Puerto Rico to Hold Referendum on Territory’s Political Status on Nov. 6

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Above: San Juan (Photo: Puerto Rico Tourism)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Voters in Puerto Rico will show their preference for Puerto Rico’s future political status in a vote on Tuesday.

The vote, which will come alongside elections for Puerto Rico’s governor, non-voting U.S. Congress representative and local officials, will ask Puerto Ricans two questions: if they agree with maintaining Puerto Rico’s status as a U.S. territory, and which of three status options they would prefer for the territory: statehood, independence, or a sovereign free associated state.

Those three options have been recognized by U.S. Congress and the previous three U.S. presidential administrations.

“We must enable our citizens to resolve the most important and transcendental issue in Puerto Rico’s history, the island’s political status,” said Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño. “The island’s status is an issue that affects every aspect of our daily lives, including our economy, jobs, our children’s education and our very rights as citizens.”

The status plebiscite comes after recommendations from presidential task forces on Puerto Rico’s status in 2005, 2007 and last year.

Puerto Rico, which has approximately 3.7 million residents, has held three such status plebiscites, in 1967, 1993 and 1998.

In 1998, 46.5 percent of Puerto Ricans voted for statehood, with 2.5 percent calling for independence and 50.3 percent calling for “none of the above.”

A Puerto Rico status vote was called for by President Barack Obama’s 2011 Task Force report.

“Over a century has passed since Puerto Rico joined the American family, and the time has come for the island to complete the self-determination process that is the bedrock of American democracy,” Fortuño said.

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