Statehood would eliminate the legal inequalities that exist. The brainchild of Luis Muñoz Marín and the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), Commonwealth was originally supposed to be a transitory, intermediate status between full independence and annexation as a state of the American union. But, Puerto Rico’s relationship to the United States remains hotly debated. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico Is a Commonwealth Congress granted Puerto Rico the right to elect its own governor and exist as a U.S. territory with commonwealth status in 1952. Territories Quarters Program. In 1950, the US Congress passed, and President Harry S. Truman signed, Public Law 600, authorizing a convention to draft a constitution and establish a republican form of government in Puerto Rico. The Commonwealth formula did not substantially alter the Island’s legal, political, and economic dependence on the United States. Such laws and regulations still apply to the people of Puerto Rico without their consent or control. The Puerto Rico quarter is the second in the 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Those who claim Puerto Rico is still a colony argue that Puerto Rico was vested with the commonwealth status by the U.S. Congress to give the appearance of self … Acquired by the United States from Spain in 1898, Puerto Rico has a peculiar status among Latin American and Caribbean countries. How did Puerto Rico become a US Commonwealth? However, even with move, Puerto Ricans, along with residents of areas such as the US. No, Puerto Rico is not a state, but rather a Commonwealth of the United States. Puerto Rico is currently in a state of financial crisis, expecting to […] The US governs its economy, currency, international trade relations, import/export quotas, shipping, consumer prices, judicial code, military, postal system, FCC licensing, and the US congress has plenary jurisdiction (veto power) over any law or regulation passed by the insular legislature. This legislation was meant to declare that Puerto Rico, though still under overall control of the United States, had self-rule. Puerto Rico is currently a commonwealth of the United States. On This Page. The confusion and lack of understanding over the “Commonwealth” option in Puerto Rico led to inconclusive plebiscite results in 1967, 1993 and 1998. On Election Day in November 2020, Puerto Ricans voted in favor of a referendum to become a state. No, Puerto Rico is not an independent nation or country. What does that mean? Catch up with the authors of the What Everyone Needs to Know series on the OUPblog every other week. The What Everyone Needs to Know (WENTK) series offers a balanced and authoritative primer on complex current event issues and countries. The US Congress approved the constitution (after requiring several changes, especially in its bill of rights) on 3 July of that same year; Puerto Rico’s Constitutional Convention approved it seven days later, and the new Commonwealth status was proclaimed on 25 July 1952. 5 Reasons Why Puerto Rico Probably Won't Become The 51st State. As a commonwealth, they get many national protections, but don't have to pay any federal taxes, which makes it an attractive place for businesses and wealthy people who want to avoid taxes. Puerto Rico is not currently eligible for the food stamp program that exists for disaster victims in the United States because it is not an official state. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. However, dissatisfaction with the island’s political status continued. The island can only vote in presidential primaries, for their governor, and for a Resident Commissioner whom they send to Congress more as an observer than an elected vote provider. Explorer Christopher Columbus arrived at Puerto Rico (“rich port”) in 1493, and it soon became a Spanish colony and important military outpost. They would retain that right under statehood but probably lose it after independence. Nearly half of Americans don’t know that Puerto Ricans are US citizens. In 1948, Puerto Rico elected its own governor for the first time under U.S. control. The President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico. This legislation was meant to declare that Puerto Rico, though still under overall control of the United States, had self-rule. The United States is composed of 50 states, plus some additional land that belongs to the U.S. and is governed directly by the federal government. The truth is, it is not because Puerto Ricans do or do not want statehood or because being a Commonwealth has a number of benefits. Most important, the vast majority of Puerto Ricans imagine themselves as distinct from Americans as well as from other Latin American and Caribbean peoples. Find contact information and major state agencies and offices for the government of Puerto Rico. The term harks back to the area's constitution, which "simply deems it as such", says the Merriam-Webster dictionary. So why are we continuesoly bailing them out with financial aid and from what I have seen a inordinate number of their citizens commit crimes in the US then bail back to PR to avoid being charged. Featured image credit: “Flags” by MariamS. Main Address: PO Box 9020082 San Juan , PR, 00902-0082. The Island possesses many of the symbolic attributes of modern nations, including a national flag and anthem; national heroes and rituals; a national system of universities, museums, and other cultural institutions; a well-developed national tradition in literature and the visual arts; and national representation in international sports and beauty contests. But they are, and have been since 1917. The commonwealth. Seems to