Is puerto rico a us state now: Is Puerto Rico Part of the U.S?

Will Puerto Rico soon become the 51st US state?

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Matthieu COMIN

Pedro Pierluisi, who has been governor of Puerto Rico since January 2021, is pushing for the Caribbean archipelago to become the 51st US state. This would put an end to its current status of unincorporated territory and give more rights to its inhabitants. But while the election of Joe Biden seems to give hope to those who want US statehood, others would prefer Puerto Rico to become completely independent. Our regional correspondents Laurence Cuvillier and Matthieu Comin report.


Currently, Puerto Ricans have US nationality but cannot elect the US president. They also have no representatives or senators on Capitol Hill. And the archipelago of 3.3 million people is not allowed to have trade relations with any country other than the United States.

For many inhabitants, Joe Biden’s arrival at the White House is a sign of hope. A parliamentary delegation has just been elected to plead the case for US statehood on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks.

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Is Puerto Rico Becoming a US State?

On June 11, Puerto Ricans headed to the polls to vote in the island’s fifth referendum. The perpetual question: do residents want the US territory to become the 51st state? While 97 percent of voters favored statehood over total independence or remaining a self-governing territory, only a low 23 percent of eligible electors cast ballots — the lowest turnout in a Puerto Rican election since 1967. While the results are being questioned, it’s now up to the US Congress to decide how to move forward. But what does it all mean and is it actually possible for Puerto Rico to become another star on the US flag? Keep reading for a little history on Puerto Rico, the island’s financial status, and what could happen next.

1. How did Puerto Rico become a US territory?

Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States since Spain ceded the colony in 1898. Since 1917, under the Jones-Shafroth Act (aka simply The Jones Act), Puerto Ricans have had US citizenship and unrestricted rights to move to the mainland. It was not until 1947 that Puerto Rico could vote for its own governor, and until 1952 that the island received the constitutional right to govern its own internal affairs. With its current unusual legal status (neither independent nor state), residents cannot vote in the US presidential elections. They do not have voting representation in the House or seats in Congress, nor do they make payments to federal taxes. However, they do pay into Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security taxes.

2. Isn’t the Jones Act about shipping laws?

Yes and no. The Jones Act of 1917 was the legislation that gave Puerto Ricans US citizenship and the ability to create internal branches of government. The other Jones Act is Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, which prevents foreign-flagged ships from carrying cargo between the US mainland and noncontiguous parts of the US (also inclusive of Hawaii, Alaska, and Guam). While the latter is under great debate for its negative impact to the Puerto Rican economy, the current vote is related to citizenship.

While we’re discussing it, though, you should know the island’s import demand is high, but their supply is low. The Jones Act (the one about shipping laws) leads to the use of very costly US-built ships and American crews for all sea transport to and from Puerto Rico. Some estimate that leads to an increased cost of 15 to 20 percent on all products sold in Puerto Rico.

3. What’s Section 936 and what does it have to do with Puerto Rico’s economic crisis?

After World War II, to increase investment and boost the economy, many development programs were started. One in particular, Section 936, gave US companies tax exemptions on income earned in Puerto Rico. In a New York Times article published in 1993, the tax break is explained as an «expensive giveaway» to corporations. When the tax break hit its expiration date in 1996, many companies flee the island, kickstarting a recession and economic crisis that continues to date.

4. Have they tried passing other tax breaks that will bring companies back to the island?

Oh, yes! In 2012, the island passed multiple bills approving competitive tax incentives for a range of businesses in an effort to promote foreign direct investment to stimulate the economy: Act 20 (Export Services Act) for the purpose of promoting services in Puerto Rico (i. e. hedge funds, professional service firms, software companies, etc.) and Act 22 (Individual Investors Act) for «bona-fide» residents of Puerto Rico who spending 183 days a year in the island would be exempt of taxes on dividends and capital gains.

5. So why are they not bouncing back?

As of May 2017, the Caribbean island’s debt amounts to $72 billion. The unemployment rate is currently as high as 12 percent and over 40 percent of the population lives beneath the poverty line. The middle class is aggressively leaving the island for opportunities in the mainland, leading to «brain drain.» The newly elected governor, Ricardo «Ricky» Rossello, believes that the solution to this recession is full statehood, since it would open Puerto Rico to more foreign investment and make the US responsible for its national debt.

