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Monday, November 5, 2012

Will Puerto Rico Become The 51st State?

A pro-statehood New Progressive Party supporter waves the U.S. flag during the party’s closing campaign rally in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Saturday. (Ricardo Arduengo/AP)

For the fourth time in 45 years, the question of statehood is on the ballot in this American territory.

It’s never been approved but analysts say this time could be different because of tough economic conditions in Puerto Rico.

Some Puerto Ricans say the island can’t afford to remain a U.S. territory or become independent. The BBC’s Nick Davis reports from San Juan.


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  • Maggie

    I think that is cute that we (us Puertoricans), belive that it is up to us to become the next state of the Republic of the United States of America. The country might vote in favor of becoming State number 51 but it is still up to the US government to decide whether we do join the Republic or remain as a Colony.  Being that the amount of representatives in the House of Representatives (+Senators=Congress) is based on population and PR currently having greater population than at least 22 states, power conflicts might not make it feasable for a very long time.  Having lived in this country for more that 12 years (I work, I do pay taxes and I am a Veteran of the Gulf War), I can’t visualize Americans embrazing Puertorricans as fellow Americans.  It hasn’t happen for natives of Alaska, nor natives of Hawaii.  Well, it hasn’t happen for Native Americans!  However, this is a the greatest country in the world, and being part of it, it is still a good thing.  I wonder what will it be:  Statehood, Banana Republic or Colony.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000042847471 Mark Chase

      I would have no problem with PR becoming a state, if it’s what the people there want. I would think they might want to vote, and maybe other things. What about the US virgin islands? or Guam? maybe we need to consider them too or do we just want to be imperialist/colonialist forever?! I don’t think it would be”too much” drain on our resources, wouldn’t the additional revenue from PR taxpayers make up for it?

      • michelle

        I totally agree. Not only additional revenue PR taxpayers will make up for it because  already pay IRS taxes. We have fertile lands, are beaches and cariama are great for tourists, military bases are already establish, we have representation at the congress, we have US passport, we consume every little think you bring us here! Victoria Secret in Puerto Rico sells more than in the US! STATE 51 is coming!!!!  :D I will be proud to call myself an American! :)))

    • Guest

       I am Puerto Rican and American and I fully embrace myself as a fellow American. Imagine that!

      Having been born in this country, it’s embarrassing to see a veteran of the armed forces  accusing Americans and making blanked statements about its citizens, myself included, with some form of thinly-veiled discrimination. The most diverse country on the planet. Jesus.

      • <——-rican

        If the Ricans dont want to be a state, then stop taking welfare from the US, it’s embarressing already. Be totaly independent, and stop looking for help when things are tight if they are so proud as they say they are.

        • michelle

          It is also embarrassing for the US country to still have colonies!!!!!!!! The whole world recognises it, but the US doesn’t even admit it! We do want to be a state! We recently vote in favor of being state 51!

  • Thinkin5

    PLEASE! DON’T make Puerto Rico a state! This island will do nothing for the U.S and will only drain resources. They don’t want economic development there their political system is DYSFUNCTIONAL!! I know this first hand. They don’t want to be anything but Puerto Rican either.

    • Guest

      I doubt that your anecdotal stories is able to counter: the millions of Puerto Ricans who pay federal income taxes, the millions of PR American war vetrerans, Puerto Rican voices in the House and Senate, a Puerto Rican Supreme Court Justice et cetera et cetera et cetera. The millions of Puerto Ricans that work in the mainland (and which are actually more than those living on the island). And you can very well be Puerto Rican and be American as apple pie, as am I. Seriously, get out of your cave.

      • Thinkin5

        I say this because my sister and brother-in-law moved to PR 5 yrs. ago with hopes of starting a business.  Some people embraced the idea there and encouraged them, they said “this is what we need here”. Then it became a nightmare of bureaucracy and local people trying to thwart them at every turn. “Lost” applications for permits, shuffling papers and months and months of nothing happening, finding out that they had enemies who wanted them to fail, people in local govt. lying to them about procedures, etc, etc. They were able to prevail with part of their business and hired two local college kids to work for them. There is a HUGE difference between the people who leave the island and get educated and the people who stay there. My sister’s friends there who are PR, who left and came back, now want to leave again. They are saddened by the ignorance and lack of will of people to better themselves or want to work. I am saddened too. The island has so much potential but the culture is one of “we like things the way they are”, “we don’t need to work”. I know that the people who escape do much better and have open minds. I know how disappointed they are in their home country.

