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Bankrupt Puerto Rico votes yes to apply for statehood

Bankrupt Puerto Rico votes yes to apply for statehood

On June 11 Puerto Ricans went to the polls to decide once again whether to remain as a territory, or to apply to become the 51st American state.  And with what one could consider as an extremely uncaring record low turnout, the result was a yes vote for statehood.

However voting for statehood and actually becoming a state are two different things, as the island territory has voted for, and applied for this status change multiple times over the past several decades only to see Congress dismiss their request in favor of keeping their status below that of full statehood.  And the reasons are purely economical since no Congress or President has wanted to take on the stigma of higher unemployment numbers as well as wanting to deal with their debts, especially now that Puerto Rico just recently defaulted on $72 billion worth and are virtually insolvent.

Nearly half a million votes were cast for statehood, more than 7,600 for free association/independence and nearly 6,700 for independence, according to preliminary results. The participation rate was just 23 percent with roughly 2.26 million registered voters, prompting opponents to question the validity of a vote that several parties had boycotted, Fox News reported.

It was the lowest level of participation in any election in Puerto Rico since 1967, according to Carlos Vargas Ramos, an associate with the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York. He also said that even among voters who supported statehood, turnout was lower this year compared with the last referendum in 2012.

“Supporters of statehood did not seem enthusiastic about this plebiscite as they were five years ago,” he said.

The vote is nonbinding: The US Congress has the final say on Puerto Rio’s status, and there’s little support for taking on the economically-troubled island as a full member of the union.

That reality was apparently lost on Gov. Ricardo Rossello, the island’s governor, who accused Washington DC of hypocrisy in not honoring the will of the Puerto Rican people as expressed through a democratic vote.

“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,” Rossello said. “It would be highly contradictory for Washington to demand democracy in other parts of the world, and not respond to the legitimate right to self-determination that was exercised today in the American territory of Puerto Rico,”¬†according to the Associated Press. – Zerohedge

On the opposition side of Puerto Rico becoming a state are the myriad of individuals and corporations who use the island as a safe haven for tax leniency.  However the irony of this is that while more and more wealthy have moved their residences to the island territory, thousands of everyday Puerto Ricans have done the opposite and have moved onto the mainland in search of jobs and access to better welfare benefits.

The bottom line is that Puerto Rico is a diametrically opposed environment where it remains a colony of the United States, but who’s government functions with many of the corruptions found in Latin American states all across Central and South America. ¬†And in the end the chances of achieving statehood remain very slim since no President or Congress is willing to take on the negatives that would come from acceptance into the Union, which far outweigh the positives.

Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for The Daily Economist,,, and Viral Liberty, and hosts the popular youtube podcast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Ken can also be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.



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