Puerto Rico at crossroads as Congress mulls vote to resolve statehood or independence

As greater than 1 million Puerto Ricans return to Fifth Ave. on Sunday for the pageantry and satisfaction of their annual parade, their beloved homeland might quickly face a grave alternative about its future relationship with the U.S.

The swirling celebration comes because the Caribbean island the place the revelers hint their roots might quickly face a once-in-a-lifetime alternative between turning into the 51st state or an impartial nation — or one thing in between.

A latest breakthrough settlement has united each supporters and opponents of Puerto Rico statehood within the U.S. Congress behind a push by a Democratic-led Home of Representatives vote to authorize a binding referendum on Puerto Rico’s standing.

The three decisions can be statehood, independence or a hybrid generally known as independence with free affiliation, whose phrases can be negotiated.

Puerto Rican legislators within the U.S. Congress, and notably New York Metropolis, are deeply divided about which choice is finest for the U.S. territory and the 5 million-strong diaspora on the mainland.

“This must be a decision coming from the people,” Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) stated this month throughout a fact-finding mission to the island with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). “We are here to listen.”

Velazquez, the dean of the Puerto Rican caucus, is a staunch opponent of statehood, which she fears would dilute the island’s fiercely distinctive tradition and dependence on the Spanish language. Ocasio-Cortez agrees.

However Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), whose South Bronx district consists of probably the most Puerto Ricans within the nation, says statehood is a should if Puerto Ricans are to have an actual voice of their future.

One choice that may not be on the poll: maintaining the present territorial standing. It provides Puerto Rico’s greater than 3 million residents U.S. citizenship however doesn’t permit them to vote in presidential elections, denies them many federal advantages and permits them one consultant in Congress with restricted voting powers. Puerto Rico grew to become a commonwealth in 1952.

From Brooklyn and El Barrio to the South Bronx, New Yorkers with roots in Puerto Rico seem equally cut up on the island’s future standing.

Charles Gonzalez, who hawks Puerto Rican flags, masks and t-shirts emblazoned with the motto “One Proud Rican” from a makeshift market on a Williamsburg, Brooklyn avenue nook, doesn’t consider the island will ever change into the 51st state.

“That’s talking, talking, talking,” Gonzalez stated. “The Congress is never going to do that with Puerto Rico.”

Though Yari Ortin lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, she considers herself “solely Puerto Rican” and steadfastly needs the island to be an impartial nation.

“We are unique, we have our own culture,” stated Ortin, 35. “I know many people say it will be bad if the island becomes independent. But things are bad right now.”

Quickly-to-be highschool graduate Christopher Velez, 18, likes the concept of a hybrid independence with an affiliation settlement with the U.S.

“With independence we won’t survive on our own,” stated Velez, of Jamaica, Queens, who was procuring together with his dad for an enormous Puerto Rican flag forward of the weekend’s festivities.

Regardless of the starvation for change, it’s very doable that nothing will occur any time quickly. If the Home does cross the measure it is going to go to the Senate the place it faces a really unsure future.

Some Republicans, together with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) help statehood, however GOP leaders concern the political impression of admitting Puerto Rico as a state.

Puerto Rico would have two senators and 4 Home representatives. Though the island’s political events don’t utterly align with the 2 main ones on the mainland, Republicans concern Democrats would have an enormous edge, doubtlessly shifting the steadiness of an evenly cut up Congress.

Throughout their latest journey to the island, Velazquez and Ocasio-Cortez participated in a public discussion board in San Juan the place speaker after speaker denounced the established order.

The subsequent step is hearings within the Home, adopted by a vote presumably this summer time. Democrats wish to transfer earlier than the midterm elections that might hand energy again to the GOP.

“The visit reminded us just how big the stakes are for so many,” Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chair of the Home committee with jurisdiction over Puerto Rico’s standing, advised The Information.

With Matthew Euzarraga, Ellen Moynihan and Chris Sommerfeldt

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.