        • Guest

          I don’t know about that… My mother’s uncle was an active farmer in the hills near Mayaguez (one of my earliest memories is having an unfortunately-literal run-in with a pineapple when we went to visit). My ophthalmologist got her degree from the University of Mayaguez.

          As for having something to contribute to the national economy, the island actually produces export goods like rum and produce. My grandmother worked in garment manufacturing (although I’m not sure how much of that is still there).

          Local obstructionism and corruption isn’t unique to PR. I happens on the mainland, too. And “We like things the way they are,” is pretty much par for the course in a lot of places in the mainland states. Heck, we have state houses and schools in a few states that still fly the Confederate flag.

          • Thinkin5

            I understand what you’re saying but what little that PR produces doesn’t help. I’ve read that they don’t pay Federal income taxes ( a deal made for the U.S. to have a military base there many years ago, now closed) now the U.S. just sends about $17 billion in Welfare/Soc. Services to the island. I think that it’s just not a good bargain for this country. We have enough disfunction and obstruction here right now! There is no upside for the U.S. And yes, I do know that many people have come here and made a good living and contributed but that’s a different issue. Adding an island is a whole different matter. This from Wash.Post today:
            For one thing, becoming a state would allow them to benefit from an extra $20 billion a year in federal funds – something Puerto Rico could use, given its 13 percent unemployment rate.

            As a voter in the capital San Juan, Jerome Lefebre, told the BBC:

            “We’re doing okay, but we could do better. We would receive more benefits, a lot more financial help.”

          • Maggie

            Thinking5
            Have you also read that we also don’t have the right to vote for the President or have any voice other than “symbolic vote” on the government of the USA.  If you remember History, one of the reasons for the 13 colonies to go to war was because of an imposed tax by the British although they didn’t have a saying in their gov. You can’t impose taxes on a country that doesn’t have a saying in government and still call yourself a democracy.  PR has been a colony for over a century; you can’t expect a mentality other than that of a colony, hence the dependency and neediness.  If you think that an island 100 miles by 30 miles can take advantage of the world’s most powerful nation your are either naive or ignorant, I’m inclined to think the latter .

          • Thinkin5

             No Maggie I’m not ignorant. I agree that if you tax people they should have representation. I just don’t believe that having colonies is a good idea in the first place. It’s an idea from another century.

          • mikey

            for the last times part of being a province means you don’t pay income taxes only full states do you need to be a full american citizen to pay income taxes and they are not so don’t try to talk about taxing if you don’t know what your talking about

          • RMD1

            puertoricans are born american citizens just like anyone in the U.S. Sorry the screw up system of the US Commonweatlh of P.R. was not made by the locals there. This Colony has to stop and I know the Mainland US get a lot of benefits from the island status. Becoming a state would be a WIN WIN for both sides. P.R. is currently the pearl of the caribbean and the main U.S. travel location for vacations in the Caribbean. Even Donald Trump has invested in P.R. due to the nature of tourism. I know the U.S. never wanted P.R. as an independent country. There had been efforts in the past and it has been denied. Puertoricans has served the U.S. and shed their blood since world war 1. The 65 infantry (borinqueneers) became a well known regiment during World War II. with several presidential war medals for the puertorican heroes. The U.S. wil make more money out of P.R. as a State, the only latin place under US jurisdiction and would also serve as example for both the world and Latin America. It would be a win win for both sides. The mentality of not giving the independence in the past just for explotation purposes didn’t look good. Is time to end the colony is time to integrate P.R. completely it would be a Win WIn for both parties. As far as been a citizen?? no changes puertorican are already U.S. citizens for almost a Century. The U.S. federal Laws applied there; clean water, FAA, FCC, US POSTAL SERVICE, US currency, US Passport, DEA, FBI all the same offices as the rest of the States.

