In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Puerto Rico's governor argued it's time for Congress to act on the commonwealth's support for statehood. Fred Katayama reports.
Puerto Rico is pressing hard for statehood. On the heels of a June 11 plebescite in which the majority in the commonwealth voted for statehood, Puerto Rico's governor Ricardo Rossello told Reuters reporters it's high time for Congress to act. SOUNDBITE: RICARDO ROSSELLO, GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Past 60 years have all but eliminated territories and the thing is, Puerto Rico still remains the most populated and the oldest colonial territory in the world, so my view again: in order for the U.S. to be consistent with its message of democracy in the world and Cuba and Venezuela, we need to take action with 3.5 million U.S. citizens that live on the island." Critics have pointed at the low voter turnout and widesperad boycotts of the vote by statehood opponents. But Rossello argues Wisconsin and Alaksa had lower participation rates in their plebecites for statehood. In his drive to save the island's debt-ridden economy, Rossello spelled out his infrastructure investment plan. SOUNDBITE: RICARDO ROSSELLO, GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Our objective is to get about $5 billion of investment within the next three years creating 80,000 to 100,000 jobs in Puerto Rico. We've identified the critical projects that we want to ensue. They go from maritime transportation, roads, ports, airports, parking, water metering, energy generation and so forth." He's looking to sign deals to privitize public services, arguing the private sector can do a better job at much lower cost via public-private partnerships.