Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosello leads the push for U.S. Statehood in an attempt to become the fifty-first state of the Union. Puerto Rico has held a referendum on whether or not to enter Statehood, and in a resounding yet non-binding victory, the measure has passed.
In San Juan; Gov. Ricardo Rossello spoke before flag-waving supporters on Sunday evening suggesting in the immediate future he will announce the creations of a commission to appoint a total of two senators and five representatives from Puerto Rico to stand before the U.S. Congress, which has to approve any changes to the island’s political status.
Governor Rossello said to the enthusiastic crowd of victorious Puerto Ricans; “The United States of America will have to obey the will of our people!”
However even with the major victory for a Puerto Rican statehood on the homefront; the uphill battle will begin in presenting a case to the United States Congress which is currently under GOP control to rectify and announce the inclusion of Puerto Rico. Many analysts suggest American lawmakers will require major changes to the domestic policy of Puerto Rico to gain such an approval.
Over a half million Puerto Ricans have participated in the referendum in favor of the statehood. It has gained such an enormous sense of urgency that viral memes have spread across the popular social media websites and chat groups encouraging statehood. Even with a lower than expected turnout rate of 23 percent 7,800 votes for free association/independence were and 6,800 votes for the current territorial status against statehood hit the ballots.
There is, however, controversy brewing as former Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla rejected the results of the referendum entirely. In a statement, former Governor Padilla said, “Whoever claims that statehood triumphed is being intellectually dishonest. The boycott defeated statehood.”
Governor Rossello, however, implied that those concerns are coming from a defeatist group, noting that the referendum was a democratic process in which the majority prevailed. Three other political parties and their supporters boycotted the referendum entirely which led to the outstanding victory for Rossello and his statehood advancement hopes. “We have been a colony for 500 years, and we have had U.S. citizenship for 100 years, but it’s been a second class one,” Rossello said.