• Puerto Rico was once a Spanish colony.• When the US defeated Spain in the Spanish- American War, Spain gave Puerto Rico to the US.• Puerto Rico is part of the United States. Puerto Ricans are United States citizens.• A citizen is an individual with certain rights and responsibilities under a particular government.
BUT PUERTO RICO IS NOT A STATE!• Puerto Rico is a “commonwealth” of the United States.• A commonwealth is a self-governing political unit that has strong ties to a particular country.
• Puerto Ricans cannot vote in US elections.• They do not pay United States taxes.• They can and do serve in the US military.• Puerto Rico has its own lawmakers and constitution.
• Many Puerto Ricans move to the mainland United States.• Many people travel back and forth between the mainland and Puerto Rico.
• Much of Puerto Rico is made up of hills and mountains.• Puerto Ricans hunt, fish, and raise chickens, pigs, and cattle.• Sugarcane is grown.
• As people travel back and forth, they bring customs and products with them.• There is much influence from the US.• Most people are of Spanish and African ancestry.
• Puerto Rican cities show influences of Spanish, Caribbean, and US mainland culture.• About 75% of Puerto Ricans live in cities.• San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital, has skyscrapers and old Spanish-style buildings.• Many people work in factories, hotels, and restaurants.• Tourism is a big industry.
COMMONWEALTH OR STATEHOOD?• Should Puerto Rico become an independent country?• Should Puerto Rico become the 51st state in the US?• Should Puerto Rico remain a commonwealth?
• Puerto Ricans have many disagreements over what the status of their islands should be.• If Puerto Rico becomes a state, it will be the poorest state in the union.• Puerto Ricans will be able to vote.• Puerto Ricans will have to pay taxes.• In the past twenty years, Puerto Ricans have voted not to become the 51st state.
• If Puerto Rico becomes a separate country, no one will be confused about their identity.• Puerto Ricans want to make sure that they identify with the Spanish language and Spanish culture.
BCR• Identify the three choices that Puerto Rico has for its future. Use information from the text to support your answer.