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Puerto Rico's Status

October 23, 1998 • Volume 8, Issue 40
Statehood, commonwealth or independence?
By Kenneth Jost

Introduction

Supporters for statehood now rally outside the Southern Governors Association meeting in Dorado, Puerto Rico, on Aug. 30, 1998. (Photo Credit: Lynne Sladky, Associated Press)
Supporters for statehood now rally outside the Southern Governors Association meeting in Dorado, Puerto Rico, on Aug. 30, 1998. (Photo Credit: Lynne Sladky, Associated Press)

Puerto Ricans go to the polls on Dec. 13 to vote on the island's political relationship with the United States. The plebiscite pits Puerto Rico's pro-statehood governor against groups that defend the island's current “common-wealth” status and groups that favor some form of sovereignty or independence. Statehooders say Puerto Ricans are entitled to the same political rights as other U.S. citizens, but advocates of commonwealth say the current arrangement gives Puerto Ricans economic benefits while protecting their cultural identity. Voters narrowly chose commonwealth over statehood in 1993; polls indicate a close contest again this year. Congress would have to approve any new status, but it has balked at making any changes since Puerto Rico became a commonwealth in 1952.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Puerto Rico
Oct. 23, 1998  Puerto Rico's Status
Feb. 08, 1991  Puerto Rico: The Struggle Over Status
May 28, 1971  Puerto Rico After Bootstrap
Jun. 26, 1963  Puerto Rico and the Union
Oct. 30, 1942  Problems of Puerto Rico
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Puerto Rico and other Territories
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