          • http://www.facebook.com/saul.monella.7 Saul Monella

             Under age hookers and drug dealers for main exports.

        • it’s me

          Puerto rico is a beautiful island but it need a lot of help. ppl are losing jobs everyday and the heath care suck.. you are right about them not wanting to work bcuz its been like that for many years. but there’s P.rican that work very hard to support their children and still cant pay their bills or but food on the table. My father lives there and his side of the family and P.Rican dont want the change. i think its more about staying who they are and not changing status. they want to be known as P.rican but with all that debt and help they need something need to change.

      • Thinkin5

         According to this IRS site, people who live and work in PR don’t have to pay Fed. income tax.
        http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc901.html
        opic 901 – Is a Person With Income From Puerto Rican Sources Required
        to File a U.S. Federal Income Tax Return?
        In general, United States citizens and resident aliens who are
        bona fide residents of Puerto Rico during the entire tax year, which
        for most individuals is January 1 to December 31, are only required
        to file a U.S. federal income tax return if they have income sources
        outside of Puerto Rico or if they are employees of the U.S. government.
        Bona fide residents of Puerto Rico generally do not report income
        received from sources within Puerto Rico on their U.S. income tax
        return. However, they should report all income received from sources
        outside Puerto Rico on their U.S. income tax return. Residents of
        Puerto Rico who are employed by the government of the United States
        or who are members of the armed forces of the United States also should
        report all income received for their services to the government of
        the United States on their U.S. income tax return.

        United States citizens or resident aliens who are not bona fide
        residents of Puerto Rico during the entire tax year are required to
        report all income from whatever source derived on their U.S. income
        tax return. However, a U.S. citizen who changes residence from Puerto
        Rico to the United States and who was a bona fide resident of Puerto
        Rico at least two years before changing residence can exclude from
        U.S. taxable income the Puerto Rican source income received while
        residing in Puerto Rico during the taxable year of such change of
        residence.

        • Guest

           You must pay federal income tax, EVEN if you reside in PR, when the income stems from either an American company or from the US federal government. I was myself in that situation. I have paid considerable federal taxes when living in PR. As have many friends and relatives of mine. There are people for example, who live there and work for the FBI, as did my uncle, he paid federal taxes. There are people, such as my mom who was a teacher there, who paid federal taxes on her tutoring income. This was a tutoring programe subsidized by the federal government, anyone working for it paid federal taxes. People residing in PR and paying federal tax is certainly NOT rare. It is so common that when tax season arrives you will see the stands at the mall and elsewhere to help people with the federal tax return.

      • mikey

        actually Puerto Ricans don’t pay income taxes because they aren’t full citizens if they become a state then they will dumb ass 

    • http://www.facebook.com/elijah.baxter.12 Elijah M. Baxter

      I Disagree

      • Thinkin5

         Wouldn’t Puerto Rico love to be an independent country? They are very proud of their island and it’s people. Independence is the ideal. They don’t have to learn English either!

        • Guest

           Being proud of your region of origin is certainly not exclusive to PR. Many people are proud New Yorkers, or Texans. Does not make them any less American. It is not unAmerican to speak languages, natively, other than English. The first colonizers in US territory were Spaniards. There were French, Portuguese, Dutch settlers etc. Do you think all those people just disappeared and completely lost the language. Did you know that NYC kept vital records in Dutch as well as English in homage to their Dutch heritage. Monolingual countires are a thing of the past, except that the USA was never a monolingual country.

        • michelle

          We love our country as much as we love america. It’s a new generation of 
          voters. A generation ready for the change. A generation that has been living in both cultures and its ready to collide. We are one of the top consumers in the world an ALL of the stores and enterprises are american, but the money that they gain does not stay here, it goes to the US. That’s a benefit for America. Are lands are fertile to produce and export. Promoting tourism will be a hit! Being a state it’s a benefit for America. About “They don’t have to learn English either!” Well, we do in other to progress. English is the language of the world. If are schools are bilingual is not because we only want to learn english to be state, but because its crucial no matter what.  They won’t let us go it’s to risky. They will take us a make us productive for their country as they have always do….. We are going to be the 51 State…you’ll see it is just a matter of time ;-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/ChicCityBoy Richard LeBlanc

      You idiot! They have had representation in the US government since 1898. They have voted by a 2/3 majority to accept US statehood. Do your homework before you post your idiotic racist comments.

