Things That Matter

As Puerto Rico Votes To Become The 51st State, Here’s What Happens Next

The relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico has long been contentious, ever since the Spanish-American War in 1898. Since then, the Caribbean island has been in a strange limbo position between a ‘U.S. Territory’ and unofficially as the world’s oldest colony.

Although they’re U.S. citizens in name and passport, Puerto Rican’s who live in Puerto Rico cannot vote for president, don’t have voting representation in Congress, and have been saddled with a fiscal oversight board (PROMESA) in order to repay its debts—forcing austerity on residents suffering a 23% unemployment rate and a much higher rate of poverty than the incorporated states.

But this week, on Election Day, Puerto Ricans voted—for the sixth time since 1967—on whether they prefer the ongoing territorial status, or to become a U.S. state and the results are in: it’s pro-statehood.

Last week, Puerto Ricans voted to support U.S. statehood.

As Puerto Ricans voted on Tuesday for their local leaders, there was another decision they had to make: Whether or not the island territory should be admitted as the newest U.S. state. Although it’s a non-binding referendum and not expected to change Puerto Rico’s status anytime soon, it was still seen as a barometer of Puerto Ricans’ appetite for statehood.

So far, with most of the votes counted, residents narrowly favored statehood with 52% of the vote while about 47% of voters were against it, according to the election commission’s website.

Although the U.S. mainland still sees Puerto Rico as a commonwealth, many Puerto Ricans, including the island’s Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, a Republican, say the island is constantly treated as a colony.

“Sometimes it’s a little bit ironic that the beacon of democracy in the world, which is the United States, is fighting for equality and fighting for democracy and yet you get it in your own backyard — the oldest colony, with more than 120 years without allowing Puerto Rican’s to vote for president, to vote in Congress or to even have federal laws apply equally to American citizens on the island,” said González, who was reelected as commissioner last Tuesday.

But what’s next? There are many obstacles standing in the way.

Even though President-Elect Joe Biden is a backer of statehood, as are top Democrats in the House and Senate and some Florida Republicans, it’s unclear how much of a priority Puerto Rico would be if Democrats take control of both the White House and Congress. The drive is complicated by a separate but often-paired push for statehood for the District of Columbia.

“It is unlikely that the question of Puerto Rico as a state will be taken up by the Congress,” says political scientist and researcher Carlos Vargas Ramos, in an interview with ABC News.

Aside from being a nonbinding referendum, Ramos said voter turnout in this referendum could still be an issue for Congress. As of September 2020, there were around 2.3 million eligible voters on the island, according to the election commission’s website. From those eligible voters, nearly 1.2 million people answered the statehood plebiscite.

“It’s gonna be difficult for advocates of statehood to argue that this is a clear mandate to push for statehood, particularly when you have a Congress that is reluctant to take up the question,” added Vargas Ramos.

Puerto Rican statehood would create consequences far beyond the island.

Credit: Alejandro Granadillo / Getty Images

Although the referendum only dealt with Puerto Rico’s future, it could have ramifications far beyond the territory. Puerto Rican statehood would mean Americans on the island could vote in presidential elections, have quick access to federal aid in crises and gain full representation in Congress.

“Puerto Ricans get treated in many ways like second-class citizens,” U.S. Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.), who has introduced his own bill setting forth a process of admission for the island, said in an interview with ABC News.

In Congress, statehood for Puerto Rico would result in two new senators and four representatives to the House. If the District of Columbia gains statehood at the same time, that would mean another two senators and one additional House member.

The decision could even have implications for travelers to the island.

Right now, about 95 percent of visitors to Puerto Rico come from the U.S., but many in the tourism industry would like to see more international visitors from Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Currently, citizens of the whole of nearby Latin America and the Caribbean require a visa to enter the U.S., and thus Puerto Rico.

And thanks to the pandemic the island has suffered huge losses in tourism dollars. Thelack of control that Puerto Rico has over its own travel regulations means that the industry will have to wait quite a while to make up for that loss, while the U.S. at large continues to be an undesirable destination for international travelers.

The matter is complicated by the Jones Act of 1920, which requires that all goods come to Puerto Rico through the U.S. If this were finally overturned, it would allow direct trade with other nations and decrease the prices of food and other items sold on the island. Right now, travelers looking to the Caribbean can go to the Dominican Republic much more affordably.

Despite the ongoing uncertainty, one thing is clear: things need to change.

The relationship between the U.S. and its Puerto Rican territory has long been one of violence; independence movements and even the flag have been made illegal in the past by the U.S. This reality is often hidden from travelers, but should be acknowledged and respected.

But where the island goes from here is not a cut-and-dry question, as deep ties have developed over the more than 100 years of colonialism that would require years of change, whether sovereignty were won or statehood were decided upon. 

That moment might be coming: Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is now trying to push the Puerto Rican Self-Determination Act of 2020, which would form a status convention made up of Puerto Rican voters who would be tasked with deciding upon a long-term solution. In the meantime, travelers should remember that sun, sand, and rum don’t tell the whole story—and that the future of the archipelago should be determined by Puerto Ricans.

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Bad Bunny Is Spotify’s Most Streamed Artist In The World For 2020

Entertainment

Bad Bunny Is Spotify’s Most Streamed Artist In The World For 2020

Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for dcp

Bad Bunny has quickly become one of the most beloved artists in the world. The Puerto Rican artist’s career has skyrocketed over the past couple of years and there is no slowing him down. Spotify’s 2020 wrap showed that Bad Bunny is indeed one of the most popular artists in the world.

Bad Bunny’s music is taking over the world and there is proof.

The singer is Spotify’s most-streamed artist in 2020 according to the platform’s yearly round-up. Last year Bad Bunny was the fifth most-streamed artist in the world so this was definitely a bigger and better year for San Benito.

