A bipartisan group in Congress on Thursday introduced a bill under which Puerto Rico becomes the 51st state of the United States without an on-island referendum on territorial status.
The government of Puerto Rico has held two referendums on the status of the island in 2012 and 2017. In both cases, the electorate voted to become a state, but because any change of status requires the approval of Congress, the results were considered to be symbolic. The referendum in 2017 marked by a low turnout (23%) due to the boycott by some political forces.
The bill was introduced by Congressman Democrat from Florida Darren Soto associated with numerous Puerto Rican community in Orlando. At the conference, where Soto spoke with the Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rossello, he said:
“I am very pleased to end this historical injustice. The time has come to unite all Puerto Ricans around the noble and democratic ideals. It’s time to remove the old border and to put an end to 120 years of colonialism”.
Supporters of changing the status of the Islands traditionally have support among Democrats, but fear opposition from the part of the Republicans. Besides Donald trump once said that is “an absolute negative” Puerto Rican statehood as long as such criticism as mayor of San Juan, remain at his post.
The discontent of the mayor and many other Puerto Rican politicians trump aftermath of hurricane “Maria”, which nearly destroyed the island in 2017. More than 3 million US citizens living there felt “second class”. Then trump allegedly said in a private conversation with the Republicans that he was against further assistance in case of natural disasters on the island, because this area received too much in Federal funds, compared with such States as Texas and Florida, which also suffered from the storms. The white house opposed the food aid programme islanders ($600 million), considering it to be “excessive and unnecessary“.
Puerto Rico went to the United States in the war with Spain in 1898. In 1917, the islanders were granted American citizenship. Today, the island does not have a vote in the Senate and Congress, and is limited in a number of other political rights. The settlement of the status of the island all the time runs into some problems. Now, for example, due to the democratic sentiment of the islanders they may be considered as future voters of congressmen and senators among the Democrats.
In Congress introduced a bill on recognition of Puerto Rico the 51st state of the United States updated: March 30, 2019 author: Alexander Brezhnev