While we were in Vieques the local and state elections were taking place. Puerto Ricans it turns out are very passionate about their politics with voter turnout that would be the envy of most democracies. The passion was equally displayed on Vieques.
Trucks with blaring political messages blasting through loudspeakers were in full force leading up to the election. Political signs with the smiling faces of various local and state politicians were proudly plastered everywhere. On the evening of Election Day we were too tired of our renovation chores so we decided to eat in instead of going out. I headed into Isabel to pick up some pizza at Williams. As I headed into the plaza I came upon a road block and I could see a large crowd waving signs gathered in front of the municipal offices. I assumed these were supporters of the encumbent mayor as I navigated the detour around town.
As I pulled into a spot in front of William Pizza I noticed a very large line of people waiting to order. It seemed the whole island was out for the election. Stumped as to where I could get some quick takeout I remembered Costa Rica talking about Chicken King which was located right across from Nales. Off to Chicken King it was. As I headed out of Isabel I drove through a very large crowd of political supporters gathered in a parking lot and along both sides of the road. They were waving red and white signs. I am not certain but my guess is these were supporters for the mayoral challenger.
The results of the election indicated a large scale change throughout Puerto Rico. First off they chose Statehood as a desired relationship to the U.S. but the locals have assured me that I shouldn’t read too much into this because it was a trick question….hmmmm. Not certain as to what I think of this. Secondly, the incumbent governor who’s party endorsed statehood lost to a challenger who preferred the current commonwealth status. The current mayor lost to the challenger as well. Generally it seems there was a shift to the left throughout Puerto Rico.
Let’s hope the newly elected officials have some success solving the fiscal imbalance and high unemployment levels that are plaguing the island.