Puerto Rico’s newly-elected Governor, Wanda Vázquez Garced, announced in a press conference Saturday that Puerto Rico will hold a non-binding referendum on November 3, the same day as US presidential election, to decide whether Puerto Rico should become a US state or remain a territory. “It is never too late to be treated as equals,” she said.
Puerto Rico last held a referendum in 2017, in which 97 percent of Puerto Ricans voted for statehood. However, the US Congress failed to approve the measure partly as a result of low voter turnout. President Donald Trump also needs to approve Puerto Rican statehood, but he stated in a 2018 interview that the issue was presently “an absolute ‘no.'” He continued, “Puerto Rico shouldn’t be talking about statehood until they get some people that really know what they’re doing.”
A 2018 survey by the Washington Post found that 48 percent of Puerto Ricans, a plurality, supported statehood over any other status including maintaining the current configuration (territorial status) or becoming an independent nation.
“Puerto Rico’s territorial status … is at the root of the inequality and disadvantages it faces,” said Vázquez Garced in her press conference. “Our people will have the opportunity once and for all to define our future.”