Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico

Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico

party_name = Popular Democratic Party
party_articletitle = Republican Party (United States)
chairman = Anibal Acevedo Vila
senateleader = José Luis Dalmau
houseleader = Héctor Ferrer
foundation = June 22, 1938
colors = Red and White
ideology = Social Democracy, Commonwealth, Free Association
fiscalpolicy =
socialpolicy =
international = United States Democratic Party
headquarters = Puerta de Tierra, San Juan, Puerto Rico
HRseats = 18 seats
SENseats = 9 seats
website = http://www.ppdpr.net
footnotes =
The Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico (PDP) (Spanish: "Partido Popular Democrático de Puerto Rico", PPD) is a political party that supports the recognition of Puerto Rico's right to self-determination and sovereignty, through the augmentation of Puerto Rico's current status as a commonwealth. Puerto Rico, despite the Spanish translation of the term "commonwealth", is not a "free associated state" of the United States with a Compact of Free Association (which is the case for the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands).

The PDP is one of three historically-registered parties in Puerto Rico, along with the New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico (NPP), which favors statehood, and the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), which favors complete independence. The governor of Puerto Rico, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, is from the PDP, but the NPP holds both the Puerto Rican House of Representatives and Senate, while the PIP has representation in the former and latter legislative bodies.

Those who follow the PPD ideology are commonly called "populares".



Dissidents expelled from the Liberal Party (then led by Antonio R. Barcelo), founded the PPD in 1937-1938. Many of them were part of the old socialist movement of Puerto Rico. The dissident faction, initially calling themselves the "Partido Liberal, Neto, Auténtico y Completo" ("Clear, Authentic and Complete Liberal Party"), was led by Luis Muñoz Marín. In 1937, the debate centred around the more moderate demands of autonomy leading to gradual independence by the Liberal Party faction led by Barcelo, and the more radical demands of immediate independence and social reform by Muñoz and his followers.Fact|date=June 2007

Muñoz and other "populares" legally incorporated the PDP in 1938. He intended to call the party "Partido Social Democrático", but he was strongly advised not to use the word "social" in the name, as to not alienate Puerto Ricans who feared socialism as a political or economic philosophy. Appealing to the masses (and some say taking a hint from the name of Puerto Rico's most solid institution at the time, the Banco Popular de Puerto Rico), he substituted "Social" for "Popular". He inscribed the party in two towns, San Lorenzo and Culebra. Reportedly the party's first inscribed voter was a San Lorenzo resident which was 120 years old at the time.Fact|date=June 2007


The highest political office a Puerto Rican could be elected to in 1940 was that of president of the local Senate. The governor of Puerto Rico was named directly by the president of the United States (some say as a personal favor to the acting president's political supporters), and as such, no locals were named to the post until 1946. In the 1940 election the PDP finished in a dead heat with the Liberal Party; Muñoz then brokered an alliance with minor Puerto Rican factions as to secure his position as Senate president. Later elections in 1944 and 1948 resulted in increasing victory margins for the PDP; at a time almost all legislative posts and mayoral races in Puerto Rico were won by PDP candidates.Fact|date=June 2007

Once Jesus T. Piñero stepped down as the first Puerto Rican named governor, the governor's office became an elected position. In 1949, under the leadership of Luis Muñoz Marín, the PPD won the first gubernatorial elections in Puerto Rico, and Muñoz became first elected governor of the island. He then initiated the longest continuous rule by a governor in Puerto Rican history (four 4-year terms, for a total of 16 years), only surpassed by one of the former governors under Spanish rule, Miguel de la Torre.Fact|date=June 2007


During the 1950s, Luis Muñoz Marín remained as Puerto Rican governor. In 1952 he assumed the responsibility of pushing forward P.R.'s constitution's creation. On July 25, 1952 the constitution was established. He also pushed his political platform called "Operation Bootstrap" "(Operación Manos a la Obra)" in which he transformed Puerto Rico's economy in to an industrial economy. Teodoro Moscoso was in charge of the project.


In 1964, PDP candidate Roberto Sánchez Vilella had become the second governor to be democratically elected in Puerto Rico. The party remained in power until 1968, when Luis A. Ferré, of the then newly found New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico (PNP), won the elections due to the PDP's big division of 1968. This Division happened because the PDP's founder, Luis Muñoz Marín, had personal and irreconcilable differences with then current governor, Roberto Sánchez Vilella. Luis Muñoz Marín opposed Sánchez Vilella's attempt to run for reelection and at a party assembly he nominated his new candidate for governor Luis Negrón López. This caused a deep division in the PDP causing Sánchez Vilella to create a new party called "Partido del Pueblo" (Peoples Party), whose motto said "let the people decide" "(que el pueblo decida)", this motto was obviously directed towards Luis Muñoz Marín who denied Sánchez Vilella a primary. Sánchez Vilella ran under his new party and Negrón López under the PDP this caused the PDP's votes to split, thus giving Luis A. Ferré of the NPP (New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico) the win and the PDP's first defeat in a general election. Fact|date=June 2007


