Divided Puerto Ricans vote on whether to become USA state

Puerto Ricans on Sunday voted overwhelmingly in favor of becoming America's 51st state - at least the ones who bothered going to the polls.

With 97 percent of the vote counted, a total of 97.17 percent of the Puerto Ricans who turned out to vote in Sunday's plebiscite on the island's legal status opted for US statehood. Ricardo Rossello the governor of the island and his government had been pushing for a vote for statehood as the best way to deal with Puerto Rico's debt.

And the U.S. Congress has final say in any changes to Puerto Rico's political status. "Today we are sending a strong and clear message for equal rights as American citizens". "We've spent a lot of years working on a socioeconomic model that has not necessarily given us the answer". Most of the 500,000 people who voted chose statehood.

The current territorial status option received 6,821 votes, or 1.32 percent.

Congress, the only body that can approve new states, will ultimately decide whether the status of the U.S. commonwealth changes.

According to figures released on the State Election Commission Web site, a total of 476,635 people voted for statehood for the USA commonwealth. Sixty-one percent who answered a second question said they favored statehood, but almost half a million voters left that question blank, leading many to claim the results weren't legitimate.

Among those hoping Puerto Rico will become the 51st state is Ana Maria Garcia, a 52-year-old business administrator who arrived with her family on bicycle to vote early Sunday. After the filing, Breitbart News reported that Puerto Rico's public pension plans have only $1.8 billion in assets to pay $45 billion in liabilities.

Decades ago, FALN claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings in the US and Puerto Rico, including a 1975 blast that killed four people at New York's historic Fraunces Tavern.

Ninety-seven percent of Puerto Ricans voted for statehood in a non-binding referendum Sunday, a result considered flawed given the fact that just 23% of eligible voters cast their ballots. Aside from the issues brought up by de Jesus, the low turnout will also provide a good reason for the US Congress to reject the results. The reality is that with the economic crisis that Puerto Rico is facing right now, the last thing on the minds of the people of Puerto Rico is a vote over statehood that Congress - they know that Congress can not or will not grant.

"I think it is really rather unlikely that Puerto Rico will become the 51st state in a xenophobic administration like the one that we have in the USA at the moment".

"Eight out of 10 voters went to the beach, went to the river, went to go eat, went to go hang out, went to church, but they sure didn't go out to vote", said opposition party leader Héctor Ferrer at a San Juan press conference according to NBC News. They do not pay many federal taxes but receive far less support for social programs like Medicaid.

A department spokesman told the AP that the agency has not reviewed or approved the ballot's language.

But even statehood supporters came out in lower than expected numbers. During the last referendum in 2012, 54 percent said they wanted a status change.

  • Zachary Reyes