Puerto Ricans sceptical of change after vote for statehood

As American citizens, often proudly so, Puerto Ricans can freely enter the United States - but don't have the right to vote for USA presidents or elect representatives to Congress, even though u.s. lawmakers have the ultimate say over the territory's affairs.

Quinones said many of her relatives are among the almost half a million Puerto Ricans who have moved to the USA mainland in the past decade to find a more affordable cost of living or jobs as the island of 3.4 million people struggles with a 12 percent unemployment rate.

The former member of a militant, nationalist Puerto Rican group was greeted Sunday with some boos and cheers but most spectators just watched the festivities.

Only Congress can make Puerto Rico a state, and there's little appetite to do that right now.

It was a turn-out of around 23 percent and the vote was boycotted by several parties, raising questions about the validity of the vote.

It's also highly unlikely the Republican-controlled Congress will acknowledge the results, because Puerto Rico tends to favor Democrats. Those Puerto Ricans who voted gave statehood a big victory, but it's not as big a win as it first looks, largely because turnout was far lower than anticipated. But he faces an uphill struggle impressing his case on the US Congress, which holds ultimate power over Puerto Rico, given the historically low turnout of the vote and the boycott staged by opposition parties.

Even though the majority voted in favor of statehood, a little more than 1.5 percent voted to receive independence from the USA, while 1.3 percent sought to preserve the current status of the island.

On Sunday, they voted on their choice, for the fifth time in 50 years as a part of a plebiscite, on whether to become the 51st state of the United States or not. "They don't realize that people fight in American wars and pay social security".

For decades the territory enjoyed a USA federal tax exemption that attracted many American companies to set up shop - but those breaks were ended in 2006, prompting firms to leave the island en masse. "I think it is the only realistic option", he said.

The fate of Puerto Rico's statehood request is to be decided upon by the US Congress which is the only institution entitled to decide such matters. More than 1 million are in NY.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was among the public figures who decided against marching in the parade once it was known Lopez Rivera was being considered as the honoree. On May 3, 2017, Puerto Rico declared a form of bankruptcy. When the prison sentence was commuted in January, "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted that he was "sobbing with gratitude". The parade's board of directors said in a statement that Lopez Rivera would join the parade "not as an honoree but as a humble Puerto Rican and grandfather". "The parade was supposed to be honoring a lot of other people, musicians, artists, performers, but you wouldn't know because all the focus was on Lopez Rivera".

According to BBC, such a decision may be due to two factors.

  • Leroy Wright