Puerto Rico votes to become the 51st state

Postado Junho 26, 2017

According to figures released on the State Election Commission Web site, a total of 476,635 people voted for statehood for the U.S. commonwealth.

Any decision on bestowing statehood on Puerto Rico would be taken by the US Congress, which has not endorsed the non-binding referendum and is unlikely to recognize the result. And Congress, the ultimate arbiter of the island's bid for statehood, never picked up the matter. Each has serious ties to Wall Street, and each makes a handsome living buying low and selling high, especially the bonds of failed or failing states such as Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico has been under the control of the United States since 1898 when it was taken in the Spanish-American war. It has its own governor and legislative body and it became a USA commonwealth territory with its own constitution in 1952.

The status referendum is Puerto Rico's fifth since 1967.

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. Residents of the island are United States citizens but they do not vote for president and do not pay federal taxes.

Puerto Rico is suffering from a large deficit, public service cutbacks, and a 12 percent unemployment rate and public services 64 percent more expensive than in the USA mainland.

What's next for Puerto Rico?

Many Puerto Ricans who turned out to vote on Sunday morning were retirees hoping that eventual statehood would finally put the island on equal standing with the 50 U.S. states, giving them more access to federal funds and the right to vote for the U.S. President. This is unusual in a political system in which turnout in general elections has ranged between 78 and 89 percent of registered voters.

Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917.

"I pray to God that before I die I see Puerto Rico as the 51st state", Edwin Alicea, an Army veteran, told CNNMoney.

Puerto Rico's debt and migration crisis is in part result of its territorial status.

Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917.

"Puerto Rico would benefit greatly from being a state right now given the crisis", she said. Free association is an official affiliation with the United States. Others said they'd march to show support for Puerto Rico despite disagreeing with FALN's methods. Many Puerto Rican opposition groups boycotted the vote.

Politics took the front seat at this year's Puerto Rican Day Parade in NY on Sunday, as the traditional batons, floats and marching bands were overshadowed by the inclusion of a militant pro-independence figure and a vote in favor of statehood taking place on the island. About 1.3 percent voted for the current commonwealth status and about 1.5 percent voted for independence.

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.

The ballot was later changed to include "current territorial status" as an option, but the call for a boycott remained.

With virtually all results in, 97.2 per cent backed statehood, 1.5 per cent supported independence and 1.3 per cent opted for no change, but just 23 per cent of the 2.2 million-strong electorate cast a ballot.