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 2016 Democratic national platform:
Fighting for the People of Puerto Rico
And we are committed to addressing the extraordinary challenges faced by our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico. Many stem from the fundamental question of Puerto Rico’s political status. Democrats believe that the people of Puerto Rico should determine their ultimate political status from permanent options that do not conflict with the Constitution, laws, and policies of the United States. Democrats are committed to promoting economic opportunity and good-paying jobs for the hardworking people of Puerto Rico. We also believe that Puerto Ricans must be treated equally by Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs that benefit families. Puerto Ricans should be able to vote for the people who make their laws, just as they should be treated equally. All American citizens, no matter where they reside, should have the right to vote for the President of the United States. Finally, we believe that federal officials must respect Puerto Rico’s local self-government as laws are implemented and Puerto Rico’s budget and debt are restructured so that it can get on a path towards stability and prosperity.
In essence, the Democratic Party plans to continue improving the economic status of Puerto Rico and wants Puerto Rico to be able to vote in presidential elections, but is ultimately leaving the decision and the effort of attaining statehood to the people of Puerto Rico.
The Republican Party platform clearly states that they are in favor of statehood for Puerto Rico:
The Territory of Puerto Rico
We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state. We further recognize the historic significance of the 2012 local referendum in which a 54 percent majority voted to end Puerto Rico’s current status as a U.S. territory, and 61 percent chose statehood over options for sovereign nationhood. We support the federally sponsored political status referendum authorized and funded by an Act of Congress in 2014 to ascertain the aspirations of the people of Puerto Rico. Once the 2012 local vote for statehood is ratified, Congress should approve an enabling act with terms for Puerto Rico’s future admission as the 51st state of the Union.
The specified referendum took place in November of 2012, with 61% of votes for an alternative form of government being for statehood. There has been a persistent claim that Puerto Rico will vote democratic when it is a state. However, the truth is that Puerto Rico statehood has bilateral support, and Puerto Rico voters support both Democrats and Republicans.
Bottom line, it’s time for statehood. The idea has support on both sides, and the upcoming referendum will establish once again that Puerto Rico wants statehood. It is time for Congress to take action.
This post was originally written in English and may be being auto-translated by Google.