Puerto Rico's Political Status

Statehood? Independence? Status Quo?

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San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico is currently an unincorporated territory of the United States. Should its status change? Photo:Ethorson (Flickr Creative Commons)
Charles Venator-Santiago, Associate Professor of Political Science at UConn.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Fernando Betancourt, Executive Director of the San Juan Center, Hartford.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Madelyn Colon, Contributing Writer for CTLatinoNews.com.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Puerto Rico's Political Status
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Puerto Rico's Political Status

In the November elections, most results were pretty clear cut. But one that seems to have raised more questions than answers was a plebiscite on Puerto Rico’s political status.

The island nation, now a US commonwealth, seems to have voted to become the 51st state...something President Obama has said he’d support, if it is the will of the Puerto Rican people. Having heard President Obama talk about his support for “self-determination” of the people of Puerto Rico, it would seem this vote has some chance of changing the island’s status. But the next day, the administration was calling the referendum “less than clear.”

The methodology of the referendum has been called into question - and what exactly would the next step be? Then there’s the practical questions: Would statehood even be good for Puerto Rico? What would a change in status mean to the millions who live in the US - including many thousands here in Connecticut?

Today, where we live, a look at the possibility of Puerto Rican statehood...of independence...and what it means to be an American citizen who doesn’t have full voting rights.