Puerto Rico’s Upcoming Status Plebiscite

According to El Nuevo Día (quoted by the Huffington Post) “Puerto Rico doesn’t want to rock the boat,” stating that about 51 percent of Puerto Ricans say they won’t vote to change the island’s relationship with the United States. The plebiscite vote is scheduled for November 6, 2012. Here are excerpts:

In a second question, Puerto Ricans were asked which of the other four proposals on the table they [would] prefer. Only 4 percent of Puerto Ricans said they’d like their government to become completely independent of the United States, while 44 percent say they’d like the island to become a U.S. state.

Another 42 percent said they’d like to become a “freely associated sovereign state” — a type of independence in close alliance with the United States, similar to the arrangement the U.S. has with the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau, according to a White House report on Puerto Rico’s status issued in 2011. Under such a scheme, Puerto Ricans would no longer automatically become U.S. citizens, though they could work and attend schools in the United States, the report says.

The consultation [. . .] is not legally binding. But if a solid majority voted to become a state or go independent, it would give a mandate to the local and federal government to take the steps necessary to change Puerto Rico’s status. Puerto Rico’s statehood would have to be ratified by Congress.

That poll isn’t great news for conservative Gov. Luis Fortuño, who wants the island to become the 51st U.S. state. [. . .]

Puerto Ricans have voted on their status at least three times since arriving at the commonwealth arrangement in the 1950s, and each time voters elected to keep it the same. [. . .] The United States invaded Puerto Rico when it was still a Spanish colony during the War of 1898, along with Cuba, Guam and the Philippines. The U.S. extended citizenship rights — including military conscription — to Puerto Rico in 1917.

[Many thanks to Rod Fusco for bringing this item to our attention.]

For full article, see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/12/puerto-rico-status_n_1960998.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

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