Photo by: cia.gov
During this week’s general election, 54% of Puerto Ricans voted in favor of becoming the 51st state of the US. Currently, this island is deemed a territory whose citizens hold American passports and use the US dollar, but do not have voted representation in the US Congress and are not fully protected by the Constitution.
Though, this was a nonbinding referendum and before any change can be implemented, the US Congress must approve. However, President Obama has said that he will respect the decision of the Puerto Rican people. Once the island does become a state, they will have to pay federal taxes and will be able to participate in all US elections.
Puerto Rico became a US territory in 1898 as a result of the Spanish-American war. Eventually its inhabitants gained American citizenship and the ability to serve in the military.
While many would prefer full independence, complete statehood is the second best option. Currently the unemployment rate is above 13% and receiving the full benefits and protections of being a state, is hoped to increase economic recovery.