Puerto Rico votes in favor of statehood

Puerto Rico voted last Tuesday to approve a non-binding referendum that would make the island the 51st U.S. state. Puerto Rico has been operating under commonwealth rule, and in a two-part vote, the people of Puerto Rico were asked to reflect on their 114-year relationship with the U.S.

The first part of the vote asked Puerto Ricans whether they are happy with the current relationship as a U.S. territory. Less than half of voters, 46 percent, said they were happy and 54 percent said they wanted to change the relationship.

While citizens in Puerto Rico are considered U.S. citizens, they cannot vote in presidential elections. The resident commissioner in the House of Representative has also limited their voting power.

The second part of the referendum asked Puerto Ricans if they wanted to change their relationship with the U.S., and if so, how. Five percent of voters called for independence, 33 percent called for a sovereign free association, and, in a landmark result, 61 percent favored statehood.

Puerto Ricans have voted on statehood three times before, but this was the first time when the majority of citizens voted in favor. While this referendum was supported by a majority, it is non-binding and requires approval from Congress before being implemented. The party currently in power in Puerto Rico is in favor of the commonwealth, so it is improbable that a change to statehood would be approved at this time.

Jose Fossas, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences from San Juan, Puerto Rico, does not like the idea of Puerto Rico becoming a state. He said the cultural differences between Puerto Rico and the U.S. are a reason not to create a 51st state.

“Becoming a state is the total destruction of the Puerto Rican culture,” Fossas said. “It doesn’t matter how Americanized we are already – we still have our own culture and identity. We are a different people, we are not Americans and we have our own culture.”

Justin O’Brien, the executive director of the U.S. Council for Puerto Rican Statehood, disagreed with Fossas. He told ABC News that if Puerto Rico becomes the 51st state, it would open Puerto Rico to U.S. government programs like supplemental Social Security.

Joanne Vazquez, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration from Puerto Rico, said she does not see Puerto Rico becoming a state in the near future.

“Maybe in a couple of years, but not right now,” Vazquez said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ricardo-Marrero/100001931986103 Ricardo Marrero

    As
    an American Citizen, I favor Statehood for Puerto Rico and am willing to pay my
    fair share of taxes to be equal to the rest of the American Citizens living in
    the U.S. Unbeknownst to many American Taxpayers, Puerto Rico is costing them
    approximately $ 50 Billion dollars a year as a colony of the U.S. Puerto Rico
    actually receives $ 25 Billion dollars a year in Federal Funds and about $ 25
    Billion more with the constant moving of Puerto Ricans to the U.S. Puerto Rico
    has 300 miles of beautiful beaches and we could do good tourism in that sense.
    Congress is playing games with colony, whereby they send us Billions and they
    get Millions for their political campaigns in the U.S. I think it is time to
    decolonize Puerto Rico and that Congress approve a plebiscite with the options
    of Independence and Statehood.

  • Something you’ll never know

    This would be great for the Americans new country as a state woohoo were in Gods hands

  • Dick

    Puerto Rico has really shakey finances. They no longer have as fiscally conservative

    govenor and likely may need funding on retirement systems now in place. Can not blame

    them for wanting help with these and other needs.

  • DeeDee

    PR should become a state.Why not? The people over there take advantage of being a US citizen by coming here, leaving their assets behind, and benefit of US assistance without reporting their assets simply because US and PR systems are not linked and there’s really no way on finding out who owns what. A lot of people look at the bad but they don’t see the benefits that would come from it…..they think it’s all about paying more taxes and that’s it. But, it’s not. As a state, they will be paying taxes on their homes which most of them are payed off but, they will also be able to claim it at the end of the year when they file their returns. Also, when filing their federal taxes, they will get more money back, specially those who have qualifying dependants plus, they will get a state refund on top of it. They get only about $400 per child when we get at least $1,000 per child here! Their lousy pay rates will be forced to go up if they become a state and that way they can stop bragging about how much work there is with not enough pay. The US system will be able to connect to their system and all those who are land or property owners over there beating our US system such as those who migrate here to come get on goverment assistance, live off housing or section 8, will be caught in a fraud and get kicked out from getting such benefits making the US states recover a big part of their deficit. Anyone who owns a car will be forced to have some kind of auto insurance on their vehicle,….etc, etc….

    • anon

      There would also be a huge, HUGE tourist boom. Plenty of people know you can go to Puerto Rico easily as a US citizen, but bringing it into the Union is like, the largest marketing move a tourism department could ever come up with.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ricardo-Marrero/100001931986103 Ricardo Marrero

      You just hit the bullseye! That is the reason why the colonialists (those who oppose Statehood) don’t want Puerto Rico to become a State. If it did, they would have to report to the IRS all their life earnings and they don’t want that because they can’t justify their riches.