Puerto Rico voted Sunday in favor of US statehood
Puerto Rico on Sunday overwhelmingly voted for statehood. But Congress, the only body that can approve new states, will ultimately decide whether the status of the US commonwealth changes.
Ninety-seven percent of the votes in the nonbinding referendum favored statehood, an increase over the results of a 2012 referendum, official results from the State Electoral Commission show. It was the fifth such vote on statehood.
“Today, we the people of Puerto Rico are sending a strong and clear message to the US Congress … and to the world … claiming our equal rights as American citizens, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said in a news release.
What do we really know about Puerto Rico?
When outsiders think of Puerto Rico, a couple of things probably come to mind: It’s a small island in the Caribbean. People mostly speak Spanish there. It’s not a US state but has American ties. They were the Sharks in “West Side Story.” (Wait, maybe they were the Jets?) But there’s so much more to know.
Some Puerto Ricans are raring to cozy up with America to jump-start a flagging economy; meanwhile, some residents would just as soon maintain the status quo, and others would prefer to break ties altogether.
Momentum has been building for the island shaped like a postage stamp to join the union as the 51st state, so it’s probably smart to start reading up about America’s cousin to the south – its background, economic status and heritage.
Step back in time
The Taíno Indians already called the island home when Christopher Columbus landed there in 1493, and it was settled around 1508 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León.