On the day of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC, Puerto Rico's governor announced the U.S. territory has overwhelmingly chosen statehood in a non-binding referendum on Sunday held amid a deep economic crisis that has sparked an exodus of islanders to the mainland United States.
Twenty-three percent of eligible voters participated in Sunday's referendum, with 97 percent choosing statehood over independence or continuation of Puerto Rico's territorial status.
But many question the validity of the vote amid a low turnout and a boycott by several opposition parties.
Puerto Ricans head to polls Sunday with one question in mind: Should the US territory seek to become the country's 51st state?
If accepted, the island will become the 51st state of the U.S., more than 50 years after Hawaii joined. And Congress, the ultimate arbiter of the island's bid for statehood, never picked up the matter. Puerto Rico's attempt to restructure its debt, a bankruptcy-like proceeding tailor-made for its status as a territory, vastly outpaces similar municipal bankruptcies like Detroit's $18.5 billion Chapter 9 filing in 2013.
"Some see statehood as the best way to pull Puerto Rico out of its economic crisis", says CNBC.
However, critics have called the referendum "meaningless" and an "absolute, unmitigated disaster".
"From today going forward, the federal government will no longer be able to ignore the voice of the majority of the American citizens in Puerto Rico", Governor Ricardo Rossello said, announcing the victory.
Prediction: The next time the Democrats have a majority in Congress, they will make Puerto Rico the 51st state, being glad to have another state that will vote Democratic, and a Spanish-speaking one at that. We're aiming to change that and of course, from my perspective, I'd want Puerto Rico to become the 51st state of the nation. Aren't "territories" remnants of a colonial past that we really shouldn't' have anymore?
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