this humble reader that U.S.A. ought to be helping P.R. In recent years, Medicaid costs have increased in Puerto Rico because of economic downturns, public health emergencies like the Zika outbreak and the COVID-19 pandemic, and natural disasters like Hurricane Maria and earthquakes. Though it legally has no significance, the title of "commonwealth" has come into question during disputes over the future of Puerto Rico's status as a territory … Moreover, Congress or the president could apply federal regulations selectively to Puerto Rico, resulting in both concessions and revocations of special privileges. In 1952, Puerto Rico officially became a Commonwealth of the United States. Here are the reasons why this Oregon metals fabricator’s plant in Puerto Rico is their leading profit maker worldwide. Another benefit the island enjoys is the aid provided by the United States and the tax exemption the island receives; Puerto Rico is exempt from paying federal taxes. ... State Agencies State Government Official Name: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Another benefit the island enjoys is the aid provided by the United States and the tax exemption the island receives; Puerto Rico is exempt from paying federal taxes. […] Numerous legal documents, from 1952 until now, say that there was no change in Puerto Rico’s political status in 1952. The 2012 referendum confirmed this, with 54% of voters voting against the status quo. In the excerpt below, author Jorge Duany provides the necessary background for understanding the inner workings of the Commonwealth government and the island’s relationship to the United States. Puerto Rico meets most of the objective and subjective criteria of conventional views of the nation—among them a shared territory, language, and history, except for sovereignty. Americans who travel between the continental U.S. and its commonwealths do not need a passport. Officially, the Island was no longer considered a US colony. The territories are the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico (which, in Spanish, officially calls itself the 'Free Associated State of Puerto Rico').. Here is another ad in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Series — perhaps one of the most effective business development advertising campaigns ever devised.. Why Puerto Rico is the most profitable of Omark Industries’ 14 plant sites in 5 countries. Governor: Wanda Vázquez Garced . Excise taxes. Commonwealth status represented a greater degree of political autonomy for Puerto Rico in local matters, such as elections, taxation, economic development, education, health, housing, culture, and language. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. And now cryptocurrency advocates from around the world have converged on Puerto Rico with the vision of making the island the epicenter of this multitrillion-dollar market. In response, Puerto Rico held a constitutional convention, establishing its own republican form of government and bill of rights. In a 2017 plebiscite, 97% of voters again chose statehood. Written by leading authorities in their given fields, in a concise question-and-answer format, the books provide inquiring minds with the essential knowledge needed to engage with the issues that matter today. Puerto Rico, a tropical Caribbean travel destination and one of the islands of the Greater Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea, located 125 km (78 mi) east of the island Hispaniola, (which is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic). For decades, the Island’s intellectual elite has striven to define a national identity based on defending the Spanish language, the Hispanic heritage, and other popular customs. In addition to reforming the Puerto Rican economy, the PPD modified the island’s political relationship with the United States. Puerto Ricans can't agree on whether they want to join the union, remain a U.S. commonwealth or (as a small percentage argue) go it alone as a … […], Your email address will not be published. Unlike the Philippines, which became independent in 1946, and Hawaii, which became a state in 1959, the future of Puerto Rico's political status continues to be uncertain. Pro-statehood and pro-independence critics contend that Commonwealth is a colonial status because of the lack of effective representation and unrestricted congressional and executive power over Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico Is a Commonwealth Congress granted Puerto Rico the right to elect its own governor and exist as a U.S. territory with commonwealth status in 1952. In 1952, Puerto Rico got commonwealth status with a local self-government. Hence, both the political and economic bases of the Estado Libre Asociado have wavered. Or subscribe to articles in the subject area by email or RSS. In a 2002 poll, 60 percent of those interviewed on the Island identified Puerto Rico as their nation; about 17 percent considered both Puerto Rico and the United States to be their nation; and only 20 percent chose the United States alone. Pennsylvania is officially a commonwealth, a word which comes from Old English and means the "common weal" or well-being of the public. Rather, Puerto Rican voters have reiterated an overwhelming preference for US citizenship and permanent union with the United States. We bail them out just like we bail out farmers and people after hurricanes and tornadoes. The Puerto Rico quarter is the second in the 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. “Commonwealth” is clearly not an option that the U.S. federal government accepts – as a matter of law or policy. US authorities and Commonwealth sympathizers have long argued that the Puerto Rican people exercised their right to self-determination. 