Should Puerto Rico become the 51st state? | The Tylt
In a referendum on June 11, Puerto Ricans will vote on whether or not they support becoming an official American state. Puerto Rico has been a United States territory since 1898, and statehood advocates say the island's 3.5 million inhabitants deserve the right to vote and be represented in Congress. Others oppose statehood, arguing Puerto Rico is better off as a commonwealth or just claiming full independence from the United States. Should Puerto Rico become the 51st state? 🇵🇷
Should Puerto Rico become the 51st state?
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is strongly in favor of statehood. He argues it will reinvigorate the economy and help to "solve our 500-year-old colonial dilemma." He calls statehood an issue of morality and civil rights, and says Puerto Rico's serious economic struggles are a direct results of colonialism.
“If we compare ourselves with the other 50 states, the fundamental difference is our lack of rights, our lack of participation, and our lack of resources to move our jurisdiction forward,” he said. “Our colonial condition creates a situation of incredible inequality.”
But in a piece entitled "Four Reasons Independence Is the Right Path for Puerto Rico," Maru Gonzalez calls Puerto Rican statehood "a pipe dream."
Economic and cultural arguments aside, statehood has never been a real option for Puerto Rico. Indeed, Puerto Rico’s status as an unincorporated territory means that it “belongs to, but is not part of the U.S.” And that is unlikely to change. A Republican-controlled Congress would never admit Puerto Rico—with its massive debt and overwhelmingly Democratic (and non-white, Spanish-speaking) voting base—into the Union, even if such a determination is made by the island’s residents.
Others oppose statehood on the grounds that joining the United States could mean sacrificing the island’s national identity. Many Puerto Ricans are skeptical of statehood, saying formal inclusion in the union would bring Puerto Ricans more taxes but do little to solve pressing issues of unemployment, healthcare and housing.
But independence has never been a majority position of Puerto Ricans. Increasingly, its citizens want statehood.
Many argue statehood could help Puerto Rico cope with its deepening economic crisis.
Puerto Rican independence supporters point to places like Singapore as examples of former colonies that developed successful independent economies and commitments.