Univision’s coverage of the fallout of the Puerto Rican status referendum, which saw statehood garner a whopping 97% of the vote, is what one would expect it to be. This means that supporters of statehood for America's largest territory would be foolish to ever expect a fair shake from the network.
The vote itself was summarily dismissed within hours of the results being announced. Here’s how weekend anchor Felix de Bedout introduced the story on June 11th, by dismissing the referendum as a waste of time:
FELIX DE BEDOUT, NEWS ANCHOR, UNIVISION: In the referendum about the status of Puerto Rico, the majority voted for its annexation to the United States. The result does not have a practical effect.
De Bedout's summary dismissal was in line with Univision's longstanding institutional bias in support of independence for Puerto Rico, despite the fact that independence has never broken out of single digits when placed on a ballot before Puerto Rican voters. These biases were most recently on display when Univision decided to devote significant time and resources to the rehabilitation of convicted FALN terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera, despite mounting opposition to the Puerto Rican Parade's decision to honor him as a "National Freedom Hero”.
One effect of the referendum being held on Sunday is that we would have to wait a full week before being regaled with any hot takes from Al Punto host Jorge Ramos. And Ramos did exactly that.
Governor Ricardo Rosselló (D-PR) was peppered with questions about turnout, cost, and every other adversarial talking point, which Rosselló handled with relative ease. But then Ramos asked this bizarre question:
JORGE RAMOS, HOST, AL PUNTO, UNIVISION: If what you are saying is true, and you believe that you have the support of the vast majority of Puerto Ricans, then how do you explain support for independence or for the pro-independence ideas of Oscar Lopez?
GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLÓ (D-PR): But what support are you talking about, Jorge? Independence has never surpassed single digits here, percentage-wise. (CROSSTALK) I want us to be very clear about that.
JORGE RAMOS, HOST, AL PUNTO, UNIVISION: I understand about independence, but I mean the idea of Puerto Rico as an independent country and of the ideas of many who believe that being a colony and that being an American state is not the best alternative.
GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLÓ (D-PR): Your question is...the premise is flawed. There are very few who think that way, and that's the problem. The vast majority of Puerto Ricans -and polls show this- over 90% value their American citizenship. But the pro-independence vote in Puerto Rico has never surpassed 10%. Never. So how are you going to tell me that the ideas of Oscar Lopez have any significant support? First, they do not have that kind of support. Second, I think it's dangerous to equate the figure of Oscar Lopez with the issue of the definition of Puerto Rico. There are several things that are happening. Oscar Lopez is someone whose release from prison was called for by many people, myself included, on humanitarian grounds. That said, I do not agree with his actions, or the actions of his group, and I understand that they do not represent the people of Puerto Rico.
What Ramos flung at Rosselló there was a strawman within a false premise wrapped in terrorist apologia. Rosselló proved yet again that the best way to engage Ramos is to confront his biased questions in a blunt and direct manner. So rattled was Ramos by this direct pushback that he immediately took an incoherent second pass...which Rosselló also handled.
It is beyond bizarre to watch an avowed critic of totalitarian regimes in Cuba and Venezuela continue to fawn over their Puerto Rican Marxist ally. Way to "take a stand" against human rights abuses and dictatorships there.