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A reported blog on happenings around Latin America.

Decision time for PR

Is Puerto Rico ready to decide its future?
Pr flag 2011 10 05Enlarge
Will PR become the 51st state? (Maxi Failla/AFP/Getty Images)

The governor of Puerto Rico said that he plans to hold a referendum next year to decide on its future. 

Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, which means that its residents are U.S. citizens who can't vote for the U.S. president. It's kind of a strange set up, if you think about it. 

The referendum would offer three choices: to become independent, join the U.S. as an American state, or maintain a status similar to its current commonwealth position. 

Puerto Ricans have voted three times before on this issue, but weren't able to come to a majority. So nothing has changed. 

Governor Luis Fortuno's plans to hold another vote comes as U.S. President Barack Obama said recently that without a clear majority of Puerto Ricans in favor of a new arrangement, the island's status would remain unchanged.

In a televised address, Fortuno said "the moment has come."

But his critics said that Puerto Rico's high unemployment, and a recent crime wave, should come first. The question of independence or statehood is a divisive one that could distract from solving these critical problems, they said.