By Chidera O. Nwosu
The conversation about whether statehood should be granted to Puerto Rico is a fraught one indeed.
It is paramount to understand that Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island that remains currently as an unincorporated territory to the United States.
Famed American linguist, Noam Chomsky, once said that American Imperialism is often traced to the takeover of Cuba, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico in 1898.
With that being said, if America is able to dictate economic, military and cultural influence in itself, other countries, and unincorporated territories such as Puerto Rico – then why isn’t Puerto Rico the 51st state?
A great place to begin, would be in conferring superlative peculiarities in which Puerto Rico is hailed for.
Puerto Rico, known for its beautiful lands and mountains, the El Yunque tropical rainforest, and cultural Spanish colonial buildings, is often regarded as a place of tourism.
On a more serious note, Puerto Rico is a populated territory, in which its populace is greater than half of the states formally incorporated into the United States.
Many people are often unaware that Puerto Rico is quite established with common languages being both Spanish and English.
For those reasons alone, Puerto Rico should be the 51st state.
Despite the fact that the Commonwealth government has its own tax laws, Puerto Ricans are already required to pay most US federal taxes.
To place this into perspective, in 2009, Puerto Rico paid $3.742 billion into the US Treasury.
With this in mind, if Puerto Rico – a U.S territory – is paying taxes to the U.S federal government, why should statehood even be a question?
Puerto Ricans have been granted U.S. citizenship since 1917. In other words, Puerto Ricans have been granted U.S citizenships for 99 years (1-year shy from a century) and admittance into the U.S has yet to occur.
In 2012, 61% of voters supported statehood.
More than half of eligible voters, voted in advocating of beginning the process in admitting Puerto Rico to the Union.
The people of Puerto Rico spoke and they want Congress to answer their demands.
It is vital for Puerto Rico to become formally recognized and incorporated into the United States because it elevates the quality of life in Puerto Rico, aids in its economic salvation, and fashions innovative and integrative access to education and career opportunities.
The latter issue is quite problematic as Puerto Rico is losing doctors on a daily basis.
It is even more caustic, how Puerto Ricans pay US federal taxes but have little to no say in governmental actions.
As Chomsky states, American Imperialism has been deeply rooted in Puerto Rico – why not just harvest it?
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Cover Photo Credit: Juan Cristobal Zulueta/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)