The idea of the “enhanced commonwealth” is not a valid option for Puerto Rico’s status. The U.S. government has said so repeatedly. However, Puerto Rico could choose independence.
Would independence be a good choice for Puerto Rico? Here are some facts to consider:
- The people of Puerto Rico would no longer be citizens of the United States. The Philippines, which used to be called “the Commonwealth of the Philippines,” chose independence rather than statehood. People born in the Philippines are not citizens of the United States. They cannot travel to the U.S. without a passport. A recent court case confirmed that people born in U.S. territories cannot automatically have U.S. citizenship, and people born in other nations certainly do not have U.S. citizenship.
- Puerto Rico would be responsible for its own military defense. The United States would not be responsible for defending Puerto Rico. The U.S. would also not be responsible for civil defense, police, or any other aspect of defense.
- The U.S. would not be obligated to provide any financial support. The U.S. could provide support in the form of foreign aid, but Puerto Rico would be a separate country, and the United States would not supply Social Security, school funding, or any of the other kinds of support the federal government provides for states. Puerto Rico is currently heavily in debt, with a dwindling population and far fewer jobs than they had eight years ago. Is this a good time to try to go it alone?
If the people of Puerto Rico actually wanted independence, they might be willing to undergo the hardships it would bring. However, only 5% of voters chose independence in the 2012 referendum. 61% chose statehood. There is no reason to think that Puerto Rico wants or would be willing to accept independence.
This post was originally written in English and may be being auto-translated by Google.