Vice President José "Pepe" Biden

Read more

I was incredibly happy when Obama won last year’s elections. Still, I knew that having an African-American in the White House wouldn’t automatically change America’s ideas towards each and every traditionally marginalized group (remember the whole Prop 8 debacle? Exactly).  And yet, America surprised me even more with the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor as US Supreme Court Justice this past summer (granted, this was mostly thanks to Obama, but still).

However, Joe Biden shocked and surprised me even more  with this gem of a quote he said recently: “When I die, I hope to be reborn in Puerto Rico”   An American Vice President wishing to have a second life as a Puerto Rican?! Now that’s a surprise.  In a weird Buddhist sort of way, it means Latinos are, figuratively at least, one step closer to the  White House.

Taken in context Biden’s quote is not as out of nowhere as one might think. The enlightened words were quipped at a reception marking Hispanic Heritage Month, in front of numerous civil and political Hispanic leaders. So it kinda makes sense that he’d say something like that, right? Not necessarily. Here’s why:

The reborn comment isn’t the first time he has shown a pro-Puerto Rico view, and even during last year’s campaign he expressed his interest in adding one more star to the old star-spangled banner if Puerto Rico were to become a State. Understandably so, Puerto Ricans (mostly conservative, even by US standards) are a little bit confundidos that a Democrat politician would support a political stance that has traditionally been spoused by Republicans.

All in all, regardless of his stand on the whole 51st state issue, Biden (along with Obama) has centered mostly favorable attention towards the Puerto Rican and Latino communities in the US, a fact Puerto Ricans can’t argue.  So, kudos for that, kids.

Now, about that Cuban embargo…