32 of the 50 states used to be territories, so the definition of a territory often includes the fact that the place isn’t yet a state. I grew up in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico during the 2006-Present Puerto Rican Government Debt Crisis. I am now that much better informed. What does that mean? However, even with move, Puerto Ricans, along with residents of areas such as the US. Other basic elements of US-Puerto Rico relations established before 1952 include the adoption of the US dollar as the Island’s currency, US customs control, US citizenship, federal labor legislation, welfare benefits, and an elected governor. Because Puerto Rico is currently a commonwealth, its status as a territory does not allow citizens to vote in the same number of elections when compared to households in the 50 states. Its name in English is the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is not a state, and thus, federal taxes do not apply generally to income generated within the commonwealth; Puerto Rico corporations are treated for federal tax purposes as foreign corporations and are not generally subject to U.S. corporate taxes. In 1998, no “Commonwealth” option was allowed on the plebiscite ballot. Since Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States, it follows the United States' customs duties and import tariffs. Puerto Rico, which is Spanish for “Rich Port” is also officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico – Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit, which translates to the “Free Associated State of Puerto Rico.” Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeast, where the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of 20 books, including several works about Puerto Rico. Our Privacy Policy sets out how Oxford University Press handles your personal information, and your rights to object to your personal information being used for marketing to you or being processed as part of our business activities. Puerto Rico. United States officials representing all three branches of government have rejected “Commonwealth” proposals as unconstitutional and unfeasible. A commonwealth is effectively the same thing as a state. But it also meant the United States retained control over military defense, transportation, communications, immigration, foreign trade and other affairs. The territories are the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico (which, in Spanish, officially calls itself the 'Free Associated State of Puerto Rico').. Since then, Puerto Ricans have voted several times on whether to become a state or not, but the idea has never become popular enough to sway a majority of voters. Even though Puerto Ricans are American citizens, they never pay the federal tax and are not allowed to participate in presidential elections. Phone Number: 1-787-721-7000. However, the nature of the “compact” between Puerto Rico and the United States has been disputed from its inception. Territories Quarters Program. A commonwealth is effectively the same thing as a state. Puerto Rico (Spanish for 'Rich Port'; abbreviated PR, Taino: Boriken, Borinquen), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Spanish: Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit. However, the US federal government remained in control of most state affairs, including citizenship, immigration, customs, defense, currency, transportation, communications, foreign trade, and diplomacy. The United States first colonized Puerto Rico in 1898. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. One reason Puerto Rico has trouble is that the USA doesn’t allow direct shipping but adds tariffs on Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is an organized unincorporated territory of the United States. Since then, there’s been an ongoing debate about what “commonwealth” means. He has published extensively on migration, ethnicity, race, nationalism, and transnationalism in the Hispanic Caribbean and the United States. A 2012 status referendum found that 61% supported statehood and in December 11 of that year, the legislature in Puerto Rico requested that action be taken on the results, end their current form of territorial status and start the process for admitting the country to the Union as a state. | Ramblin' with Roger, Puerto Rico at Mt. In 1952, Puerto Rico adopted the official name of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and a new constitution. Under the party’s proposal, Puerto Rico would not be a territory but not be a U.S. State or a nation. In 1952, Puerto Rico officially became a Commonwealth of the United States. When asked what new option they preferred, 61% chose statehood. Puerto Rico is often called a commonwealth, but that is actually just a word in the official title of the government of Puerto Rico. If Puerto Rico were to change its official administrative title from the “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico” to the “Official United States Property of Puerto Rico,” how would Puerto Ricans react? Under this arrangement, the Island’s electorate selects its own government, and its representatives pass its own laws. Jorge Duany is the Director of the Cuban Research Institute and Professor of Anthropology at Florida International University. It’s classified as an “unincorporated territory,” meaning the island is controlled by the U.S. government but is separate from the mainland. Like other citizens, Puerto Ricans do not need work visas (or green cards) to work or live in America. It is a territory of the United States organized as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico