Decision time for PR


Will PR become the 51st state?


Maxi Failla

The governor of Puerto Rico said that he plans to hold a referendum next year to decide on its future. 

Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, which means that its residents are U.S. citizens who can't vote for the U.S. president. It's kind of a strange set up, if you think about it. 

The referendum would offer three choices: to become independent, join the U.S. as an American state, or maintain a status similar to its current commonwealth position. 

Puerto Ricans have voted three times before on this issue, but weren't able to come to a majority. So nothing has changed. 

Governor Luis Fortuno's plans to hold another vote comes as U.S. President Barack Obama said recently that without a clear majority of Puerto Ricans in favor of a new arrangement, the island's status would remain unchanged.

In a televised address, Fortuno said "the moment has come."

But his critics said that Puerto Rico's high unemployment, and a recent crime wave, should come first. The question of independence or statehood is a divisive one that could distract from solving these critical problems, they said.