Latifah Muhammad
photo: NYT

Puerto Rico Votes To Become A U.S. State

 

While the country was tied up with the presidential election yesterday, Puerto Rico quietly took steps to become a state.

In a two-part referendum more than 50 percent voted that Puerto Rico be named the 51st state of the union, bringing them one step closer to making the dream a reality.

According to the breakdown, 65 percent moved in favor of full statehood, 31 percent sought to receive sovereign statehood, and 4 percent voted to become fully independent.

President Obama has stated that he is in support of the idea, but the island still has to convince Congress to allow the statehood. If approved, Puerto Ricans will be able to vote in American elections, and will  no longer be exempt from paying federal taxes.

America holds strong ties with Puerto Rico. Aside from the well-known public figures like Supreme Court judge, Sonia Sotomayor, there are now a million more Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. than on the island.

As it stands, Puerto Rico fell under U.S. control after the Spanish-American war. In 1917 its people became U.S. citizens,  allowing them the right to serve in the American army, but not to vote.

Nearly a century later, Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, but control is left up to its own presidency, which would change depending on the decision of Congress.

 

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Photo: New York Times

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