Puerto Rico Voters Stand Firm on Statehood
The People Send Unwavering Message to Congress Calling for Equality
November 4, 2020 – San Juan, Puerto Rico – Statehood for Puerto Rico was given a majority vote of 52% in the general elections, maintaining a strong rejection to the current colonial status that has kept American citizens residing in the island as second-class citizens.
The Referendum question, “Should Puerto Rico be admitted immediately into the Union as a State: YES/NO”, provided the voter the option to vote for or against becoming a U.S. state. Those who opposed annexation of Puerto Rico to the United States were provided full inclusion.
During an unprecedented election in which candidates on the island and the mainland won by narrow margins, the YES campaign results were clear--a great and positive result that does not leave any room for excuses or interpretation. We have won and it’s time to move forward advancing Statehood for Puerto Rico, getting the representation that we deserve.
A resolution passed by the Democratic Party of Puerto Rico supports the validity of the status vote, asserting it as a “legitimate and valid democratic method for exercising the right to self-determination of the American citizens of Puerto Rico.” The Resolution also called for voters to choose the “Yes” option. Likewise, the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico determined that the Referendum is a “constitutionally valid exercise of self-determination.”
This is a crucial time in our history; and we must move forward proactively to end political impasse and demand that Congress redress decades of unfair treatment and give 21st century Puerto Rico the respect and justice it deserves,” said Annabel Guillén, President of Igualdad, Futuro Seguro, a pro-statehood organization based in San Juan.
“We will continue to strengthen our resolve to make Puerto Rico the 51st state of the Union. Once again, our people have spoken loud and clear and the President and Congress must respect and act on the people’s choice,” concluded Guillen.
The 2020 Referendum is the first yes/no plebiscite which mirrors the plebiscites held in Alaska and Hawaii—the last two territories annexed as states of the Union. The two most recent Puerto Rico plebiscites, held in 2012 and 2017 resulted in a majority of voters rejecting the current territorial status.
Hernán Padilla, founder of Igualdad, Futuro Seguro and former mayor of San Juan, said: “This is an ongoing step in a political process to pressure Congress to respect and act on its constitutional responsibilities to make Puerto Rico the next State of the Union. Statehood is the only formula that guarantees American citizenship to future generations of Puerto Ricans.” Padilla concluded that being a colonial territory limits investment and long-range economic growth. “We will not achieve progress, stability or economic recovery while the current territorial status remains unresolved.”
Under territorial status, Puerto Ricans continue to be politically disenfranchised, lacking representation in American democracy.As a State of the Union, Puerto Rico will not only gain the presidential vote, but it will also be entitled to representation by 5 Congress members and two US Senators.Additionally, economic disparities have hindered Puerto Rico’s socio-economic growth.Treated as second-class citizens living on the island, millions of Puerto Ricans have migrated to the states looking for the opportunities they lack in a colonial territory.