So what I think about whether we should be independent, or a state, or remain a commonwealth, is irrelevant and I won't be going into it. But that doesn't mean that I can't read the news and form opinions about things that happen.
The view from the outside can be valuable. Not just in this situation, but in virtually any situation in life. Somebody looking at an issue from a different vantage point is looking through a fresh set of eyes. There's less personal involvement that can color your point of view. But a lot of times, even knowing this, I still feel trepidation about voicing my opinions. Having lived in PR and having lived in the US, I think I've had a chance to see things from both inside and outside. The thing is, I'm not always sure that the view from the outside is welcome.
I care about what goes on in PR because it's my home. Having moved away doesn't change that fact, and it doesn't mean that I should stop caring. In leaving PR, I could have chosen to distance myself completely from everything, good and bad. I could stop following the local press, stop caring about the issues that affect people's lives there. But I don't, not only because it's my home, but because much of my family is there. Of course it matters to me that, say, the governor got arrested. It matters to me what people think, and what the guy is saying, and how this is all going down. How a country handles these issues speaks volumes.
I see the governor, in defending himself, remind us of the fact that we are still, in the end, governed by someone else. He says this in criticism of federal involvement in the island. That he is a member of the party that endorses the commonwealth, and that in 2005 he vetoed a bill calling for a referendum to decide PR's status, is an irony that is hopefully not lost on people. The commonwealth has served him well -- until the moment our link to the US made it possible for him to get arrested. It's not just this hypocrisy on his part that pains me, it's also that he is using it to shield himself from the fact that, like it or not, he is accused of violating federal, not local, laws. He is trying to make Puerto Ricans feel that not only is he being persecuted by the US, but that the entire island is being persecuted as well.
Even if I'm not there, this matters to me. It pains me to see PR being used as someone's meat shield. If he is innocent, then let him speak to his innocence plainly and directly. But this is the conundrum that I personally face as a Puerto Rican living outside of the island, and I can't imagine I'm the only one who faces this dilemma. I know I care, and I don't think caring is wrong -- but how far do I go in expressing views that people on the island may not care to hear about? And it's not necessarily about writing about it here, as it's not like this blog gets a huge readership. But mostly it's wondering what to do and what to say when I talk to people back home. What's my role now? Is the opinion of the "expat" of any value?
What's crazy is that I've been away for 13 years now (counting my college years, which really should be cut in half since I spent half the year in PR anyway) and I still don't know the answer to this question.