Gallup released a poll of Americans across the nation last week showing that nearly two thirds of respondents support statehood for Puerto Rico. Their findings confirm a trend seen in other polls. Stateside Americans are ready for the 51st state — and they want Puerto Rico in that spot. What about Puerto Ricans? Three 2019… Read more »
An important distinction in historical research is the difference between primary and secondary sources. Puerto Rico makes an excellent study for this topic. There are many misconceptions and disagreements about the history of Puerto Rico. Challenge students to choose a topic on which people now disagree, and track down primary sources that can help distinguish… Read more »
In our continuing series of classroom discussion questions, we examine the history of Puerto Rico, particularly focusing on its political status. Q: When was Puerto Rico first inhabited? A: Puerto Rico was inhabited by the Taino people perhaps as early as 900 BC. Q: When was Puerto Rico first visited by Europeans? A: Columbus landed… Read more »
National Hispanic Heritage Month begins September 15 and continues to October 15. Across the country, classrooms will build piñatas, learn a few words of Spanish, and study some individuals from Spanish-speaking countries. Before Hurricane Maria, 25 freshmen in a Midwestern college classroom were asked about Puerto Rico’s government. One student knew that Puerto Rico is… Read more »
Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States… but just what does it mean to be a territory? The United States formed as a union of 13 British colonies which banded together as a group of individual states. Each state saw itself as distinct from the others, and all were nervous about having the… Read more »
Puerto Rico Report is frequently consulted by academic researchers and students in many States as well as in Puerto Rico. In response to requests from some of these users, it is now publishing discussion questions and documents which could be used in the classroom to understand Puerto Rico’s political status and history. The following includes… Read more »
Much has been written about the boycott of the 2017 plebiscite by Puerto Rico’s second-largest political party, the Popular Democratic Party (PPD, for its acronym in Spanish). Yet not much is said about the reasons used to justify the boycott in the first place. To answer this question, a chronological review is in order. This… Read more »
The Puerto Rico Debt Syllabus is collection of links to articles, websites, and multimedia on Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. It was recently launched by the Unpayable Debt Working Group.It constitutes an impressive storehouse of references for teachers of geography, economics, digital literacy, and critical thinking. The resources are divided into six groupings: HISTORICAL CONTEXT THE… Read more »
The current polarization of the two major political parties in the United States can make it hard to get across the idea of bipartisan cooperation in Congress to students. For college or high school classrooms — or for stepping up dinner table conversations — the floor debate on PROMESA makes a great lesson. So pull… Read more »
Puerto Rico Report provides comprehensive coverage of news about Puerto Rico’s status, including both breaking news on relevant events in Puerto Rico and on the U.S. mainland, and discussion of legal, historical, and educational issues related to Puerto Rico’s status. There are other websites that often include information on the subject, but which have a… Read more » 1 234→
Dennis Freytes on Equality & Democracy Not a Priority?: “Research-Exposé (with Facts-Truth-Reason) **Equality for US Citizens-Veterans in US Territory of Puerto Rico (PR)!** “Patriots cry for Justice-a…”
On June 11, 2017, Puerto Rico held a plebiscite in which 97% of the voters rejected the island’s current status as a U.S. territory in favor of statehood.
An independence/free association option received 1.5% of the vote, and 1.3% of the voters chose for Puerto Rico to remain a U.S. territory.
Statehood opponents dismissed the vote due to low voter turnout. Several elected officials in Washington D.C. joined pro-statehood Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzáles-Colón in calling for a Congressional response.
As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico can request statehood, but ultimately Congress has the power to determine Puerto Rico’s future.
Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. Puerto Rico was ceded to the U.S. by Spain in 1898, and the Island has belonged to the United States ever since. In 1917, Puerto Ricans became U.S. citizens, and everyone born in Puerto Rico is a citizen of the United States.
But Puerto Rico is not a state. It continues to be a territory. Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress has “plenary” – complete – power over Puerto Rico. It is legal for Congress to treat Puerto Rico differently from states, and Puerto Ricans do not share in the same rights and responsibilities as their fellow U.S. citizens.
There are no senators or voting congressional representatives for Puerto Rico. The Island has just one non-voting representative in the legislature. The people of Puerto Rico cannot vote in presidential elections, and they have no electors in the Electoral College.
With so little representation, and no legal requirement that Congress treat Puerto Rico equally, it’s no surprise that Puerto Rico receives less federal attention than the states.
In funds for highways, federal grants and contracts, healthcare funds, and many other areas, Puerto Rico receives much less than any of the 50 states.
Puerto Rico is also not a country. While Puerto Rico fields sports teams in international sporting events and competes in international beauty pageants, the government of Puerto Rico can’t make trade deals with nations or make decisions about its currency, or take any other steps available to countries.
And, while the title of Puerto Rico includes the word “commonwealth” (just like the titles of Massachusetts and Kentucky), that word has no legal meaning in the United States. Puerto Rico is simply a territory belonging to the United States.
In 2017, Puerto Rico once again voted to gain a permanent political status. The Puerto Rico Report will be covering the news throughout this historic process.
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