6. Why didn’t people show up to vote?

This past vote had the poorest numbers in the country’s history, but there’s a reason. Anti-statehood groups boycotted the vote. The New York Times reports that ballots have in past referendums (2012, 1998, 1993, and 1967) featured confusing wording that seemed to benefit the party in power.

7. So should we add another star to the US flag?

Not yet, but the process is moving ahead. According to The New York Times, nonvoting member of the House Jenniffer González is drafting a bill and presenting it in Congress to request Puerto Rico become the 51st state. Advocates for statehood will work to persuade a currently Republican-lead Congress to agree to take on this addition. It’ll be a difficult task, given that this motion would potentially lead to two more democrat seats in Congress, and potentially five more in the House of Representatives — Puerto Rico has historically been a liberal-leaning territory.

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Echoes of the Puerto Rico referendum: how to become the 51st state of the USA


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June 12, 2017 17:07

Photo: Governor Ricardo Rossello celebrating the results of the referendum. Photo: REUTERS/Alvin Baez

Puerto Ricans voted in a referendum to petition the US Congress to annex the island, making it the 51st state. For this to happen, it is necessary to agree with the Republican Party.

How to become the 51st state?

The procedure for joining the United States is three-stage:

  • Voting by residents of the region that wants to join.
  • US Parliament vote.
  • President’s signature.

Puerto Ricans have already voted twice in the referendum to join. The first time was in 2012. Now the government of the island needs to submit an official petition to the US Congress.

The American Parliament can ignore it or prepare a draft Constitution, which will be submitted to the hall for consideration. Accession must be voted on by the two houses of Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The only way.

The President of the United States then signs the bill creating the new state. Once this happens, there is no going back in time.

In 1869, the Supreme Court ruled that the US Constitution does not allow states to secede unilaterally. The decision was made after the civil war, which began with the withdrawal from the Union of six southern states that supported the slave system. The states left on the basis of what the Constitution does not prohibit.

Alaska and Hawaii last joined the US in 1959 as the 49th and 50th states.

Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon at the 1959 State of Alaska ceremony. Photo:

For 51 — 14 applicants

Besides Puerto Rico, there are at least 13 other candidates who would like to be 51st. Competitors include the US Virgin Islands group, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, or the country of Guyana in South America. But the most famous contenders are within the United States.

The District of Columbia, where Washington is located, dreams of becoming the 51st most. Because of the capital, local government here is worse than in other states. The people of Colombia voted to create the state, but Congress is not considering the issue.

Create your own state not against Northern Virginia or Eastern Oregon. The inhabitants of the peninsula of Lake Michigan are for the state of Superior, since the authorities of Michigan are indifferent to their problems. There is a proposal for the state of Lincoln in the territory of the city of Washington.

Why did Puerto Rico never want to and now change its mind?

Features of the current referendum in Puerto Rico — voter turnout of 23 percent. This is the smallest election since 1967. Many skipped the vote because they do not believe in change.

Five years ago, Puerto Rico had exactly the same referendum. 65 percent agreed to join America, although the referendum on this issue had failed three times before: in 1967, 1993 and 1998. Until 2012, residents voted to retain the status of an associated state with the United States.

An associated state is a transitional stage for a territory that is administered by another country but is not a full part of it. For example, for some time Montana and Idaho had such a status, today they are part of the United States. In addition to Puerto Rico, America has 14 associated territories.

Puerto Rico received status 65 years ago and did not want to change anything until it went bankrupt. Today the government is unable to repay external debts equal to 74 billion US dollars.

Joining the States is a straw. If the island becomes a full part of America, it will declare itself bankrupt and debt obligations will become a headache for the state.

Governor of Puerto Rico Ricky Rossello with his wife, Beatrice Rossello. photo: REUTERS/Alvin Baez

Did Jaresko plan the 51st Puerto Rico project?

As a joke, it can be said that the people of Puerto Rico got into debt after Ukraine sent them the most valuable thing they had — the former Minister of Finance Natalia Yaresko. In 2017, in the Caribbean, she became Executive Director of the Board of Financial Management and Control.