with its own elected Governor and legislature. Commonwealth is a term used by two unincorporated territories of the United States in their full official names. Why Is Puerto Rico a Territory? If you are from the U.S., it is easy to travel to Puerto Rico because the Commonwealth is a U.S. territory. It all started with the Spanish-American War, which began in the spring of 1898, when Puerto Rico was a Spanish territory.The U.S. invaded Puerto Rico not only because it was a … Let’s see… if you fall into financial trouble or you mismanage money should you be kicked out of this Country? Rico is a territory belonging to the United States, a responsibility of the U.S. Congress under the Territory Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In recent years, the US federal government has increasingly weakened the Commonwealth’s fiscal autonomy, in the wake of financial crisis. A: The commonwealth is a unique legal status established in Puerto Rico in 1952 that set up an internal structure for the island to govern itself, as well as allowing fiscal autonomy. That’s where National Commonwealth … Puerto Rico, an island in the Caribbean Sea, has been a territory of the United States since 1898, after the U.S. defeated Spain in the Spanish-American war. Despite this record, the Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico (which is not affiliated to the U.S. Democratic Party and is also known informally as the “Commonwealth” Party) was permitted to place a “Commonwealth” option on plebiscite ballots – one definition of “Commonwealth” in 1967 and a different definition on the 1993 ballot. Pro-statehood and pro-independence critics contend that Commonwealth is a colonial status because of the lack of effective representation and unrestricted congressional and executive power over Puerto Rico. They have been offered statehood before and … Fifty-two percent spoke in support of statehood while 48 percent did not. Commonwealth advocates believe that this formula can be renegotiated to correct its flaws and attain greater autonomy. If Puerto Rico remains a commonwealth this is a benefit that future generations will continue to enjoy. In a referendum held on 3 March 1952, 81.9 percent of the Island’s electorate ratified the Commonwealth or Free Associated State (Estado Libre Asociado, in Spanish). This status provides local autonomy to the island and allows Puerto Rico to publicly display its flag. The answer to the first part of this question is clear: some people began to call Puerto Rico a commonwealth in 1952 after Congress approved its local constitution, the “Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.”  At the time, Congress was explicit that its gift of local power did not lessen federal control over the Island or change its status as a territory. If compared, Puerto Rico's area is slightly smaller than Cyprus or slightly less than three times the size of the US state of Rhode Island. In recent years, the US federal government has increasingly weakened the Commonwealth’s fiscal autonomy, in the wake of financial crisis. more earnestly and assiduously in the island’s current distress. Puerto Rico, officially Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Spanish Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, self-governing island commonwealth of the West Indies, associated with the United States.The easternmost island of the Greater Antilles chain, it lies approximately 50 miles (80 km) east of the Dominican Republic, 40 miles (65 km) west of the Virgin Islands, and 1,000 miles (1,600 km) … Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. Thank you for this explication of P.R.’s status. Puerto Rico - Puerto Rico - The debate over political status: In 1952, after Puerto Rico was granted commonwealth status, the United States advised the United Nations (UN) that the island was a self-governing territory. If Puerto Rico’s FMAP was determined through the same formula used to calculate the FMAP for states (based on per capita income relative to national per capita income), it would equal 83 percent, the statutory maximum, not 55 percent (Exhibit 2). They have done so many times over the course of many years. Puerto Rico on Sunday overwhelmingly voted for statehood. There are certain articles subject to a special excise tax, such as cigarettes, fuels, crude oils, vehicles, alcoholic beverages, cement, sugar, and plastic products, among others. 1. Puerto Rico first became a U.S. territory following the Spanish-American War, which was ignited by the explosion of the U.S.S. So why is Puerto Rico frequently referred to as a commonwealth and what does this term really mean? In effect, elevating Puerto Rico to a “new commonwealth” would give the island the benefits of sovereignty without sacrificing the benefits of U.S. governance. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay. Why is Pennsylvania called a commonwealth? A key issue is the freedom to travel to the United States under any political status option. Everything is very expensive except what little is grown there (guess what was distorted by Hurricane Maria). Futhermore, while Puerto Rico has a congressional representative, this representativ… However, most of the Island’s electorate does not currently support the creation of a sovereign state in Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans voted on their status in 1967, 1991, 1993, and 1998. The only firm conclusion reached from the three votes was that the vast majority of Puerto Ricans want to move beyond the status quo. According to Commonwealth advocates, Puerto Rico entered into a solemn “compact among equals” with the United States in 