The most popular stories of 2022 show a wide range of topics.
#10 The meaning of “commonwealth”
One of the most confusing things about Puerto Rico is its name. Puerto Rico is officially known as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. But what is a commonwealth? What does the word mean, legally, when it is used for Puerto Rico?
The answer is surprisingly simple.
#9 Reasons for statehood
Statehood is one of the options for Puerto Rico’s political status. Under the U.S. Constitution, a territory can become a state or it can become an independent nation. The unincorporated territories, of which Puerto Rico is one, can also remain territories indefinitely.
Statehood is the most popular of these options. It has won all three referenda held in the 21st century, and the majority of Puerto Rican voters would like to become a state.
Here are the top 10 reasons most voters favor statehood.
The question of citizenship for Puerto Rico’s current citizens after a change of status has been one of the most important issues in this year’s status bills. It is clear that there will be no simple continuation of U.S. citizenship if Puerto Rico should become a sovereign nation, either as an independent republic or as a freely associated state.
What will that mean for the millions of current U.S. citizens who were born in Puerto Rico? One possibility is that they will have to go through the process of naturalization, as current citizens of the current freely associated states must if they want to become citizens of the United States.
That process is a lot more complicated than most people realize. This article details the process and its costs.
Puerto Rican Naturalization – How to Become a U.S. Citizen in a New Nation
#7 Special deals
Back in 2014, the then-governor of Puerto Rico proposed sex tourism and legal marijuana as a solution for Puerto Rico’s financial woes. Others favored extending tax credits to the Island instead.
In fact, those tax credits were extended to Puerto Rico in the last tax year. The benefits show that special deals are not the best solution for Puerto Rico. Equal treatment is a better solution.
#6 The perfect human
Some stories continue to be popular for years. One of those is the story of how the perfect human is a Puerto Rican woman.
That is not the real story, though. The real story is that reporting on a science blog led to misleading headlines. People enjoy those headlines — but in many cases, they stopped there. They did not go ahead and read the original report, which was about DNA, racist attitudes, and eugenics.
Many misconceptions about Puerto Rico are caused by quick acceptance of misleading headlines. This story gives a good example of the process — and the problem.
#5 What is a territory?
In addition to stories that are fun and timely, our most popular stories include those that answer basic questions and confusion about Puerto Rico’s status.
When Puerto Rico hits the headlines in major new media, many readers feel confused. What is a territory? Why does the United States have territories? What makes Puerto Rico a territory?
We offer clear answers to these basic questions so visitors can get the basic information they need to understand the news they read here and elsewhere.
#4 History of the territory
Another basic question visitors need an answer to is just how Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States. Once people understand what a territory is and that Puerto Rico is a territory belonging to the United States, they naturally wonder how that happened.
The United States hasn’t gotten a new territory recently and most Americans don’t know much about the process. Since the history of Puerto Rico and its relationship with the United States isn’t taught in most schools in the states, this is a mystery to the average American.
This article gives the details.
#3 Water safety
Officially, Puerto Rico is on the list of places where the water is generally safe to drink. The CDC and the World Health Organization have put Puerto Rico on these lists because officially the Island’s water supply must meet the requirements set for the United States.
However, it is not the case that the water supply in Puerto Rico meets those standards. This is particularly true following the hurricanes and earthquakes of recent years, but there are other factors in play.
The territory status of Puerto Rico makes it more difficult to meet the requirements for safe drinking water. It is just another example of how territory status is harmful to the residents of Puerto Rico.
#2 Tax haven
Puerto Rico’s history of trying to make special deals with the United States has led to its position as a tax haven — a place where large corporations and wealthy individuals can avoid paying taxes because of the special laws on the subject.
While these special deals were intended to bring investments into the Island, it is clear that Puerto Rico is not the beneficiary of these sweetheart deals.
Congress is reexamining some of these arrangements, and they may not continue.
#1 The population
The most popular story of the year is on a topic that may initially seem dry. However, the population size of Puerto Rico has been shrinking, while the number of people identifying as Puerto Rican living in the states is increasing.
Over the past few years, Puerto Ricans in the states have gone from a small, concentrated set of communities in towns like New York City and Orlando to a significant presence in multiple states. Along the way, this new population has begun to influence stateside politics with theiir votes.
Since residents of Puerto Rico cannot vote in presidential elections and have little representation in Congress, the voices of the Puerto Rican communities in the states can have a greater influence than the Island’s residents.
We look forward to seeing what happens in Puerto Rico in 2023.