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Puerto Rico makes history with vote for statehood

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 12 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 12 2012 10:11:47 PM CST

Puerto Rico makes history with vote for statehood

Puerto Rico may become the 51st state if voters have their way.

However, it may not be as clear cut as it seems because the referendum itself was not a simple yes or no question.

In the first question on a two part ballot, 54 percent voted to change the island's status as a commonwealth.

In the second question which was split in two, 61 percent voted for statehood while 33 percent voted to become a sovereign nation.

Yet close to 470 thousand voters who voted on the first part that asked about changing the island's status did not vote on the second part of the ballot measure that asked about their preferred status.

Which leaves many to wonder do the majority of Puerto Ricans want statehood?

If you ask Luis Sanabria, a Puerto Rican activist who believes in complete independence the answer is no.

“I think the United States doesn't want it to be a state, I think the majority of people don't want it to be a state and I want it to be a free independent country....It would destroy your whole culture, the whole everything” said Sanabria.

Turns out Puerto Ricans on the streets of Bethlehem weren't all on the same page either.

“I don't approve of it, I'd rather have them stay the way they are, independent and they're better off the way they are instead of becoming a state” said Elsy Morales.

“Right now in Puerto Rico they don't have jobs or anything and they pay so little so people are just trying to move somewhere else because they don't have jobs. Now probably with being a state we would have more jobs” said Felipe Montes who prefers statehood.

This was the first such referendum to be passed in more than 45 years.

Puerto Rico has been operating under colonial and commonwealth rule for more than 500 years.