But that’s just a joke. Puerto Rico has been sliding down since the 2000s. There was a major crisis in 2006, and in 2015 a technical default was declared, and after that it was declared two more times. The fourth one is being prepared now.

The council, headed by Jaresko, was created by the administration of President Barack Obama to help the country. But not financial injections, but reforms.

In addition to the obvious answer why Puerto Ricans are in favor of full entry into the United States, there is also the question of historical justice.

Now almost 4 million people live on the island. By birthright, they have US citizenship, but they are not covered by the Bill of Rights and the norms of social and economic protection — almost everything that citizens of the 50 States are proud of.

Click to enlarge.

The President of Puerto Rico is the President of the United States, but the islanders do not have the right to vote for him.

The head of government is the governor elected by the inhabitants of the island. He and the Parliament of Puerto Rico have decorative power over domestic and foreign policy. For example, Puerto Rico could send an Olympic team to the Games or join the Caribbean trade and economic union CARICOM.

But the US manages international trade, customs, currency, provides control over air and sea space, provides military protection for the island.

Associate membership of Puerto Rico was obtained in 1952 after the assassination attempt on US President Harry Truman. In 1950, it was committed by two Puerto Ricans fighting for independence. The status became a compromise. America retained influence and pacified the separatist movement.

Prior to 1952, Puerto Rico was under US military administration, having received it in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. And before that, there was a Spanish colony here for 400 years. Christopher Columbus landed on the island 19November 1493.

Residents of Puerto Rico call the happiest years the period from the 40s to the 90s. The economic recovery was due to the development of the petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Why doesn’t the US want Puerto Rico?

For many decades there was an anti-American movement on the island that advocated independence. The islanders themselves did not want to become a state, confirming this three times in referendums.

By the year 2000, there was a tendency to merge. President Bill Clinton created a commission on the status of Puerto Rico, which submitted a bill to Congress that would be as the inhabitants of the island decide in a referendum. Moreover, a fork was supposed: from the formation of a state to the severance of relations and the declaration of independence.

By 2012, having survived the economic crisis, Puerto Ricans had matured. 65 percent voted to abandon the associated state in favor of joining America. The decision was also made in the wake of the fact that Barack Obama flew to San Juan, becoming the first US president to pay an official visit to the island in the last 50 years since John F. Kennedy. When the talk turned to the annexation of Puerto Rico, Obama replied that his administration was ready.

It didn’t happen. Congress ignored the referendum. Although the parliamentary majority was then controlled by Obama’s own party — the Democratic.

Puerto Ricans have even less chance now. The parliamentary majority is in the power of the Republican Party for three years, which will act as its president says.

Donald Trump, on the campaign trail in the summer of 2016, responded to the possibility of joining Puerto Rico in his style:

— «We used to have 51 states. You know when we had Canada.

The president’s opinion has hardly changed since then. The island’s debts are rising. 74 billion is an absolute record among American cities and municipal associations. Prior to that figure, Detroit held the record with $18 billion.

Who needs such an «economic miracle»? Trump is already cutting spending, shocking everyone.

Americans don’t even have to comment on the results of the referendum in Puerto Rico — it’s not the king’s business. With such debts, the island is not going anywhere.

The capital of Puerto Rico. Photo:
The capital of Puerto Rico. Photo:

The capital of Puerto Rico. Photo:

The capital of Puerto Rico. Photo:

Trains are very rare. Photo:

Puerto Rico

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Nicole Scherzinger — biography, photo, personal life, husband and children, height and weight, listen to songs online
Nicole Scherzinger — American pop singer, lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls, popular at the turn of 90s and 2000s.

She writes lyrics and music herself, dances beautifully and poses for glossy publications. She appeared in several films: Men in Black, Chasing Papi, Dirty Dancing, starred in television series, the most popular of which can be called the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, where Nicole got the episodic role of Jessica Glitter.

Pictured: Nicole Scherzinger

Childhood, youth, family

Nicole Praskovia Elicolani Valiente Scherzinger (this is the full name of the singer) was born in the summer of 1978 years in the family of Filipino Alfonso Valiente and Rosemary Elikolani, half Ukrainian, a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Samoan. Parents at that time lived in Honolulu, and Nicole’s mother was only eighteen years old.

