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Zain Deane

Statehood carries the day

By November 7, 2012

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So the votes are in, President Obama gets another four years in office, Governor Luis Fortuño wasn't so lucky, and for the first time in their history under commonwealth status, the majority of Puerto Ricans voted in   support of U.S. statehood in a referendum held on Election Day.

Of course, this was a non-binding referendum that asked residents to provide some direction on the island's relationship with the U.S. And the vote certainly does not dictate Puerto Rico's future. In fact, it's a bit ironic that Puerto Rico's governor, Luis Fortuño, a strong proponent of statehood, lost the election to Alejandro Garcia Padilla, whose party favors a continuation of the island's commonwealth status.

What is interesting in all this is the seemingly dwindling support for independence. An ardent minority still clamors for Puerto Rican independence, a mission that dates back far more than 100-plus years. As my friend Debbie of Legends of Puerto Rico corrected me recently, Puerto Rico enjoyed a brief taste of freedom in 1898, right before the Spanish-American War brought the island under U.S. control. It seems independence remains an elusive quest for Puerto Rico. As for becoming the 51st state in the Union, it's also a long way off. But in 2012, it has the popular vote.

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