Things That Matter

Puerto Ricans Will Be Voting This Weekend Whether Or Not To Become The 51st State Of The U.S.

On Sunday, June 11, Puerto Ricans will vote to decide whether the commonwealth should become the 51st state of the United States.

Puerto Rico has been crippled by a financial crisis that has left thousands of Puerto Ricans leaving the island for the United States. Puerto Rico has lost about 2 percent of their population every year for the past three years, according to The Denver Post. According to The New York Times, the Puerto Rican government has been saddled with $123 billion in debt and pension obligations, leaving the island strapped for cash when it comes to public goods. The massive debt has led to money being taken out of health care, public schools, and other public programs in the island nation’s government.

The vote comes at a time when many U.S. Congresspeople, and the Trump administration, are showing nearly no support for the U.S. territory’s move to become the 51st state.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, who represents Florida’s 7th Congressional district, which includes Puerto Rican-heavy Orlando, has voiced her support for a strong Puerto Rico as a state or sovereign nation.


“Puerto Rico is going through difficult times, and I am determined to help the island get back on its feet,” Murphy said on the House floor, according to Sunshine State News. “The main reason Puerto Rico is struggling is because, as a territory, it is treated unequally under federal law. I support equal treatment for Puerto Rico because I oppose second-class citizenship. Ultimately, I believe Puerto Rico should discard its territory status and become a state or a sovereign nation. The choice lies with the people of Puerto Rico. My personal hope is that they will choose statehood, so they have full voting rights and full equality. Puerto Ricans have earned the right to become first-class citizens of the nation they have served with honor.”

Orlando is home to some 100,000 people of Puerto Rican descent and Florida is home to 1 million people of Puerto Rican descent, according to Miami Herald. If Puerto Rico votes in favor of statehood, it would trigger a policy known as the Tennessee Plan, which would allow Puerto Rico to send representatives and delegates to Washington D.C. to demand seats in Congress, according to The Hill. In the case of Puerto Rico, current governor Ricardo Rosselló would send two senators and five representatives, which many are speculating would be Democratic. mitú will be updating this story after the election with the results.


READ: Puerto Rico Is On The Brink Of Financial Ruin, So It’s Shutting Down A Record Number Of Public Schools

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AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

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AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ted Cruz are at it again on Twitter. This time it’s about immigration policy. After recently traveling to the US-Mexican border to underline the recent rise in immigration, Cruz accused AOC of pushing for a “full open borders” policy.

And of course, AOC got him with some solid zingers.

AOC in turn hit back at Cruz for recently fleeing his home state of Texas during its power grid collapse to vacation in Cancún.

In response to Cruz’s attack, AOC suggested Mexico avoid allowing Cruz in the next time he attempts to vacation there. She also called on him to resign from office for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“Ted, this is pretty rich coming from someone who fled their own home (and responsibilities) during an environmental crisis to cross the border and seek refuge in Mexico,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Also you funded cages, expanded cages, and yet you’re complaining about cages. You have no policy, just puff.”

Ocasio-Cortez accused Republicans of hypocritically attacking the current administration’s detention of migrant children at the border after they supported President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant parents from their children.

Currently, Democrats like AOC are calling on Biden to impliment more liberal immigration policies.

Republicans have strongly expressed their dislike for the recent rise in migrants which has come as a result of Biden’s reversal of Trump’s most rigid border policies.

AOC is currently a co-sponsor of the Roadmap to Freedom resolution. The resolution calls on the Federal Government to develop and implement a Roadmap to Freedom “in order to overhaul the outdated immigration system in the United States that has gone without significant reform for decades, and to relieve the great human impact an unjust system bears on communities around the country.”

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Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

Things That Matter

Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

Photo via George W. Davis, Public Domain

Today, March 22nd marks Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud in Puerto Rico–the date that marks the emancipation of slaves in Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, enslaved peoples were emancipated in 1873–a full decade after the U.S. officially abolished slavery. But unlike the U.S. mainland, Puerto Rico celebrates today as an official holiday, where many businesses are closed.

The emancipation of Puerto Rican slaves was a very different process than the United States’. For one, the emancipation was gradual and over three years.

When the Spanish government abolished slavery in Puerto Rico 1873, enslaved men and women had to buy their freedom. The price was set by their “owners”. The way the emancipated slaves bought their freedom was through a process that was very similar to sharecropping in the post-war American south. Emancipated slaves farmed, sold goods, and worked in different trades to “buy” their freedom.

In the same Spanish edict that abolished slavery, slaves over the age of 60 were automatically freed. Enslaved children who were 5-years-old and under were also automatically freed.

Today, Black and mixed-race Puerto Ricans of Black descent make up a large part of Puerto Rico’s population.

The legacy of enslaved Black Puerto Ricans is a strong one. Unlike the United States, Puerto Rico doesn’t classify race in such black-and-white terms. Puerto Ricans are taught that everyone is a mixture of three groups of people: white Spanish colonizers, Black African slaves, and the indigenous Taíno population.

African influences on Puerto Rican culture is ubiquitous and is present in Puerto Rican music, cuisine, and even in the way that the island’s language evolved. And although experts estimate that up to 60% of Puerto Ricans have significant African ancestry, almost 76% of Puerto Ricans identified as white only in the latest census poll–a phenomenon that many sociologists have blamed on anti-blackness.

On Puerto Rico’s Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud, many people can’t help but notice that the island celebrates a day of freedom and independence when they are not really free themselves.

As the fight for Puerto Rican decolonization rages on, there is a bit of irony in the fact that Puerto Rico is one of the only American territories that officially celebrates the emancipation of slaves, when Puerto Rico is not emancipated from the United States. Yes, many Black Americans recognize Juneteenth (June 19th) as the official day to celebrate emancipation from slavery, but it is not an official government holiday.

Perhaps, Puerto Rico celebrates this historical day of freedom because they understand how important the freedom and independence is on a different level than mainland Americans do.

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