Tuesday, July 16, 2024

President Obama Visits Puerto Rico

Puerto Ricans on the island and across the U.S. watched closely as President Obama made a historic trip to Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

Obama’s trip marked the first presidential visit to the island in 50 years and was met with hopes that he would address the decade-long issue of whether the island should remain a commonwealth or become a state.

Puerto Ricans are ineligible to vote for Congress or the president although they are U.S. citizens.  But with the number of Puerto Ricans living in the mainland United States, 4.6 million to be exact, now surpassing the total population on the island itself, currently 3.7 million, many of them are now demanding full blown statehood.

During his speech, the president addressed Puerto Rico’s status and reaffirmed his support for a referendum in which island voters can resolve the matter for themselves.

“And when the people of Puerto Rico make a clear decision, my administration will stand by you,” he said.

Among other topics, Obama also spoke about including Puerto Rico on initiatives like the health care bill and recognized the contributions of Puerto Ricans to the United States, emphasizing their military service.

His visit to the island also solidifies his campaign’s commitment to courting the Hispanic population, an increasingly powerful voting bloc that could decide the White House in 2012.