Showing posts with label puerto rico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label puerto rico. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Puerto Rico: 51st State of the U.S.?

[This article was written after Puerto Rico's 2012 status referendum. In June 2017, Puerto Rico voted in another controversial referendum, again technically in favor of statehood. Most of this five-year-old article is still accurate after the 2017 vote. -Editor]

Earlier this month, papers reported that Puerto Rico had voted to become a state of the U.S. - but will it really happen? What does it take to become a state, anyway? Last time, we explained Puerto Rico's current status - now for answers about the territory's future....

Flag of the United States with a new star added (total of 51 stars) for a hypothetical new state of Puerto Rico
A possible 51-star U.S. flag. Since each star on the flag represents one state, a new one would need to be added for Puerto Rico (public domain; source).
Why would Puerto Rico want to become a state?
Puerto Rico's current situation leaves it disadvantaged compared to the states. It has its own constitution and government, but the laws establishing them are subject to approval by the U.S. Congress. And despite the fact that most federal taxes and other laws apply to Puerto Ricans, residents have no real representation in Congress and no say in the presidential election. (For more details, see What is Puerto Rico?)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What is Puerto Rico? Is it part of the United States?

In 2012 and 2017, Puerto Rico voted on whether to become a state of the US. But what exactly is Puerto Rico now? Is Puerto Rico part of the United States, and can its people vote in U.S. elections? Find all your answers here!

If Puerto Rico's not a state, then what is it?

map of Puerto Rico's location relative to the U.S.
Location of Puerto Rico relative to the U.S.
Map by TUBS/Wikimedia Commons (source; CC BY-SA)
Puerto Rico is Spanish-speaking region made up of one big island and a few smaller islands in the Caribbean Sea. Since being taken from Spain in the Spanish-American War of 1898, it's been an overseas territory of the United States (known in U.S. technical jargon as an "insular area"). Internationally, the island is sometimes treated informally as a separate nation, even sending its own team of athletes to the Olympics (See also: Which Countries Are and Aren't in the Olympics?). However, it's not an independent country, but a subject of the U.S. federal government.