Thursday August 06, 2015

Statehood may be Puerto Rico's debt crisis solution

Puerto Rico is in the throes of a debt crisis. Could granting statehood be the answer?

Puerto Rico is in the throes of a debt crisis. Could granting statehood be the answer? (Alvin Baez-Hernandez/Reuters)

Listen 20:08

Puerto Rico occupies a unique position. It's a territory of the United States and its residents are U.S. citizens... but they cannot vote and it is NOT a U.S. state.

And this summer, Puerto Rico is being compared to Greece. It is mired in debt and economic stagnation, and just this week, for the first time ever, it defaulted on its debt — missing a $58-million payment.

There are billions more in debts, threatening to cripple the economy... and as a consequence, Puerto Ricans are fleeing the territory in droves.

The debt crisis is also adding fuel to a long simmering debate about Puerto Rico's long term future and its relationship with the United States.

We spoke to three guests about the possibility of Puerto Rico statehood:

  • Luis Negrón, author of "Mundo Cruel" and bookstore employee in San Juan
  • Greg Allen, NPR's national radio correspondent in Miami
  • Kenneth McClintock, former Lieutenant Governor of Puero Rico and president of the Puerto Rico Equality Forum

Where do you stand on this debate? Weigh in on our Twitter @TheCurrentCBC, Facebook, or by email.

This segment was produced by The Current's Leif Zapf-Gilje, Sonya Buyting, Amil Niazi, and Nicole Abi-Najem.