Nicole Scherzinger as a child

Already a well-known artist, the performer posted on her Instagram page a photo with her two grandmothers. The signature below it read:

My ohana [«family» in Hawaiian — approx.]. Consists of the most powerful women on earth. Made of hundreds, but these two represent it. Hawaiian and Ukrainian queens! Warriors with the biggest hearts and the strongest faith! Love you.

Rosemary did not live long with her daughter’s father. She divorced Alfonso in 1981 and moved with Nicole to another state — Kentucky, settling in the city of Louisville. There she met the German Catholic Harry Scherzinger and soon gave birth to another girl, whom she named Keala.

Nicole Scherzinger in high school

The stepfather, who gave Nicole his last name, raised the sisters in strict accordance with religious principles. From an early age, Nicole was taught discipline and order, the girl knew that she had to fulfill her duties around the house and only then could she walk.
As a teenager, Nicole almost fell into depression due to complexes:

…I used to be very critical of myself, especially at a young age. I was like in prison. When I was fourteen, I started running. I could go for a run in the middle of the night. The thoughts in my head said that I should only be the best.

Classes in the theater studio helped to defeat the rejection of one’s body. Scherzinger participated in amateur theatrical productions, for example, played Velma Kelly in the musical «Chicago», performed in concerts with songs.

After completing her high school education, Nicole moved to Dayton and enrolled in acting at Wright University. At 19In 99, she went to an audition and became the backing vocalist for the Days Of The News band. The girl never finished her studies at the university.

First groups

Together with the group Days Of The News, Nicole recorded their second untitled album, which fans called «green» because of the color of the cover. But soon discord began between the musicians, and the aspiring singer left the band and tried to break into the musical Olympus on her own.

Nicole Scherzinger as part of Eden’s Crush

2001 can be called successful, when Scherzinger recorded two compositions in tandem with Barry Dyck and became a member of the American «star factory» Popstars. The singer was noticed and offered a position as a vocalist in the girl group Eden’s Crush. But the reality was not what Nicole expected — four other members of the group constantly brought her to tears with insults and conflicts.

Nicole Scherzinger & Eden’s Crush — VO (2001)

The group soon ceased to exist, as the company that sponsored Eden’s Crush closed. Nicole took the pseudonym Kea and recorded several solo compositions. One of them, «Breakfasy In Bed», later became the soundtrack to Peter Segal’s comedy «50 First Dates» with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler.

The Pussycat Dolls and solo career

In 2003, Nicole became a full member of The Pussycat Dolls, which she drew attention to even earlier. At first it was a burlesque group with dance performances, later songs began to appear, and in order to finally become a musical group, the band announced a casting for the role of a vocalist. Nicole passed it along with Melody Thornton and Kaya Jones and not only became the main voice of the group, but also wrote songs herself.

The Pussycat Dolls and Nicole Scherzinger

She released two studio albums with the Dolls in 2005 and 2008: PCD and Doll Domination. The first went platinum twice, and the compositions «Don’t Cha», «Sttickwitu» and «Buttons» (authored by Nicole and Sean Garrett) occupied the top lines of the American charts.

The Pussycat Dolls – Don’t Cha

The spectacular brunette began to be celebrated more and more often, especially after a tour of the cities of America. The girl appeared in the «Hot-100» of the men’s edition of Maxim (22nd place on the list). Opera singers and actors agreed to record duets with the charming soloist of The Pussycat Dolls. So, Nicole sang along with Vittorio Grigolo and Will Smith, and also shot a video for the song Scream with Timbaland and Keri Hilson.

Nicole Scherzinger’s heyday was in the 2000s

In 2009, the group went on a big world tour, after which there was a break between Scherzinger and the rest of the members. In a later interview, the singer admitted that the discord was largely due to the busy schedule of performances and psychological problems among the group members. Scherzinger, for example, suffered from bulimia, but was afraid to admit it to her colleagues. Another participant, Jessica Satta, relieved constant stress with alcohol.

