Puerto Rico votes to become 51st state of America

It means Puerto Ricans have U.S. citizenship, but can't vote in presidential elections and have just one congressional representative, who has limited voting powers.

An official count of votes for Puerto Rico's plebiscite on Sunday showed overwhelming support for USA statehood, although adding another star to the US flag would likely face an uphill battle in Congress. Congress has final say on any changes to the territory's political status. "And that message is that we Puerto Ricans not only want our USA citizenship, but we want equal treatment".

But experts say it is highly unlikely a Republican-controlled Congress would acknowledge Sunday's results, let alone accept them because Puerto Rico tends to favor Democrats. On the other hand, independence and free association received 1.5% of the vote, while the current territorial status gained just 1.3%.

The 38-year-old governor accused opposition parties of undercutting the validity of the vote, having come to power in January on the promise that he would make the island territory the 51st U.S. state.

More than half a million people voted for statehood during Sunday's referendum, followed by almost 7,800 votes for free association/independence and more than 6,800 votes for the current territorial status.

Puerto Rico's governor Ricardo Rossello (R) and the Commissioner Resident in Washington Jennifer Gonzalez (L) celebrate the plebiscite's result at the headquarters of the New Progressive Party in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 11 June 2017.

Schatz argues that statehood would help Puerto Rico in its attempt to face down its debt crisis.

"We're American citizens, but second class citizens".

"It was a good turnout, but at the end of the day it is those who show up at the polls who decide", he said.

In a statement, the governor said that he would travel to the U.S. capital to speak with Congress, the White House, and other agencies regarding the referendum results.

"I think it is really rather unlikely that Puerto Rico will become the 51st state in a xenophobic administration like the one that we have in the USA at the moment".

About 1.3 million Puerto Ricans cast ballots in the last referendum in 2012, which also saw a majority support for statehood. They do not pay many federal taxes but receive far less support for social programs like Medicaid.

Puerto Rico Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz vowed to push for statehood.

Puerto Rico is not an independent country and has been a U.S. territory since 1898 after the country acquired the island from Spain following the Spanish-American War.

The issue has struck a chord in Manhattan, where New Yorkers from Puerto Rico weighed in.

An unincorporated United States territory, under American control since 1898, Puerto Rico lacks sovereign powers - an urgent problem at a time when it faces a public debt of $73 billion and its economy has dragged through a century of stagnation.

Puerto Rico held a referendum on whether the U.S. Territory should apply for statehood.

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

About 5.4 million Puerto Ricans live on the US mainland, a number that is growing because of an exodus of people who can not find jobs or continue school on the depressed island. "Puerto Ricans think of themselves as Americans, but most Americans don't recognize them as citizens".

A spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department told The Associated Press that the agency has not reviewed or approved the ballot's revised language.

Options on Puerto Rico's referendum included remaining a commonwealth, becoming a state or entering free association/independence. Federal officials in April rejected the original version, in part because it did not offer the territory's current status as an option.

Recommended News

  • Hawaii Rebuffs Trump by Enacting Laws Supporting Paris Agreement

    Hawaii Rebuffs Trump by Enacting Laws Supporting Paris Agreement

    Dozens of mayors across the USA have also committed themselves to meeting the terms of the agreement. Failure to comply with the Paris accords won't bring back many miners' jobs, they say.

    French Open Day 10: Ostapenko, Bacsinszky set up battle of the birthdays

    Switzerland's Bacsinszky claimed a tense first set by breaking Frenchwoman Mladenovic's serve thrice while dropping hers twice. But the duo put on a terrific performance to make the day memorable - not least setting a semi-final on their shared birthday.
    Singer with teen following online faces child porn charges

    Singer with teen following online faces child porn charges

    He continued, "What was I thinking?" A bond hearing was set for Wednesday and prosecutors said they'll oppose his release. Jones allegedly pressured girls to send him sexually explicit videos , knowing that they were only 14 or 15 years old.
  • US Attorney General questioned on Russia ties

    And since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the investigation , Rosenstein is acting in that capacity. She said such a move would "destroy any shred of trust in the president's judgment that remains over here".
    IndyCar Racing Odds: Who will win the Rainguard Water Sealers 600? 6/9/17

    IndyCar Racing Odds: Who will win the Rainguard Water Sealers 600? 6/9/17

    Three whole two-car teams-Ed Carpenter Racing, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Dale Coyne Racing-were involved in this crash. Kanaan was able to continue, but was levied a 20-second stop-and-hold penalty for avoidable contact when racing resumed.
    Wonder Woman buries The Mummy at USA  box office

    Wonder Woman buries The Mummy at USA box office

    The next movie to come out from the Dark Universe is Bride of Frankenstein to be directed by Bill Condon ( Beauty and the Beast ). Directed by Alex Kurtzman , The Mummy stars Tom Cruise , Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B.
  • Rosenstein Says He Wouldn't Fire Special Counsel Mueller Without Good Cause

    If Mueller knew he was going to be named special counsel, it is unlikely he divulged that information to Trump . Ryan added: "This is - I heard this is like a rumor we heard last night".

    Xbox Announces Xbox One X

    Lately, it has been the PlayStation 4 that has dominated the market when it came to the latest generation of consoles. The Xbox One X will be available to purchase for £449 in the United Kingdom , and has a $499 U.S. price tag.
    Korea is 'most urgent' threat to peace

    Korea is 'most urgent' threat to peace

    He said the troops "deserve the best weapons and equipment we can provide", and "I'm afraid today they're not getting it". North Korea's ongoing pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is a "clear and present danger to all", U.S.
  • Mid Transfer Window in IPL

    This move is hailed as a major boost to the IPL and will add value to the tournament helping the franchise model evolve. The transfer of a particular player will only take place if there is a demand from another franchise for the player.

    The Bernstein Brief: Kevin Durant Completes His Validation

    James , who in 2012 with Miami beat the Thunder in Durant's only other Finals, wound up with 41 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists. It was obvious coming into the game that the Cavaliers needed to play their best game of the season in order to win.
    Kentucky Derby newest odds and predictions

    Kentucky Derby newest odds and predictions

    The horse almost caught Always Dreaming in Florida but finished the second. - Gunnevera is among the favorites in a betting line. The May’s first weekend has already passed and real fans of races started their preparations for the Derby in Kentucky.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.