      • Thinkin5

         Setting aside your “idiotic racist comments” comment, here’s a look at the situation in PR now.  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-campaign-puertoricobre8a629k-20121107,0,472478.story

        The governor’s race played out against pressing issues like a stagnant
        economy, stubborn unemployment of 13.6 percent and a high level of
        violent crime fueled by drug trafficking, with a record-breaking 1,117
        murders being registered on the island last year.

        Ahead of the
        vote, Wall Street expressed concern a loss by Fortuno could upset a
        fiscal restoration plan he implemented that included government layoffs
        and other belt-tightening measures.

        Puerto Rico debt is widely
        held by U.S. investors because of its unusual full exemption from
        federal, state and local income taxes, and investors have credited the
        Fortuno administration with bringing government finances under control
        and implementing tax and energy reforms.

        However, Puerto Rico’s
        debt has ballooned to $67 billion, making it among the most indebted
        jurisdictions in the United States, and economic growth remains tepid,
        growing by 1.1 percent last year after six years of decline.

        Debate over the island’s status has long dominated politics in Puerto
        Rico where voters have opted to remain a U.S. commonwealth in four votes
        held since 1967, but the margin of victory has decreased over the
        years.

        Most Puerto Ricans pay no federal income tax, but
        contribute to Social Security and are eligible to receive federal
        welfare benefits, and many have served in the armed forces.

        • http://www.facebook.com/saul.monella.7 Saul Monella

           Yea sure, they pay one tenth of what a STATE resident pays. 96.5 of all disability claims are granted in this welfare drag on the US economy. Sell the island to Castro for a few cigars and be done with it.

          • Edna_rivera

            Try to inform yourself, Instead of talking think that you dont know. PR give more to USA than whatever they give us. For your knowledge all the american store, like walmart and many others make profit since PR is one of the top consumer in the world and this profit does not stay in PR is goes to the USA. And with the cabotage law(read about it) everything that is import or export in and out of PR is being controlled by USA, all this money goes to USA.

        • RMD1

          Im sorry but the external affairs of P.R. are handled by the Federal Government just like the U.S border with Mexico. The drug trafficking outside of P.R. is handled by the U.S and not the local police. Normally handled by the U.S. Coast Guard , DEA, Homeland security, FBI, ICE. Border patrol. Janet Napolitano acknowledge on her last visit to P.R. that the federal government has failed in the P.R. basin due to concentrating in the US border with mexico. In other words the security measures have been strength it out at the border, resulting in P.R. becoming the bridge for drugs to the U.S. from the Colombian and Mexican Cartels. If you get on the National Geographic web side you will see how both Puerto Rico and Hawaii have been affected by the drug traffickers. P.R. used to be a very peaceful place until the Drug Lords found a second path to the U.S. Once the drugs are in P.R. they are already in the US which means no passport, free flying, free shipping without checks just for been domestic and not international. Just like any other state. If Oregon and some other states are having trouble on keeping up their local police force due to budget problems what makes you believe that P.R. would be different? 

  • http://www.fibrowitch.net Jan Dumas

    I vote for Puerto Rico to become it’s own country!  

  • Alex Ashlock, Here and Now

    By the way, I made a stuip geography error when I wrote the intro to this piece on the radio. I said PR was off the coast of Cuba, which is obviously wrong. It’s off the coasts of the Domincan Republic and the Virgin Islands. Duh!

    • Alex Ashlock, Here and Now

      also, stupid is spelled stupid not stuip.

  • angel rodriguez

    i think its time they became a state. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/meaghan.moreno Meaghan Megelyn Moreno

    God Forbid !!!
    I would hate if my beloved Puerto Rico became a state; It should definitely become it’s own country

  • nmmatt

    They voted to become a state.  So what’s next?  Do they get admitted?

    • Maggie

      The vote is non-binding, it is up to Congress to make it happen or not.

