15 August 2013


Emilio Pantojas-Garcia
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On August 1 2013 the U.S. Congress was scheduled to discuss Puerto Rico’s political status. In 1898, Puerto Rico became a possession of the United States. Since then the government of the Island evolved from military rule to a Free Associated State, also known as Commonwealth. 

In spite of changes, Puerto Rico remains a possession that belongs to but it is not a part of the United States. Because of this, since its creation in 1952, the Commonwealth status has been considered by large sectors in Puerto Rico and in the international community as a colonial status. Puerto Ricans are divided between three alternatives: a more autonomous Commonwealth; independence; or statehood—becoming a state of the Union. 

Four plebiscites on the status question have been held in 1967, 1993, 1998, and 2012 but, save for Commonwealth in 1967, no formula has emerged overwhelmingly favored. The 2012 plebiscite expressed dissatisfaction with Commonwealth by a vote of 54% against to 46% in favor. Unless Congress—that holds sovereignty over Puerto Rico—acts, the stalemate will continue.

From: The Caribbean Journal of International Relations and Diplomacy, Vol. 1, No. 2; June 2013

Read the full article here.