SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Ricans are getting the chance to tell the U.S. Congress on Sunday which political status they believe best benefits the U.S. territory as it remains mired in a deep economic crisis that has triggered an exodus of islanders to the mainland.
Congress ultimately has to approve the outcome of Sunday’s referendum that offers voters three choices: statehood, free association/independence or the current territorial status.
Many expect statehood supporters to crowd voting centers because three of Puerto Rico’s political parties are boycotting the referendum, including the island’s main opposition party. Among those hoping Puerto Rico will become the 51st state is Pedro Pierluisi, the island’s former congressional representative.
“Let’s send a loud and clear message to the United States and the entire world,” he said in a statement on Saturday. “And that message is that we Puerto Ricans not only want our U.S. citizenship, but we want equal treatment.”
It seems to me that if Puerto Rico wants to be a state, then it should bring something of value to the table. Massive debt, a struggling economy, and a few nice beaches isn’t exactly attractive.