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Puerto Ricans vote in favor of statehood

Puerto Rico’s governor is pushing ahead with his top campaign promise of trying to convert the US territory into a state, holding a Sunday June 11, 2017, referendum to let voters send a message to Congress.Puerto Ricans who voted for US statehood in a non-binding referendum Sunday are “claiming our equal rights as American citizens”, Puerto Rico’s governor says.Puerto Rican citizens exercise their vote during the fifth referendum on the island’s status, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sunday, June 11, 2017.Voters in Puerto Rico approved statehood by nearly 97 percent due in part to a boycott of the referendum by the party supporting a continuation of the current commonwealth status. Residents of Puerto Rico are exempt from the USA federal income tax, but still pay Social Security and Medicare and local taxes, and the territory receives less federal funding than US states.FALN claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings in the USA and Puerto Rico, including a lunchtime blast in 1975 that killed four people at New York’s historic Fraunces Tavern.”We will go before worldwide forums to defend the argument of the importance of Puerto Rico being the first Hispanic state in the United States”, Rossello said. Just 7,600 opted for free association/independence; 6,700 voted to remain a US territory.A weak turnout had been predicted, given the call by opposition parties – which supported the status quo – for a boycott of the non-binding vote.One of the next steps to becoming a state after a vote from a territory is for its administrators to request statehood from Congress.At the moment, residents on the Caribbean island, a USA territory since 1898, have U.S. citizenship but can not vote in federal elections and have no formal representation in Congress.Puerto Rico hopes a change in status will help it better address $74 billion in debt $49 billion in pension obligations.Attachments to cultural and national identity are the main reasons why Puerto Ricans may oppose US statehood, Cruz-Martinez said.”At Wisconsin’s ratification as a state in 1848, 23,183 voters from a population of more than 130,000 people participated, which represented 17% of its population. They don’t realize that people fight in American wars and pay social security”.But rival parties on the island – the Popular Democratic Party and the Puerto Rican Independence Party – support a kind of continued territory status or independence, respectively. He said he would create a commission to ensure that Congress validate the referendum’s results.”This Sunday’s plebiscite wastes millions of dollars and is not a good use of the time and energy we must devote to solving the fiscal and economic crisis of Puerto Rico. If the audience is the electorate in Puerto Rico, well, they spoke louder by their overwhelming abstention”.The ballot was later changed to include “current territorial status” as an option, but the call for a boycott remained.It also gets U.S. military protection and receives federal funding from the government for highways and social programs, just not as much as official states receive.When the absolute number of Puerto Ricans who voted in favor of statehood is tallied, it turns out that 300,000 fewer people voted for statehood in 2017 than in 2012.Thousands of Puerto Ricans already cast their vote earlier this week in the newest referendum, including inmates and those who are hospitalized.Despite the low level of participation, Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello vowed, after casting his vote for full annexation by the United States, to defend internationally the result.”We have to vote because things are not going well”, she said.Just like 2012, opponents of statehood are expected to argue that the lopsided results thrown by the dismal turnout would not buttress Rossello’s cause. “This was a democratic process and statehood got a historic 97% of the vote”.