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Puerto Rico, set to become US’ 51st State?

“It will be up to this new generation of Puerto Ricans to demand and claim in Washington, the end of the current improper colonial relationship with our brethren in the United States”, Rosselló said in a statement after the referendum. Congress is granted the sole power of approving statehood and therefore will have to vote on Puerto Rico’s request. Last month, the territory filed for the biggest municipal bankruptcy in USA history.The likelihood that the US Congress will want to take on Puerto Rico as a fully-fledged state of the union at the time of such financial meltdown is seen by most observers as slight to none.Aside from the 97 percent voting for statehood this time around, a little more than 1.5 percent voted in favor of independence from the United States, while 1.3 percent wanted to preserve status quo and remain a territory. Sunday’s turnout was the lowest in any election since 1967, and even depressed among statehood proponents, says Carlos Vargas Ramos at Hunter College in NY. “To be sure, Sunday’s results do not reflect the true nature of Puerto Ricans” views on statehood, which are fairly evenly divided between those who favor it and those who do not, based upon historical election results.2012 was the a year ago the plebiscite about statehood was on the ballot.But that, the governor said, is how democracy works: “Everybody knows that those who go through the voting process have a louder voice than those who don’t”, he said. He also said that participation rates varied from 7 percent to 35 percent for states including Wisconsin and Hawaii when they were ratified as states.Three of Puerto Rico’s political parties including the main opposition party had called on their supporters to boycott the referendum, which they labeled a failure.Released last month from prison, after the remainder of his 55-year federal prison sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama, Rivera reveled among his supporters who fought for his release.Rossello Nevares, like the rest of the leadership of the PNP, was triumphalist when he said that it was “an extraordinary day”. “The boycott defeated statehood”.Many Puerto Ricans who turned out to vote on Sunday morning were retirees hoping that eventual statehood would finally put the island on equal standing with the 50 U.S. states, giving them more access to federal funds and the right to vote for the U.S. President.Puerto Ricans have a status unlike most others.”We Puerto Ricans not only want our USA citizenship, but we want equal treatment”.Those who remain behind have faced new taxes and higher utility bills on an island where food is 22 percent more expensive than the USA mainland and public services are 64 percent more expensive. Puerto Rico voted in favor of statehood, the New York Post reports.”The family has been a strong, strong, strong advocate for statehood”, she said. Take the last two referendums in 1998 and in 2012 for example.The leader of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), Carlos Delgado, called the result of the election a blow to the credibility of Governor Ricardo Rossello. He said he would create a commission to ensure that Congress validate the referendum’s results. Some Puerto Ricans blame the current recession on the USA government, partly because of the elimination of tax credits that many say led to the collapse of the island’s manufacturing sector.