In 1972 the PDP had renovated it self and had a young and fresh leader in former senate president Rafael Hernández Colón. After 1968's electoral defeat Muñoz Marín felt so guilty and responsible for his party's loss that he decided to exile in Italy to stay away from local politics and let the party renovate. Muñoz Marín returned to Puerto Rico only to present the new leader of the party and new candidate for governor Rafel Hernández Colón in front of 300,000 persons in Hato Rey at a party meeting. In the 1972 general election Hernández Colón defeated Ferré by a wide margin and his party won in all but 4 municipalities. However, this was a briefly lived victory for the party, because in 1976, NPP candidate and then San Juan mayor, Carlos Romero Barceló, defeated Colón.Fact|date=June 2007


In 1980, the PDP threatened once again, with Rafael Hernández Colón as candidate. This elections were very controversial as the PDP's followers alleged that there were a lot of irregularities during the vote counting. One of the things that raised a red flag was that the power went out during the night while results coming in were favoring Hernández Colón and when the power came back the results started favoring Romero Barceló. The Populars were crying fraud thus giving birth to Hernandez Colón's famous frase "Populares a defender esos votos a las trincheras de la lucha" (Populars we'll fight for those votes in the trenches). After a recount Romero Barceló ended wining by 3,000 votes. This is the closest election for Governor to date.Fact|date=June 2007

In 1984, Hernández Colón once again became governor defeating his long time political rival Carlos Romero Barceló of the NPP. His second term was marked by his successful fight to keep the Law 936 running. The PDP helped establishing the law, which dictates that American companies can be allowed to operate in Puerto Rico with tax cuts.Fact|date=June 2007

In 1988, Hernández Colón was re-elected by a comfortable margin. This election saw the controersial debate between Hernández Colón and NPP adversary Corrada del Río, in which Hernández Colón surprised Corrada by arriving unexpected at his own debate. That same year Hector Luis Acevedo, the PDP's candidate for mayor in San Juan, won the election for that position by only forty-nine votes. It was also the year that Santos Ortiz, a.k.a "El Negro", mayor of Cabo Rojo, left the party. "El Negro" went on to become the first person not affiliated with any of the three major parties in Puerto Rico to win an elective position in the country when he retained his seat as mayor as an independent candidate.Fact|date=June 2007


In 1992, after Colón decided not to run for governor again, the PDP elected Victoria Muñoz Mendoza, daughter of Luis Muñoz Marín, to run for governor. She became the first woman in Puerto Rican history to run for governor, but she lost the election to Pedro Rosselló. In 1996, Héctor Luis Acevedo ran for governor, but once again, the PDP candidate lost to Roselló, who received over a million votes.Fact|ceepur.org|date=March 2008 The PDP, however, won the second most important position in the country which is the San Juan mayor seat with Sila María Calderón.


The opposition party NPP led two campaigns for Puerto Rican statehood in 1993 and 1998 in which locally-enacted plebiscites were held to consult the Puerto Rican public on the political status with the United States. In 1993 the PDP campaigned in favor of the "status quo" Commonwealth, while the opposition campaigned for the annexation or statehood of Puerto Rico to the United States. The Commonwealth defended by the PDP was victorious with 48% of the votes. In 1998, Governor Dr. Pedro Rosselló carried out a non-binding plebiscite which gave electors four options and a fifth "None of the Above" column. The Popular Democratic Party led a campaign to boycott the plebiscite and called the electorate to vote for the "None of the Above" column. The boycott was successful, as the "None of the Above" column garnered more votes than all of the other options. Rosselló argued before Congress that statehood had won the plebiscite as he later said that the Fifth column was an invalid vote.


In 2000, Sila Maria Calderon regained the governor's seat for the PDP, beating NPP's candidate Carlos Ignacio Pesquera, and Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) candidate Ruben Berrios.

When Calderón announced that she would not be running for governor in 2004 she proposed José Alfredo Hernández Mayoral, son of Rafael Hernández Colón, as the new candidate for governor. Two months after Calderón named Hernández Mayoral as head of the party he resigned and retired from political life because of his son's alleged health problems, but it remains a mistery if this was the real reason. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá then emerged as the new candidate for Governor as he was the current Resident Commissioner and a former Party President. Acevedo Vilá was victorious in the elections of 2004 against a former Governor, Dr. Pedro Rosselló, by a margin of 3,556 votes, thus becoming the fifth Governor from Popular Democratic Party. He took oath in January 2, 2005.Fact|date=June 2007

Acevedo Vilá will run for reelection against the NPP President, Luis Fortuño, in the November 4, 2008 general elections.

