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Voters in Puerto Rico Approves Statehood Referendum

The U.S. island territory of Puerto Rico suffered during Barack Obama’s eight years. Now, voters are demanding change and they overwhelmingly approved a referendum in favor of becoming America’s 51st state. Of the 23% of the 2.2 million eligible voters, a whopping 97% voted for statehood.

Would you support adding another star to the American flag?

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello campaigned for statehood as the best avenue to boost future growth for the island, which has $70 billion in debt, a 45 percent poverty rate, woefully underperforming schools and near-insolvent pension and health systems.

“From today going forward, the Federal government will no longer be able to ignore the voice of the majority of the American citizens in Puerto Rico,” Rossello said in a statement.

“It would be highly contradictory for Washington to demand democracy in other parts of the world, and NOT respond to the legitimate right to self-determination that was exercised today in the American territory of Puerto Rico,” he added.

Puerto Rico’s hazy political status, dating back to its 1898 acquisition by the United States from Spain, has contributed to the economic crisis that pushed it last month into the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.[…]

The island’s two main opposition parties boycotted the vote, which gave Puerto Ricans three options: becoming a U.S. state; remaining a territory; or becoming an independent nation, with or without some continuing political association with the United States.

As Armondo Abreu, a 74-year-old-retiree said after voting, “I voted for statehood. Even if it’s still a long way off in the distance, it’s our only hope.”

Statehood would give Puetro Rico access to federal funds and the right to vote for president. However, under the current arrangement, their 3.5 million American citizens do not pay federal taxes, nor do they receive funding for programs such as Medicaid.

Here’s what the flag might look like with the extra star. The same pattern of alternating rows of 5 and 6 stars work. The same pattern would work with alternative rows of 8 and 9 stars too.

What would you think about America adding a 51st state? Please leave us a comment (below) and tell us.