. The timeline shows Puerto Ricans have always voted to remain a US commonwealth. Imagine that, the US allowing the Puerto Ricans to decide.

But could things be changing as the BBC want you to believe?

But some islanders are now demanding independence, others want Puerto Rico to become a US state - still others believe it should remain a US colony.

But that's always been the case. Like everything else in this shoddy piece, if there are some numbers to back up what the BBC is saying, the BBC isn't telling us.

So what's this all about? Why is the BBC bringing this up? Here's why.

Cuba's leader Fidel Castro has long argued for Puerto Rico to be given its independence.

Well gee, that got the Beeb's attention didn't it?

Now how to make hay out of the situation?

The Cuban team was banned from talking politics but still Pedro Cabrerra, the Cuban team's spokesman, cannot resist a dig at his hosts:

"The politics that are being applied is the politics of the powerful against the poor," he says.

It's the kind of rhetoric associated with Castro's Cuba - but even here it strikes a chord.

Really? With how many? And why do they keep voting to remain a commonwealth? And why the calls for US statehood? The BBC does not tell us.

The Beeb go on to give some radio host a lot of air time about loving Castro and then comes back to this - just in case you missed it the first time.

Out in demonstrations on the streets, some Puerto Ricans are already demanding full independence.

In part they're inspired by Castro's revolutionary fervour - he, too, has called for an end to American occupation.

Again, how many we are not told and the Beeb ignores the fact that the Puerto Ricans have voted everytime to remain a commonwealth. Some occupation, eh?

The BBC then go on to paint a picture of injustice being done to Puerto Rico. What the BBC want you to forget is a commonwealth comes with some rights and some restrictions. A commonwealth they keep voting to keep.

Now the BBC try to close the deal with "True Injustice".

"When you see behind us over 2,000 names of Puerto Ricans who served in the US armed forces and were the only members of the armed forces that were not allowed to vote for the commander-in-chief and served in wars that were declared by a congress at which we don't have representation.

"Here's where you can actually see the true injustice."

There's just one problem with all this - the US military is an all volunteer force. Those Puerto Ricans who died serving in the US military after the draft ended in 1973 volunteered to fight in America's armed forces.

Even when there was a draft during the Vietnam war, Puerto Ricans voted overwhelmingly to remain a US commonwealth.

1967 - Referendum on island's political status: 60% of voters back continued commonwealth status.

The BBC concludes...

Yet Puerto Rico is now questioning its ties with the United States. Is America prepared to allow a Latino island to become the 51st state, or even let Puerto Rico go its own way?

Where in this story did the BBC show us that the entire nation of Puerto Rico is "now questioning its ties with the United States"?

They didn't. In fact, this same BBC, masquerading as a news organization, told us just 3 months ago that "Opinion polls suggest there is little support for independence." And that "Only 3% of islanders voted in favour of independence in a referendum in 1999."

So what do the Puerto Ricans want? Continuing from the Dec BBC article we learn..

However, islanders are split over whether to keep their current status or become a US state.

In other words, Puerto Ricans want to either remain a US commonwealth and retain their US citizenship or become the 51st American state.

Does that sound to you like Puerto Ricans are questioning their US ties?

If Puerto Rico wants to become a US state, I'm happy with that. If they want to remain a commonwealth, I'm ok with that too.

What I'm not ok with is the crap we have to pay the BBC for.

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