Photo: Romney in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuño, one of the 23 Republican Party delegates in Puerto Rico, publicly endorsed presidential hopeful Mitt Romney for the support he has given the Caribbean island in its war on drugs.
Fortuño greeted Romney upon his arrival in Puerto Rico and said that the inclusion of the island in the GOP hopeful’s job-creation plans, and the fact that he would back statehood for Puerto Rico if that is the islanders’ choice in the referendum next Nov. 6 on the island’s political status, are other reasons for his support.
“Many thanks for your visit and I give you my endorsement because of your support in these three matters,” Fortuño said in Spanish at San Juan’s Isla Grande Airport, where he and other leaders of the local Republican Party went to meet Romney.
During his speech at Romney’s side, Fortuño skipped the subject of language and limited himself to agreeing with the candidate’s expressed view that language is not a determining element for Puerto Rico joining the United States.
Before meeting with Romney, the governor said that two languages are spoken in U.S. territory in answer to Rick Santorum, whose two-day visit was entangled in a controversy about which language Puerto Ricans should speak.
“We’ve had two official languages for 10 years. That’s the situation. So that trying to politicize what I believe is an opportunity for our young people is mistaken,” the governor said.
Santorum had to explain Thursday that his statement to the local press was misinterpreted when he was reported as saying that if the island became a new state of the United States it should adopt English as its primary language.
“I have no doubt that one of the requirements that will be put forth to Congress is a requirement that English would be universal here on the island,” Santorum said, adding that this “doesn’t mean that people can’t speak Spanish in their homes, or in their business, or on the street, but that everyone would have a proficiency in English.”
Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have not gone to Puerto Rico for Sunday’s primary, though the former addressed Puerto Ricans in a communique focused on the economy.
The Republican candidates are hoping to win the Caribbean island’s 23 delegates in Sunday’s primary, including the three “superdelegates”: Fortuño, the Republican Party chairman on the island Carlos Mendez, and the party’s national delegate Zoraida Fonalledas.
Fortuño and Fonalledas have already announced their support for Romney, while Gingrich has Mendez’s vote.