Puerto Ricans skeptical of change after vote for statehood

Although the 2012 vote also favored statehood the US Congress never took up the matter.

Referendum had been boycotted by the opposition over ballot language disputes, among other issues. The territory has a nonvoting delegate in Congress, called a resident commissioner.

Puerto Rico declared a form of bankruptcy on May 3, owing its creditors $73 billion. The non-binding plebiscite is not expected to sway the U.S. Congress, which would have to agree to make Puerto Rico a state. Since 1898, Puerto Rico has functioned as a "commonwealth" of the US, essentially making it a colony of Washington. And so it continues to be a colonial territory of the US. If statehood were somehow to be granted to Puerto Rico, it would send two liberal senators and five liberal representatives to the House. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens with the right to move to one of the 50 states. Puerto Rico is now facing economic crisis, which is posing serious issues for those who live there.

Directly behind him was a marching band from Lorain, Ohio, whose members voiced similar concerns about Puerto Rico's financial condition but disagreed about the solution.

The referendum coincides with the 100th anniversary of the United States granting USA citizenship to Puerto Ricans, though they are barred from voting in presidential elections and have only one congressional representative with limited voting powers. As on top of the vote is non-binding, it has witnessed a mass boycott from major political parties, which lead to the voter turnout to be extremely low.

The US Congress would need to approve any upgrade to statehood.

Also, all federal revenue sources GAO reviewed-individual and corporate income taxes, employment tax, excise tax, estate and gift taxes, and customs duties-could be affected if Puerto Rico became a state.

That's why Feliciano advocates for independence for Puerto Rico. The students believe that the promise of a more democratic future for Puerto Rico will not happen via traditional polls or call to the electorate, but with an active mobilization of all citizens.

A half million voted for statehood, with 7,600 wanting independence and 6,700 wanting to stay a territory.

"The United States of America will have to obey the will of our people!"

Sunday's landslide vote in Puerto Rico to determine statehood and perhaps add the 51st star to the American flag, was nearly ignored by news media, until the last minute, because of all the political controversies emanating from Washington.

Thousands of Puerto Ricans already cast their vote earlier this week in the newest referendum, including inmates and those who are hospitalized.

The US Department of Justice in its letter pointed out that Puerto Ricans are US citizenship by birth, asking that the "potentially misleading" statement be removed. Federal officials in April rejected an original version, in part because it did not offer the territory's current status as an option.

Four previous plebiscites, or popular votes, have been held to decide the commonwealth's status in relation to the United States. Voter turnout was just 23 percent. But with the PNP narrowly winning the governorship in 2016, the Republican Party's GOTV (get-out-the-vote) operation funded social media and TV ads in favor of statehood.

  • Zachary Reyes