Internal discontent was growing, it was impossible to speak frankly. Nicole spoke about this only years later:

I hid my mental problem from the world, I was very ashamed. When you’re fighting your own demons and insecurities, it’s not something you want to share with other people.

In parallel with her work with the Pussycat Dolls, Scherzinger always dreamed of releasing a solo album, prepared material and even came up with the name of the future record — «Her Name is Nicole». But the release of the disc was delayed. But instead of the expected release in 2009year, Nicole’s debut solo album was released only in 2011 and was called «Killer Love».

Nicole Scherzinger — Your Love

It is noteworthy that she performed the song “Power’s Out” in a duet with the famous Sting, and a remix of the song “Heartbeat” with Enrique Iglesias. The disc was released only in European countries and in Australia, and was never released in the USA. Then the singer began work on a new album, which was released in 2014 and was called Big Fat Lie.

Nicole Scherzinger during her solo career

At the end of 2019, Nicole announced on Instagram that The Pussycat Dolls were reuniting and going on a world tour in 2020. The group, indeed, in almost full strength, performed on The X Factor with a new composition «React», after which they announced that they were no longer subject to pressure from record companies, because of which the ex-participants had been in silent confrontation with each other for more than ten years.

The Pussycat Dolls – React

The band’s world tour was postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but TPD continued to work on developing a new album.

Movie roles

Scherzinger demonstrated her artistic gift more than once in the cinema. At first, these were small roles in television series: in 2001, she played Veronica in the family comedy My Wife and Children and a guest pop star in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She then appeared as Jasmine in Half and Half and as Miss Puerto Rico in Chasing Papi.

An interesting experience for Nicole was the experience of filming in Troy Beyer’s melodrama «Love Costs Nothing» and the crime comedy «Be Cool!». The actress also played Vanessa in the TV series Wizards of Waverly Place.

As an actress, Nicole was especially remembered by the audience as Lilly, the girlfriend of the main villain Boris in the fantastic action movie Men in Black 3.

Nicole Scherzinger in Men in Black 3

And in 2017, the musical film Dirty Dancing was released on television, where Nicole showed off her choreographic talents. True, the musical itself did not have much success, since it was, in fact, a remake of the picture with Patrick Swayze in the title role.

Nicole Scherzinger dancing

Nicole Scherzinger Personal Life

For a long time, the singer did not develop relationships with the opposite sex. So, she met with the frontman of the 311 group Nick Hexam for a long time, was engaged to him, but the matter never came to official registration — in 2004 the couple broke up.

Nicole Scherzinger and Nick Hexum

In 2006, Nicole briefly dated American actor Talan Torriero, who was 9 years younger. But at that moment, the singer was working hard on new material and did not take the novel as something serious, as well as the following relationship with comedian Dane Cook.

Next she met Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton. Their relationship has often been the subject of heated discussion, since since 2007, when they declared themselves a couple, they broke up several times, then converged again.

Nicole Scherzinger and Lewis Hamilton

At the start of 2015, Scherzinger announced her final breakup, a difficult decision she says she and Nick made together. Seven years of deep feelings were never crowned with a legal marriage, and Nicole so wanted a wedding and a big family.

In 2015 the couple broke up for good

Parting with her beloved man, Nicole, according to rumors, tried to survive in the arms of fleeting boyfriends. There were talks about her hobbies with the Greek footballer Paytim Kasami, the British musician Ed Sheeran. But only with the Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov, Nicole again spoke of love and hoped that this relationship would develop into something more. She harbored these hopes for three years, but then gave up.

With Grigor Dimitrov

In 2019year, the media again started talking about Scherzinger and her new love. It turned out to be a former rugby player, 35-year-old Tom Evans. He was a member of the show The X-Factor, and 42-year-old Nicole was on the jury. Soon, the singers began to appear on Instagram their joint photos and hot declarations of love.

Nicole Scherzinger is currently dating Tom Evans

In an interview, she called Tom a colleague and best friend, the man of her life and dreams. In 2020, Nicole introduced her lover to her family, and when the borders were opened, she went with him to Portugal to meet Evans’ parents.

Nicole Scherzinger is now

In early 2021, it became known that the singer was fully focused on The Pussycat Dolls, refusing solo releases.

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