Robyn Gee on Tuesday, Jun. 14th
As part of his re-election tour, President Barack Obama is in Puerto Rico, reaffirming his pledge to support whatever decision Puerto Ricans make with regard to stateship or independence, according to the Associated Press. This issue has been the source of significant tension among the island’s residents.
The governor of the island, Luis Fortuno, supports stateship, but there are some who prefer the island’s current status, and a small group that wants independence, according to the Huffington Post. Obama said in his speech that his administration supports self-determination.
This visit makes him the only president to visit the island since John F. Kennedy, 50 years ago, according to the AP. According to Fortuno, the economy is the biggest issue for the island, stating that unemployment has risen to 17 percent since the recession.
Though Puerto Ricans living on the island can only vote in the primary presidential elections, the large populations of Puerto Ricans in New York and Florida will be listening closely to the president’s words. There are 4.6 million Puerto Ricans living on the mainland.