Juan Negrón Ocasio

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Por Juan Negrón Ocasio
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Consequences of Statehood for Puerto Rico

The present economic crisis of Puerto Rico placed a heads-up on USA Senators, as well as international political observers. The hot topic in the hearings of the Special Committee on Decolonization in the United Nations (2016), was the island’s political status and the “right to self-determination and sovereignty”. Certainly statehood was eradicated. Although that status may beget some benefits for Puerto Ricans, as sold by the “statehooders” there will be major consequences also. Obviously, state promoters will mention only attractive financial endeavors. There are a series of facts that will impact Puerto Ricans as a result of the statehood.

The World Olympics took place in Rio de Janeiro (2016). The athletes that represented our country with pride carried solely the Puerto Rican flag. No other. In this worldwide competition they demonstrate special human qualities. The athletes who represented Puerto Rico were welcomed having won any or no medals. Puerto Rico’s first Olympic gold medalist Ms. Mónica Puig was received as a hero. This epic accomplishment of Puerto Ricans will be done-away with the advent of statehood.

In all 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico, there are traditional feasts celebrated throughout the year. These festivals pay tribute to the patron saint of each municipality. During these holidays, it is demonstrated idiosyncrasy and pride. The religious ceremonies and traditional attributes of each town will be wiped out with the arrival of an all American acculturation. The patron festivals wiped out, and Puerto Ricans can wave farewell to the festival of El Ñame, El Maví, La Bomba, !

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, repudiates the death penalty, contrary to many states in the USA. It is a Christian gesture. The constitution and local laws of Puerto Rico will be eradicated; laws will be imposed to abolish customs, traditions, arts, music and all the scaffolding of our unique modus vivendi. All the states fall under mandates of the Federal Government. Last year, the governor of New Jersey refused to accept immigrants from Syria: "No immigrant shall enter NJ not even 5 year old orphans …," said Christie. Nonetheless, the immigrants arrived in NJ. The supreme government of the USA is the Federal Government. According to the U.S. State Department, states were ordered to receive Syrian refugees: California (218), Texas (194), Michigan (188), and New Jersey (75). The governors must obey Federal Laws.

Congress will not provide an economic free-ride simply because Puerto Rico becomes a state. Imported basic merchandise will be more expensive; cars, businesses, and properties will need to have private insurance and pay higher taxes than currently. According to DSNEWS, usually 30-31% of family income goes to pay a mortgage. Here are some examples of average monthly mortgages: Hawaii-$1,536; California-$1,445, and New Jersey-$1,237. The average monthly property tax is $850; adding up the cost of utilities, and home insurance, brings the monthly amount to $1,100.00, plus the mortgage payment. In Puerto Rico, the average salary is $2,096.00 a month, or $25,152.00 per year www.bls.gov/regions/.  In order to financially survive there would have to be a net income in the island of at least $45,684 per year. All homes and farms will pay higher property taxes under statehood. While, it’s true that cost of living and taxes varies according to the state, it does not necessarily mean that the cost of living will be less under statehood in PR, and again statehood brings with it enormous economic consequences.

According to the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, the Puerto Ricans living in the US have a poverty level hovering at 24%. The English language requirement has consistently been a demand of US Senators for Puerto Rican statehood advocates, and most of them do not speak, read, or write English properly. In the island 86.5% speaks only Spanish. In 2012, 74% disagreed with the present political status, and only about 24% voted for statehood.

In basic terms, Puerto Rico as a state of the USA will lose all aspects of its culture, and will enter an enormous economic disaster. It may be true that statehood brings some benefits, but the consequences are not as beneficial as it is pictured. 

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