Bad Bunny is not the only Latino at the top of the Spotify streaming charts. J Balvin came in at third place giving Latin music more recognition as one of the most popular genres.

Bad Bunny also come in wit Spotify’s most stream album of the year.

“YHLQMDLG” is Bad Bunny’s second studio album and it has been a quantifiable success. The album reached No. 1 in the U.S. on the Independent Albums Billboard, Top Latin Albums Billboard, and Latin Rhythm Albums Billboard charts.

Last year, Camila Cabello represented for the Latinas. The Cuban-Mexican-American pop star was all over the Spotify charts. Namely, Cabello was the fourth most-streamed female artist and “Señorita,” her collab with Shawn Mendes, was the most streamed song on Spotify for 2019.

Bad Bunny kept himself super relevant while in quarantine because his social media game is strong.

Bad Bunny kept his music coming while in quarantine. The Puerto Rican super star kept making things happen. He even created a quarantine anthem that he recorded with his significant other. Who could forget when “En Casita” hit Soundcloud? It was Bad Bunny’s way fo make quarantine worth it and trying to make sure that everyone did what they need to do to get past this pandemic.

Latin music’s popularity is growing fast around the world.

Artists like Bad Bunny, Karol G, and J Balvin are taking the Latin sounds and taking them international. More and more people are tuning in to the songs that make our own communities bump. With the way things are going, Latin music’s world takeover is not going to stop anytime soon.

READ: Bad Bunny Gives Us His Third Album Of The Year And Fans Worry He’s About To Retire From Music

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Bad Bunny Gives Us His Third Album Of The Year And Fans Worry He’s About To Retire From Music

Entertainment

Bad Bunny Gives Us His Third Album Of The Year And Fans Worry He’s About To Retire From Music

Amy Sussman / Getty Images

Although so many of us were left to celebrate Thanksgiving without friends and families this year, we can all agree that we have at least one thing to be grateful for: Bad Bunny’s third album of 2020.

Despite all the odds imposed against us thanks to a global health crisis, Bad Bunny has made 2020 his year. He’s now released three complete albums along with several solo tracks and has even started work on his acting debut in the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico.

And although we’re grateful for this new album – which has some serious bops on it – many aren’t exactly celebrating the release. Many fear that this may be his last album, as rumors swirl that San Benito is going into retirement.

Bad Bunny surprise released his third album of 2020: El Último Tour Del Mundo.

Bad Bunny is setting fire to 2020 with album after album and hit after hit – and all of it despite much of the world’s attention being on the Coronavirus pandemic. Despite all the odds, our San Benito has released three albums, including his most recent one, El Último Tour del Mundo, which dropped on Thanksgiving.

The artist took to social media to announce the new album, which debuted at midnight on Thanksgiving. In addition to his recent hit, “Dakiti,” with Jhay Cortez, the album also features collaborations with Rosalía and ABRA.

El Último Tour del Mundo follows the March release of YHLQMDLG, which made history as the highest-charting Spanish language album ever, and his surprise follow-up in May, Las Que No Iban a Salir. 

Along with new music, Bad Bunny also blessed us with an incredible video for the album’s lead single.

The album came out at midnight Thanksgiving morning and racked up millions of views within hours of its release. But Bad Bunny wasn’t done surprising us yet.

Following a day full of Thanksgiving festivities, Benito also dropped a star-studded music video for the debut single from the album, “Yo Visto Así.”

The video features appearances from Ricky Martin, Sofia Vergara, Ryan Garcia, Karol G, Luka Sabbat and more, as Bad Bunny sings about the fact that he he’s going to dress however he wants to, no matter how anybody else feels about it. Now that’s an anthem I can get behind!

But many on social media are worried that this could be the reggaetonero’s final album.

Of course, fans of El Conejo Malo were quick to celebrate the new album. In fact, two tracks from the album (“Dákiti” and “La Noche de Anoche”) are already two of the top 10 most streamed songs on Spotify. But others became suspicious given the album’s name, El Último Tour del Mundo. It caused speculation among fans wondering if he was planning on retiring.

Fans are worried that the album might actually live up to its title and signal Bad Bunny’s early retirement. Although he hasn’t yet confirmed or denied the rumors, the truth is that the reggaetonero is already working on new music with Rosalía, so we still have at least a bit more music to look forward to.

There’s speculation that the music giant wants to spend more time to focus on his acting career, especially now that it’s been announced he’ll be making his acting debut in Netflix’s Narcos: Mexico.

It all stems back to a track from Yo Hago Lo Que Me De La Gana.

On “<3,” the final track from Yo Hago Lo Que Me De La Gana,  Bad Bunny  promised fans he would release another album in 9 months–and he did exactly that. 

“Y en nueve mese‘ vuelvo y saco otro / Pa‘ retirarme tranquilo como Miguel Cotto,” Bunny said on the project he released back in February, promising both another release in November and also, his retirement. 

Now that he’s made good on the first promise, it remains to be seen as to whether or not he will follow through on the second half. Hopefully, that’s not the case.

There’s even rumors that El Conejo might be leaving music – at least temporarily – to focus on politics.

Aside from subtle hints dropped by Bad Bunny himself and a flurry of rumors from concerned fans, a prestigious Cuban clairvoyant has also come forward with her own predictions on the future of Bad Bunny.

Mhoni Vidente, a Cuban fortune teller, has said that Bad Bunny will retire from music to devote himself to politics: “About Bad Bunny I see that in the future he will be president of Puerto Rico, governor, that he is going to be in politics and that he is going to bring a new era in political matters to all his people in the United States and Puerto Rico.”

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