During the last Senate subcommittee hearing, the leader of Puerto Rico’s Independence Party said that he thought doing nothing about Puerto Rico’s status would increase the desire for statehood. As the financial crisis worsens and the territory’s government continues to appear helpless, more people might want statehood instead of the current territory status — and instead of independence.
Independence is not the first choice of most of the people of Puerto Rico. This option has never received more than 5% of the vote in status votes in the past. While some commentators have written that the downfall of the “commonwealth” government will leave independence as the best choice, the leader of the Independence Party sees that helplessness and hopelessness don’t encourage people to choose independence.
However, as tens of thousands of Puerto Rico’s residents leave the Island — voting with their feet for statehood by moving to a State — commonwealth party leaders may hope that the majority who voted for statehood in 2012 will leave and take their votes with them.
The current governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, has said that statehood would be bad for the economy of Puerto Rico. No state is in the economic position in which Puerto Rico now finds itself. He has also said that he will make sure that a status vote takes place before he leaves office in 2016.
The commonwealth party has been unable to come up with a legally possible definition of “enhanced commonwealth” to put on that ballot. Federal officials have repeatedly said that the new arrangement that “Commonwealth” politicians want with benefits of being a state, a nation and a territory is impossible. Only viable options for Puerto Rico’s status should be on the ballot. “Enhanced Commonwealth” is not a viable option.
Do they hope to reduce the majority vote for statehood by delaying the plebiscite?
As migration from Puerto Rico to the States continues, it is essential that the people of Puerto Rico clearly understand what it will mean to be a state. It may be clear by now what continuing as a territory will mean.
Share our Case for Statehood with friends and family on the island, in English or in Spanish.