Puerto Rico, the last American something

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The island is neither a US colony nor an independent state, but it is a problem.

Univision, the most-watched Spanish-language television channel in the United States, ran an ad in 2012 congratulating Puerto Rican viewers on their independence day.

Unfortunately, Puerto Rico does not have an independence day. What Univision should have commemorated, and did, later the same day with a mea culpa tweet, was the island’s Constitution Day.

Puerto Rico is not, and has never been, independent. It does have a Constitution – since 1952 – subordinated to that of the US. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a throwback to a bygone era, an unincorporated U.S. territory making it neither fully independent nor fully on a par with the 50 American states. Its 3.7 million inhabitants are US citizens, but are not represented in the US Congress. They have an elected, though non-voting, member of the House of Representatives, known as the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico.

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