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mitú went to Kansas City for NCLR’s Annual Conference — THE largest conference of Latino leaders and advocates — to kick-off our #weareAmerica campaign. We got to talk to guys and girls just like you about what it means to be a Latino in the U.S. — the answers were life-changing.

Over the next few months, mitú will continue to collect and share your stories in order to create a true portrait of what is important, like get-your-ass-off-the-couch-and-to-a-voting-booth-important, as we head into the 2016 elections.

You have a voice. We have the platform. Don’t be shy and share your answers to these questions in the comments below or on your social media using #weareAmerica:

1. What does it mean to you to be a Latino in the US?

2. What can the next president do that would have significantly impact your life?

3. How does technology keep you connected to family and your culture?

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El Salvador’s Election Leads To Landslide Win For The President’s New Political Party

Things That Matter

El Salvador’s Election Leads To Landslide Win For The President’s New Political Party

El Salvador has held its midterm elections two years into the term of President Nayib Bukele and the president has been handed a major victory. Although Bukele’s name was not on the ballot, Nuevas Ideas candidates relied on their connection to the conservative president, and his image was plastered on campaign posters around the country.

The strong showing for Nuevas Ideas came despite allegations of voting fraud from Bukele and other party members. While, international commmentators point out that with his new supermajority, there are very few checks on Bukele’s power.

President Bukele’s Nuevas Ideas party wins a supermajority during midterm elections.

In what many are calling a first test for President Bukele’s Nuevas Ideas political party, the midterm elections delivered a landslide victory to the president and his party. With more than half the votes counted, the president’s party won a supermajority of at least 61 out of 84 seats in the country’s Legislative Assembly.

The midterm elections have completely upended the traditional political system that has existed in the country since the 1994 peace agreement. Not once has a single party had such a major victory. These elections also represent the collapse of the two-party system that has governed El Salvador for more than 25 years.

With the added votes of the GANA party, a small party that has pledged loyalty to the president, supporters of Bukele will control over 70% of the legislature, effectively removing all limits on the 39-year-old president’s ability to implement his agenda.

The election results remove any checks the authoritative president once faced.

Bukele will become the country’s most powerful leader in decades following these results, which is causing alarm among administration officials in Washington. Joe Biden’s administration has already voiced “worries” over Bukele’s tactics. These have included disobeying supreme court rulings and sending troops into the national assembly to coerce legislators into approving his spending plans.

Even before official results were in, the 39-year-old president, an ally of former US president Donald Trump, tweeted “VICTORY” over images of fireworks.

Bukele’s harsh crackdown on gang violence and his adept social media campaigns against corruption and traditional politics have made him popular with Salvadorans who are tired of endemic violence in one of the world’s most crime-ridden countries.

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Puerto Rico’s Gubernatorial Race Is Neck-And-Neck With Many Ballots Still Uncounted

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Puerto Rico’s Gubernatorial Race Is Neck-And-Neck With Many Ballots Still Uncounted

More than one year after former Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló was ousted after a Telegram scandal, the people of the Caribbean archipelago have voted for a new leader – but ballots in the crowded election are still being counted.

Puerto Rico’s gubernatorial race looks similar to the U.S. presidential election: two leading male candidates neck-and-neck.

Unlike President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, however, the leading Puerto Rican contenders, Pedro Pierluisi and Carlos Delgado Altieri, are both Democrats. What drastically separates the two candidates are their local political parties: Pierluisi is the nominee of the New Progressive Party (PNP), which advocates for statehood, and Delgado Altieri is the pick of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), which wants to continue as a commonwealth of the United States with limited self-government.

With 95% of polling stations reporting, the latest numbers put Pierluisi, at 32.4%, ahead of Delgado Altieri, who has 31.4% of the votes.

While ballots are still being counted, Pierluisi, an attorney and lobbyist, declared himself a winner on Tuesday night during a victory party.

Delgado Altieri, the former mayor of the northwestern municipality of Isabela and current president of the PPD, called the declaration “irresponsible” and noted that all the votes need to be tallied. If their difference reaches less than half a percentage point, there would be an automatic recount, Bloomberg reports.

Overall, Puerto Rican candidates faced a dwindling voter base. According to U.S. News & World Report, eligible voters dropped from 2.87 million in 2016 to 2.36 million in 2020, largely due to emigration following multiple economic and climate crises. Even more, with a voter turnout of 51.32%, compared to 55% in 2016, voter participation is also down, likely due to a distrust in Puerto Rican government amid back-to-back political scandals. 

Regardless of which candidate wins, the election is a historic one.

It’s the first time in recent history that either of Puerto Rico’s two main parties failed to secure more than 40% of the overall vote. Puerto Ricans, largely young voters who grew up amid a financial crisis that has since been compounded by the disastrous Hurricane María as well as recent earthquakes, have found themselves disillusioned by both the PNP and PPD parties and have voted in significant numbers for pro-independence and new party candidates. Alexandra Lugaro of the Citizens’ Victory Movement and Juan Dalmau of the Puerto Rico Independence Party have received 15% and 14% of the vote, respectively. It’s the first time since the 1950s that pro-independence parties have reached double-digit support.

Puerto Rico-based journalist and political analyst Jonathan Lebron-Ayala told NPR that rebuilding a decimated Puerto Rico has motivated many young islanders to think outside of the archipelago’s two-party system. “We’re going to see a major change not in this election but maybe into 2024 or 2028 because the numbers in the general demographics with these two old parties are very, very weak,” Lebron-Ayala said. 

In addition to the general election on Tuesday, Puerto Rican voters were also presented with a nonbinding referendum that asked, “Should Puerto Rico be admitted immediately into the union as a state?”

While more than 52% said yes, it must be noted that many Puerto Ricans, understanding that the referendum holds no weight, skip the question altogether. U.S. Congress would have to approve of any changes to Puerto Rico’s political status.

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico cannot vote in the presidential election and does not have voting representation in the U.S. Congress.

However, Jenniffer González, Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner, which is a non-voting congressional representative, won a second term on Tuesday night. The pro-Trump, pro-statehood González is a long-time supporter of Pierluisi. 

Pierluisi, who formerly held the resident commissioner seat, briefly served as governor following Rosselló’s resignation last year. Rosselló, who is a member of the same party as Pierluisi, named the 2020 contender as the next governor without him being confirmed by both the House and the Senate as secretary of state. Pierluisi took office on August 2, 2019, but was removed days later on August 7 after the Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruled that Pierluisi was sworn in on unconstitutional grounds. 

The unelected Wanda Vázquez Garced, a former secretary of justice who is also a member of the same PPD party, has served as governor since. In August, Vázquez lost the pro-statehood nomination to Pierluisi. 

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