The Status Of Puerto Rico Essay Research

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The Status Of Puerto Rico Essay, Research Paper What Should the Status of Puerto Rico Be? Puerto Rico is located in the Caribbean Sea. Puerto Rico has been a Commonwealth under the United States since July 25, 1952 when Governor Mu os proclaimed the new constitution. In the election of 1968, Governor Ferr favored statehood for Puerto Rico. After his election there were many unsuccessful attempts to make Puerto Rico into the 51st state. After more than 30 years the question still stands. What should the status of Puerto Rico be? There are three options for the status of Puerto Rico ( Puerto Rico ). One option for the status of Puerto Rico is to become the 51st state of the United States of America. A lot of people disagree with this option. Since currently Puerto Rico doesn t

pay taxes and sixty percent of Puerto Rico s citizens are classified as living at poverty, and then U.S. taxpayers or employed citizens are worried that if Puerto Rico becomes a state that their taxes will increase dramatically (Hamill 26). Already forty percent of the people on the island get federal benefits (Buchanan 35). The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico already costs mainland U.S. taxpayers over $6 billion dollars each year. The state of Puerto Rico could cost residents of the other fifty states far more. Another option is to remain a Commonwealth. Puerto Rico, after being in Commonwealth for 32 years, still can t make the decision of become a state or taking care of its own self and becoming an independent nation. Governor Pedro Rossello pleaded with Puerto Rican citizens to

vote for a final decision. Forty eight percent of the citizens voted to retain the commonwealth status, forty six percent chose statehood and four chose independence ( Puerto Rico, See graph on page 4). The majority of Puerto Rican citizens want Puerto Rico to remain in Commonwealth, but the government ignored the peoples voices. One of the reasons why Puerto Rico has remained a commonwealth for so long is of the language barrier between Puerto Rico and the United States. Puerto Rico has never declared which official language it would use permanently. The official language was Spanish in the late 1800s. Then it was changed to English in the early 1900s. In 1902 Puerto Rico made both Spanish and English their official languages. In 1990 a member of Puerto Rico s Popular Democratic

Party introduced a bill which would declare Spanish to be the sole official language of Puerto Rico. The chairman of People For the American Way Action Fund told the Senate Subcommittee on July 14, 1989 that 98% of the population speaks Spanish and 20% are fluent in English (Puerto Rico & Statehood…). Puerto Rico has no representation because they don t pay taxes, but if they become a state then how are they going to get their voices heard if only 20% of them speak fluent English. Most Puerto Ricans want to remain a Commonwealth because they say that if the island is good enough the way it is now, then there is no reason to change. The third option is to become an independent nation. Other independent nations have done well after the U.S. has given them a financial boost.

Honduras and Panama are examples of countries that the United States has given money to improve their status. The most ideal example is the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is similar to Puerto Rico in climate, topography, location, what they import and export. In the mid 1800s the United States helped the Dominican Republic by building their status up after a civil war. Now the Dominican Republic is the leading country in the Caribbean Sea. That s why a lot of experts say that there will be no major difference if Puerto Rico dropped the commonwealth and became an independent nation except for the money issue. Political leaders say that if the Dominican Republic could meet its needs how can t Puerto Rico do it if they make more money than the Dominican Republic