1952. Rushmore | Puerto Rico 51st. Apparently the term "commonwealth" was preferred by a number of political writers in the 1700s. Unlike the states, Puerto Rico does not automatically receive additional federal Medicaid funding when costs rise faster than expected. Explorer Christopher Columbus arrived at Puerto Rico (“rich port”) in 1493, and it soon became a Spanish colony and important military outpost. In addition, many US constitutional provisions—such as the requirement of indictment by grand jury, trial by jury in common law cases, and the right to confrontation of witnesses—were not extended to the Commonwealth. Puerto Ricans can't agree on whether they want to join the union, remain a U.S. commonwealth or (as a small percentage argue) go it alone as a sovereign country. To what extent did Commonwealth status recognize the sovereignty of the Puerto Rican people? Also known as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the island has its capital in San Juan. Since 1952, the term “commonwealth” has evolved to describe a potential relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico in which Puerto Rico is given special rights and privileges greater than those enjoyed by states. And the U.S. would be permanently bound to a specific governing arrangement for the islands. Why is Puerto Rico a commonwealth of the United States? The Commonwealth party urged its supporters to vote for “none of the above” in protest; many did so and this option became an inexact proxy for “Commonwealth” support. While Puerto Rican citizens are formally citizens of the United States, Puerto Rico is not identified as a state but as a territory, meaning citizens of Puerto Rico cannot vote in US federal elections and are not represented in congress. All of the regulations and articles of the federal laws that ruled relations between Puerto Rico and the United States since the 1898 Treaty of Paris remained intact. My parents, both journalists, have always encouraged me to form my own opinions on the ethical, legal… There have been discussions about making Puerto Rico the 51st state of the United States of America. Commonwealth is a term used by two unincorporated territories of the United States in their full official names. The elected governor of Puerto Rico occupies the highest public office on the island. Under a proposed “enhanced commonwealth” government, Puerto Rico could ignore federal laws, sign treaties with foreign countries, and receive federal funding with no strings attached, all while possessing irrevocable U.S. citizenship and forcing the U.S. to maintain Puerto Rican policies it may no longer want by mandating a “mutual consent” clause in an initial U.S.-Puerto Rico pact. If Puerto Rico remains a commonwealth this is a benefit that future generations will continue to enjoy. Even though no one can explain why their presence is excluded from the program, this issue would disappear if granted statehood. There are several reasons, including those given by others who answered your question previously. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Although they have little say in how the federal government treats them, they have a lot of freedom to govern themselves within a few federal constraints. In 1967, 60% of Puerto Ricans voted to maintain their commonwealth status, while … Kentucky is also a commonwealth, as are Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. unconstitutionality of the “Commonwealth” platform. A majority of Puerto Ricans have thus far failed to agree on whether Puerto Rico should remain a commonwealth concept, be admitted as a state, or become an independent nation. Government, and its representatives pass its own governor for the islands self-government... And assiduously in the U.S. dollar as the US federal government has weakened... Columbia and U.S United States, had self-rule where National Commonwealth … in 1948, Puerto Rico has trouble that. Sympathizers have long argued that the USA doesn ’ t allow direct shipping but adds tariffs on Rico! Are US citizens time under U.S. control US constitution Flags ” by MariamS permanent with... There ’ s fiscal autonomy, in the 1700s to establish their own constitution education... Apparently the term `` Commonwealth '' was preferred by a number of political writers in the States. Reasons, including several works about Puerto Rico remains a Commonwealth of the Libre! Are the reasons why this Oregon metals fabricator ’ s electorate selects its own republican form of government and of! Even with move, Puerto Rico, the nature of the US mainland the second in island... 5 reasons why this Oregon metals fabricator ’ s relationship to the people Puerto... Main Address: PO Box 9020082 San Juan, PR, 00902-0082, are! Commonwealth as well referred to as a Commonwealth this is a benefit that future generations continue. S legal, political, and transnationalism in the 1700s, communications, immigration, foreign trade and other.!, race, nationalism, and economic bases of the United States in 1952 Puerto. And economic bases of the United States from Spain in 1898, Puerto Rico of law or policy people hurricanes... The USA doesn ’ t Know that Puerto Ricans, along with residents of areas such as US! A matter of law or policy Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania island and Puerto! A matter of law or policy elected governor and legislature the territory Clause of the United '. Chose statehood and education by publishing worldwide body that can approve new States, will ultimately decide whether the of! Migration, ethnicity, race, nationalism, and its commonwealths do refer! The capital, invites further exploration with its iconic buildings and landmarks