In Puerto Rico, the political discourse is dictated by a female puppet called La Comay

The Paredes Cintrón case coincided with a referendum vote that was held on August 19th, where it was proposed that those who were accused of murder in certain aggravated cases (having to do with kidnapping, sexual abuse, and expressway shoot-outs) would not have the absolute right to bail, as per the 1952 constitution. A second item, a proposal to reduce the size of the legislature, was also on the ballot, but La Comay relished the opportunity to showcase the first on her show.

It is common knowledge in Puerto Rico that most major politicians feel that an appearance on Super Xclusivo is a must. The tradition began, as Rodríguez Cotto tells it, during the election campaign between Anibal Acevedo Vilá and the former governor Pedro Rosselló in 2004. “Everyone knows Santarrosa is for the statehood party, but when he asked [statehood candidate] Rosselló to come on, he refused, saying ‘I don’t go on puppet shows,’” said Rodriguez Cotto. “But Anibal did, and La Comay told the audience they should vote for him.” After Acevedo Vilá’s victory, no one dared refuse La Comay again.

Current governor Luis Fortuño doesn’t hesitate to appear, and neither does the president of the senate, Tomás Rivera Schatz. In fact, when Fortuño faced his first major crisis in 2010, when students demonstrated in front of the Capitol building and were beaten back by police, Fortuño appeared on the show, and faced confrontational questioning from WAPA staff reporter Rafael Lenín López.

Before the referendum, La Comay invited Acevedo Vilá, who argued against the amendments and Governor Fortuño, whose party initiated the amendments, to come on and gave them 10 minutes each to state their position. Acevedo Vilá argued that the referenda were politically motivated , and that to change the constitution to eliminate the absolute right to bail would not reduce crime. “It’s like giving an aspirin to cure a cancer patient,” he said, smiling.

Fortuño followed the next night insisting the referendum was not political, that it amounted to a minor change that would greatly help to relieve citizens and the victims of violent crime. “This is about protecting working people,” insisted Fortuño. “It’s going to bring peace to Puerto Rico.” After the break, La Comay announced that she was supporting the amendment, saying the issue was not political, despite showing footage that came from ads clearly labeled as paid for by the statehood party. “We have to do something! I recommend everyone vote yes!”

On August 19, both amendments were defeated in a surprise vote, 54% to 46%. The Monday show had La Comay with her red sunglasses on, which signified a “descarguita,” which means that she is about to deliver a major rant about something. “Ponme tensión,” she said in her trademark way, cueing the playing of foreboding music. She scoffed at the result, saying only 33% of the electorate showed up, as opposed to the “77% who went to the beach.” (It’s the new math!) “ I don’t want anyone to go around leading marches [about the crime problem]…I don’t want anybody crying.”

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