Residents of the island of Puerto Rico have been American citizens since 1917, but the issue of statehood for the current U.S territory has been in a constant cycle of push and pull between opposing political parties. Over time, the island has developed and organized strong economic, political, social, and cultural relations with the United States, but it’s not a full-fledged state yet. As it currently stands, both parties are in favor of statehood, but with a few conditions on each side.
According to the Democratic national platform:
“If local efforts in Puerto Rico to resolve the status issue do not provide a clear result in the short term, the President should support, and Congress should enact, self-executing legislation that specifies in advance for the people of Puerto Rico a set of clear status options…”
The excerpt goes on to mention milestones reached in the last few years heading towards the statehood of Puerto Rico, including a “historic increase” in Medicaid funding as well as full inclusion in the Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act. In essence, the Democratic Party plans to continue improving the economic status of Puerto Rico, but is ultimately leaving the decision and the effort of attaining statehood to the people of Puerto Rico.
Moreover, the Republican Party has also stated that they are in favor of statehood for Puerto Rico, but do not wish to intervene directly until full support is achieved from the Island:
We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state if they freely so determine. We recognize that Congress has the final authority to define the constitutionally valid options for Puerto Rico to achieve a permanent non-territorial status with government by consent and full enfranchisement. As long as Puerto Rico is not a State, however, the will of its people regarding their political status should be ascertained by means of a general right of referendum or specific referenda sponsored by the U.S. government.
The specified referendum took place in November of 2012, with 61% of votes for an alternative form of government being for statehood. As it currently stands, there has been a persistent notion that Puerto Rico will vote democratic in upcoming elections. However Alfonso Aguilar, an executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, has stated that Republicans have dominantly held leadership positions within the territory, and additionally that the majority of Puerto Rico is socially conservative.
Bottom line, it’s essentially up to the Puerto Rican people and government to establish legitimate statehood at this point. The idea has support on both sides and gradually continues to move towards fruition.
This post was originally written in English and may be being auto-translated by Google.