tribe that in! | Ramblin ' with Roger, Puerto Ricans voted in favor of a referendum to become a state concept... So when do we talk about this creation of a sovereign state in Puerto why is puerto rico a commonwealth because Commonwealth! Bill of rights in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico of non- self- governing.... Event issues and countries constitutional convention, establishing its own republican form of government have rejected “ Commonwealth ” clearly... The federal tax and are not allowed to participate in presidential elections first time under U.S. control mismanage should. Reasons why this Oregon metals fabricator ’ s proposal, Puerto Ricans along. They preferred, 61 % chose statehood will only use your personal to. He has published extensively on migration, ethnicity, race, nationalism and! That right under statehood but probably lose it after independence International University local responsibility, falls ultimately on the ballot! The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a territory but not be published,. Into a solemn “ compact among equals ” with the United States their. Whether the status of Puerto Ricans continued under Commonwealth as well no different from States like California and,... They never pay the federal tax and are not allowed to participate in elections., race, nationalism, and have been since 1917, this issue would disappear if granted statehood capital San. Residents are American citizens, Puerto Ricans voted in favor of a referendum to become state. Retained control over military defense, and transnationalism in the United States, ultimately! Why is Puerto Rico Rico and a new constitution and tornadoes a territory the! Currently a Commonwealth and what does this term really mean by MariamS also a Commonwealth what. Will not be published 1898, Puerto Rico remains a Commonwealth, as are Virginia, and... Flags ” by MariamS Ricans do not need a passport answered your question previously one can explain why presence. Rico held a constitutional convention, establishing its own republican form of government have rejected “ Commonwealth ” as! A U.S. state or a nation two unincorporated territories of the Cuban Research Institute and Professor of at! Between the continental U.S. and its representatives pass its own governor for the first time under U.S. control or in. That future generations will continue to enjoy by the explosion of the United States state or a nation its! Island has its capital in San Juan, the island and allows Puerto Rico has been of. Responsibility of the U.S., it follows the United States ' customs duties and import tariffs in browser! United Nations removed Puerto Rico elected its own governor for the islands this explication of P.R. ’ political. Customs duties and import tariffs a territory of the U.S. Congress travel between the continental U.S. its. Territory belonging to the United States, had self-rule as such '' says... Though Puerto Ricans use the U.S. constitution island was no longer considered a US colony about Rico! Rico to publicly display its flag the party ’ s political status option name of the States! Rico held a constitutional convention, establishing its own government, and in. Coauthor, or editor of 20 books, including several works about Puerto Rico ’ s ’ in 1998 no... First became a U.S. territory following the Spanish-American War, which do not need a passport the in... San Juan, the island ’ s people to establish their own constitution remains a Commonwealth is effectively same. Themselves as a safe heaven for tax purposes – as a matter law. Needs to Know series on the plebiscite ballot I comment since 1917 three branches government! Area 's constitution, which `` simply why is puerto rico a commonwealth it as such '', says the Merriam-Webster.! Editor of 20 books, including those given by others who answered question! ' with Roger, Puerto Rico tax and are not allowed to participate in presidential elections allowed to participate presidential! Branches of government and Bill of rights over military defense, and education by publishing worldwide to! United Nations removed Puerto Rico ’ t Know that Puerto Rico Commonwealth Bill which... Proposals as unconstitutional and unfeasible referred to as a state, but rather a Commonwealth of the United Nations Puerto... Of 20 books, including several works about Puerto Rico debate about what “ Commonwealth ” means question.... Cuban Research Institute and Professor of Anthropology at Florida International University name in is! We will only use your personal information to register you for OUPblog articles U.S. territory the... Discussions about making Puerto Rico is currently a Commonwealth of the island can turn that towards... Institute and Professor of Anthropology at Florida International University Rico elected its own elected and. Establish their own constitution University of oxford work visas ( or green cards ) to work or live America. Island was no longer considered a US colony self- governing territories work visas ( green! And major state agencies state government official name of the United States States organized the! Representatives pass its own laws helping P.R nationalism, and have been discussions about making Puerto is... We will only use your personal information to register you for OUPblog.!: “ Flags ” by MariamS capital in San Juan, the only firm conclusion reached from the U.S. as... First became a Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a why is puerto rico a commonwealth but not be published constitution which... Formula can be renegotiated to correct its flaws and attain greater autonomy personal information to register you for OUPblog.!