  • Aiden

    As of 3:30am Eastern Time, Puerto Rican’s voted 54% in favor of NOT renewing the Status Quo, and of their additional options, Puerto Rico chose 62% in favor of Statehood. All clear majorities, and under referendum, the results are valid. The Resident Commisioner of Puerto Rico will need to submit a Statehood Bill to the US House of Representatives to be admitted as the 51st State. Both parties have stated they would welcome Puerto Rico’s decision, whatever the outcome. 

    So, I forsee a 51st State by the end of 2013. I have to say, I am happy with this result. Puerto Rico has been a territory for over 100 years. Puerto Ricans have fought and died in the US Armed Forces. All Puerto Ricans are ALREADY US Citizens. Statehood would bring federal income tax, an increase in revenue from the island. The Government would provide Statehood funding that we do to all States (Roads, Education, etc). The first few years would see a loss of Tax Money to bring Puerto Rico’s infrastructure in tune with mainland America. But after a few years, the funding would subside and the tax would increase, and Puerto Rico would be self sustainable.

    I do believe it would be a good decision.

  • Meganlao

    Statehood won finally after so many years!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/elijah.baxter.12 Elijah M. Baxter

    I support statehood for Puerto Rico

  • PUERTORICAN658

    I THINK THAT IF PR BECOMES A STATE BECAUSE THEY ARE BROKE THEY ARE GOING TO REGRET IT LIKE HAWAII DID AD STILL DO BECAUSE THE THINGS THAT EVERYONE IS FREE TO DO WONT HAPPEN ANYMORE AND WE WILL BE AMERICANS NOT PUERTO RICANS WE NEED TO HAVE OUR ORGULLO BORICUA AND PUERTO RICANS ARE GOING TO REGRET IT ASWELL LATER IN THE LONG RUN

    • umm hello

      very true but they  need the help. they have no jobs and healthcare suck. I agree with ORGULLO and being a puerto rican but you cant change who we are. I will still call my self a puerto rican. i was born there and raised in Florida  I have never called my self an american or Floridian, when they ask me where im from i say Puerto Rico. I don’t think we will regret it bcuz we need the help THEY NEED THE HELP!!! oh and hawiians don’t call them selves Americans.

  • majesticrocker

    it sure has been a while since we had a new state…so im in for it

  • http://www.facebook.com/saul.monella.7 Saul Monella

    Oh, great. Another state of “Obama open palm salute” constituents.  4 Million more “gimmies” to support!

    • RMD1

      You know I had been a republican and I’M a puertorican but when someone makes a dumb comment like that it would make me turn the other way around. To be honest with the current politicians in Washington I don’t think there is much difference between the GOP and the liberals. Both have turn very political and are up for their own agendas. When I see the Speaker Beathner he is just acting like Pelossi, exactly the same way and has become a cry baby. You have to be careful when making a comment like that because the GOP keeps loosing power and a comment like that would make many go the other way. Just like dumb ass Romney with his 47 pct. I saw a lot of people angry with that comment. I’m an engineer and work hard for the money and pay tons of taxes which means I’m not a part of the 47 pct. Yes I disagree with many of the Obama policies but when I hear a racist comment it could influence my decision. You need to realize that been american includes blacks, chinese, indians, jews, italians, latinos, greeks and even white people that are not prejudice. The more people hear those type of comments the more the GOP will go down. 

  • Idontcare

    it should, it would finally make the next state… in nearly 54 years.

  • PRdude

    It should become a state because their veterans deserve the same benefits as any U.S citizen.But they should also have the right to keep their language.

  • Wildeconatura

    We pay federal and state taxes every April 15th and sales taxes on everything we purchase of 7% plus we pay tax on everything imported to the island. The highest shipping fees in America because everything is imported by the most expensive fleet the Navieras. Educate yourself before claiming we do not pay taxes. USA makes 11 billion for every 4 given.

  • TheChange

    They need to become a state.. as says Thinkin5 says “no they will drain resources.” he shows ignorance because they already get resources from us and pay 0 Taxes to the U.S. they a basically already a state with out taxes so it is time for them to be part of the U.S. finally 

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