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Florida Puerto Ricans Split on Proposal for Statehood

November 8, 2012 | WMFE - Puerto Ricans in Florida are spilt over the idea of statehood for their home island. Voters in Puerto Rico narrowly approved a referendum Tuesday that could lead to the commonwealth becoming the 51st state.

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In Florida, the issue of statehood for Puerto Rico seems to be divided along age lines.

Maria Luyanda is president of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida.

She says younger people mostly favor statehood but many older folks want to maintain the island’s identity and traditions.

“People 50 and over, they don’t want to lose their Spanish language and they believe that once it becomes a state, English would be imposed for people who are not willing to change.” Luyanda says.

About 54 percent of voters in Puerto Rico say they would favor full statehood, but many others want the island to continue as an unincorporated territory of the United States as it has for more than a century. 

Tuesday's vote was a non-binding referendum that would require final approval from Congress before any changes to Puerto Rico's status.


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