Monday, June 12, 2017

Puerto Rico Votes Overwhelmingly to Become the 51st American State

Puerto Rico is in a heap of trouble. We all know that, having heard reports of the tremendous amount of crushing debt that the island faces. As a result of this, the economy has been more than a little sluggish, and many people began to migrate out of the island.

Political leaders there have been desperate to try to find some solution. To that end, Puerto Rico's Governor Alejandro García Padilla helped to set up this referendum, in hopes that obtaining the status of official statehood would allow the benefits to alleviate all of the burdensome problems that Puerto Rico has been facing now for years.

Only 23 percent turned out to vote, however, although out of those who did, a whopping 97 percent voted in favor of becoming a state. 

It should be noted, however, that there were calls to boycott the vote from those opposed to statehood, and many felt that this whole thing was a farce, because the power to make Puerto Rico the 51st state does not rest with the voters, but with the American Congress.

Right now, Congress does not appear to be in any hurry to rush and grant Puerto Rico statehood, although we shall see in the coming weeks and months if anything comes of this.

This was an interesting development, although it probably indeed will not help to resolve the crisis in Puerto Rico right now. Maybe a vast majority, even a whopping vast majority - of voters who did turn out voted in favor of statehood. But many members of Congress are all too aware of the crisis, and will likely view this as some kind of economic bailout.

Also, let's face it, there are a lot of Americans who would be opposed to Puerto Rico joining, because it would effectively make the United States officially a bilingual country, as the island is overwhelmingly Spanish-speaking. Frankly, it is difficult to envision the country taking in a Spanish-speaking state, especially right now, with Republicans in control of Congress, and Donald Trump and his cohorts in the White House.

One way or the other, it will be interesting to see what happens next in relation to Puerto Rico, and it's vote for statehood. My best guess is that, most likely, nothing will come of it, and we will not see a 51st state join the union anytime too soon. But I have been known to be wrong before, and this is a fascinating case!

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