WASHINGTON, D.C. – Pro-statehood protestors are rallying on Capitol Hill, saying Puerto Rico needs to become the 51st state in the US.
“We’ve have a status that is colonial in nature now for 520 years,” said Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi.
Pierluisi is just one of a group of high profile Puerto Rican leaders who spoke at the Capitol Hill rally.
During last year’s vote on status in Puerto Rico, most people chose statehood as the best option. Now Pierluisi says he is trying to make that happen with a vote in Congress.
Former Governor Luis Fortuno was in the crowd, too.
Fortuno told Washington Bureau Chief Jacqueline Policastro problems facing Puerto Rico – unemployment and debt – stem from the fact that Puerto Rico is not yet a state.
“From a tax point of view and a legal point of view and becoming a state, it will create a boom just like it happened in other states,” Fortuno said.
Not everyone agrees with the protestors.
Puerto Rico’s own governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said he does not believe in statehood for Puerto Rico and thinks it would prove disastrous for the economy of the island.
The strong opposition is not stopping Pierluisi, who has faith in the future of Puerto Rico.
“I feel very positive,” he said, while also admitting, “It’s not going to happen overnight.”