By Angelice Romero |Staff Writer|
It has been 61 years since Puerto Rico became a commonwealth of the United States, so why is it still not a state when it obviously should be?
The answer is politics.
Being Puerto Rican-American, I see firsthand the struggles Puerto Rico is going through and how becoming a state would benefit us.
The education system in Puerto Rico is terrible and lacks major funding.
According to The New York Times, riots started because of a 50 percent tuition increase of $800.
This not only shows the struggles of the University of Puerto Rico campuses but it also represents the struggle of Puerto Rico and it’s people.
The 2010 and 2012 census in Puerto Rico shows there has been a decrease of nearly 59,000 people.
Many Puerto Ricans moved from their homeland because they found better education and job opportunities here in the United States.
The benefits that I have here, I know I would never have in Puerto Rico.
This is why my family, and so many others, have decided to make a life in the U.S. instead of staying in Puerto Rico.
Many believe that staying a commonwealth would preserve Puerto Rican culture and language.
People who believe this compare Puerto Rico’s situation to Hawaii because their language and culture was eventually lost due to colonization and statehood.
I believe that within 50 years Spanish will no longer be the primary language of Puerto Rico but honestly, this is already in effect.
Unless you are in the rural areas of Puerto Rico, you will hear more English than Spanish.
In the capital of Puerto Rico, San Juan, if you can’t speak English, you won’t be able to find a decent job.
In reality, our culture and our language will never be completely lost because Puerto Ricans are prideful people and our culture defines us.
If Puerto Rico does not vote to become a state, eventually the economy will get worse.
Proving that the citizens of Puerto Rico are divided on the issue, they voted out the pro-statehood nominee and instead voted in a Governor who is in favor of being a commonwealth.
However, during the same election Puerto Ricans voted 54 percent to change their current status, 61 percent of those chose joining the U.S. as a state over becoming a commonwealth.
Yes we are U.S. citizens and yes we get almost as many benefits as people who actually live in the United States but it’s a financial burden to just be a commonwealth.
To me, Puerto Ricans not voting for official statehood in the last election was a mistake because financially, Puerto Rico is struggling.
We all know the economy in the United States is in the toilet but it is far better off than Puerto Rico.
U.S. News reported that President Barack Obama said he will support Puerto Rico on the status change but Puerto Rico has to vote for statehood first.
Becoming a state would be beneficial to Puerto Rico in more ways than people believe.
It would give Puerto Rican people a better education opportunities and create more jobs which is what we all need right now.