Puerto Rico voting results: Statehood wins

Gov. Ricardo Rosello of Puerto Rico plans to visit Washington, D.C., to lobby for statehood now that residents of Puerto Rico have voted in favor of becoming the 51st state. (Photo courtesy of Puerto Rican government)

The governor of Puerto Rico on Sunday said he will visit Washington, D.C., following the victory of statehood in the national vote held Sunday to notify Congress, the White House and international forums, of the results.

Statehood received 97 percent of Sunday’s vote. Independence and free association received 1.5 percent of the vote, while the current territorial status gained just 1.3 percent.

“Today, we the people of Puerto Rico are sending a strong and clear message to the world claiming our equal rights as American citizens,” said Gov. Ricardo Rosello. “We will now take these results to Washington, D.C., with the strong support of not only a duly executed electoral exercise, but also of a contingency of national and international observers, who can attest to the fact that the process was fair, well organized and democratic.”

Rosello said the expression of the majority that participates in the electoral processes prevailed.

Rosselló added that “it will be up to this new generation of Puerto Ricans to demand and claim in Washington the end of the current improper colonial relationship, and begin a transition process to fully incorporate Puerto Rico as the next state of the Union.”

“From today going forward, the federal government will no longer be able to ignore the voice of the majority of the American citizens in Puerto Rico,” Rosello said. “It would be highly contradictory for Washington to demand democracy in other parts of the world, and not respond to the legitimate right to self-determination that was exercised today in the American territory of Puerto Rico,” he declared.

The governor said he will designate the members of the Equality Commission, who will perform their duties before the U.S. l House and Senate, as was done in the past by some states with the Tennessee Plan.