On March 27, 2008 Anibal Acevedo Vila was indicted with a total of 19 federal counts ranging from conspiracy to wire fraud relating to the Governor's campaign finances when he was acting Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in the US Congress. [Puerto Rican Governor Faces 19 Counts - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/us/27cnd-puerto.html] [Indictment - United States of America v. Anibal Acevedo Vilá, et al - http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2008/March/crm-indictment-03272008.pdf]

Political ideals

The PDP's political ideals call for a Puerto Rico that is sovereign while it holds in some areas delegated to the United States. For example, Puerto Rico law and some aspects of taxation are managed locally by a tripartite system of state government. Custom duties and foreign treaties remain in the hands of the federal government. In addition, Puerto Rican law remains under the purview of Congress (where Puerto Ricans do not have any full-fledged voting representatives), and must concord with the United States Constitution. Fact|date=June 2007

The PPD's outlook has trended towards gaining further autonomy and local control over the external relationships of the island. In the eyes of the PPD, Puerto Rico should be viewed more as a country and not a state of the American union. For example, Puerto Rico has its own Olympic Games representation, a majority language (Spanish), and unique culture.

The PPD approved in their 2007 convention the new philosophy and ideal that the party will defend. The new approved philosophy consists in that the Popular Democratic Party will defend a political status for the island that is based in the irrevocable sovereignty of the country of Puerto Rico. This caused surprise among detractors since the party was known before for being conservative and defenders of the commonwealth status as it is.

upport for Discussion of Puerto Rico status within U.N. General Assembly

On January 8, 2007, Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá stated that he intends to garner support to have the political status of Puerto Rico be considered before the
General Assembly of the United Nations (UN); he also informed that he expected that support from inside and outside of Puerto Rico, as well as within and beyond his Popular Democratic Party (PPD). [ Vargas, Yaisha. "Government looks for allies to go to UN". Associated Press (AP); January 8, 2007. ]

The Associated Press reported that Governor Acevedo Vilá announced that "We have started negotiations with other sectors of Puerto Rico, to see in what way we can accelerate that issue and achieve more allies at the UN". [ Vargas, Yaisha. "Government looks for allies to go to UN". Associated Press (AP); January 8, 2007.]

Party logo and song

The PDP uses as a logo the silhouette of a rural farm worker wearing a straw hat, with the words "pan, tierra, libertad" ("bread, land, freedom" in English). The party logo was designed by Antonio Colorado (The Elder), one of Muñoz's staff members at the PDP and an eventual cabinet member when Muñoz became governor. Since "colorado" is Spanish slang for the color red, Colorado laid a personal touch to the logo by painting it red. The party's strong association to the color red stands to this day.Fact|date=June 2007

The PDP is also unique in Puerto Rican politics in its use of an anthem. "Jalda Arriba" was written by Johnny Rodriguez, a famous Puerto Rican singer, composer and club owner who was also the elder brother of one of Puerto Rico's most famous international singers, Tito Rodriguez. Johnny wrote it in 1942, and gave its score to the PDP as a gift in deep admiration of the party's philosophy.Fact|date=June 2007 The melody of the song strongly resembles that of a later composition, the theme song for the Anthony Quinn movie "The Secret of Santa Vittoria", which is a tarantella. The song is such a strong identifier of the party that even a version featuring the Puerto Rico Philharmonic Orchestra exists.Fact|date=June 2007


Party Presidents

* Luis Muñoz Marín
* Rafael Hernández Colón
* Miguel Hernández Agosto
* Victoria Muñoz Mendoza
* Héctor Luis Acevedo
* Aníbal Acevedo Vilá
* Sila María Calderón
* Aníbal Acevedo Vilá

Gubernatorial Nominees

* Luis Muñoz Marín(won)
* Roberto Sánchez Vilella(won)
* Luis Negrón López(loss)
* Rafael Hernández Colón(won & loss)
* Victoria Muñoz Mendoza(loss)
* Héctor Luis Acevedo (loss)
* Sila María Calderón(won)
* José Alfredo Hernández Mayoral "(Resigned before the general elections)"
* Aníbal Acevedo Vilá(won)

Other Important Leaders

* Roberto Prats (Former Senator and Resident Commissioner candidate)
* Felisa Rincón de Gautier (Former San Juan Mayor and party leader)
* Antonio Fernós Isern (Party leader and former Resident Commissioner)
* Teodoro Moscoso (Party leader and architect of Operation Bootstrap)
* Celeste Benítez (Former Secretary of Education and Resident Commissioner candidate)
* José Aponte de la Torre ( Former Party Vice-President and Carolina Mayor)
* José Enrique Arrarás
* Héctor Ferrer (House Minority Speaker)
* José Luis Dalmau (Senate Minority Speaker)
* Aníbal José Torres (Former Head of the Governor's Office and current Party Executive Director)
* Carmen "Yulín" Cruz (Party Women's President)

ee also


*Liberalism worldwide
*Liberal democracy
*Contributions to liberal theory
* Autonomy
* Associated Republic
* Commonwealth
* Sovereignty
* Social Democracy


* List of political parties in Puerto Rico
* Politics of Puerto Rico


External links

* [http://www.ppdpr.net Partido Popular Democrático de Puerto Rico]

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