Puerto Rico will hold referendum on island status: annexation, free association or US independence

Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi, accompanied by a group of activists and state lawmakers, asked the United States Congress on Wednesday (14) to give green light to a bill that proposes holding a plebiscite on the island’s status.

“The time has come to end colonialism in the United States, the time has come to end the relationship territory of Puerto Rico with the United States”, said the governor in front of the Second World War memorial in Washington.

The legislative initiative, which has the support of 34 Democrats and four Republicans, proposes that a vote be held on the island in November 2023 so that the population can choose between three options: annexation by the USA, sovereignty in free association or the independence.

Puerto Rican politicians who support the bill, including Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner to the United States, Jennifer González, hope it will be approved by the House of Representatives ahead of midterm elections in November.

“Because we are a territory, the federal government may treat us unequally,” said González, who represents the island in Congress. , but does not have the power to vote, at the press conference.

The bill, which was approved in July by the Natural Resources Commission of the House of Representatives, does not yet have a date for a vote in the plenary. The initiative includes, in addition to resources and the process for the plebiscite, how the transition and implementation of the non-territorial option that wins the vote will be made.

Pierluisi’s party, the New Progressive Party (PNP), which convened the event in the American capital, supports the transformation of the island into the 51 th American state.

However, not everyone on the island wants to this annexation. The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PPD) defends the current status of Free State Associated with the United States, while other groups defend greater sovereignty or even independence.

Puerto Rico has held six plebiscites in its history to define its political status, the last in 2017, in which the annexation option won, but was marked by strong abstention and the rejection of the opposition to the PNP party.

As well as the American states, Puerto Rico has its local Constitution, in force since 1952, its citizens have an American passport (since 1917), it has its governor and Legislative and is ultimately governed by the authority of the US Congress.

Governor Pierluisi is scheduled to meet with Congressional lawmakers and visit the White House this Wednesday, where he will speak with officials about the tax to families.

On Thursday, he will participate in a hearing in the House of Representatives on the esf island recovery budgets on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Maria.

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