Photo: Puerto Rico statehood
The White House clarified its stance on the political status of Puerto Rico saying that the results of a non-binding referendum last month were clear, and it urged Congress to move forward on the matter.
“To clarify, the results were clear, the people of Puerto Rico want the issue of status resolved, and majority chose statehood in the second question,” White House spokesman Luis Miranda said in a statement.
“Now it is time for Congress to act and the administration will work with them on that effort, so that the people of Puerto Rico can determine their own future,” he said.
Puerto Ricans voted 54 percent to 46 percent to put an end to their current status as a Free Associated State of the United States.
In a second question on the referendum, the majority of those who expressed an opinion said that their preferred option for resolving the situation would be full U.S. statehood.
On Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the results of the referendum were “a little less clear than that because of the process itself.”
More than 460,000 Puerto Ricans who voted on the first status question did not respond to the second question.
Puerto Ricans had spoken at the polls on the matter in 1967, 1993 and 1998, occasions on which they were asked to choose among the options of the prevailing commonwealth arrangement, independence, statehood, a commonwealth with greater autonomy or none of the above.
In the first two votes, maintaining the commonwealth association “as is” was chosen, while in 1998 the “none of the above” option received the most support.