House approves referendum to ‘decolonize’ Puerto Rico –

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday that would allow Puerto Rico to hold the first binding referendum on whether to become a state or gain some form of independence, in a last-ditch effort that stands little chance. to be approved. the Senate.

The bill, which passed 233-191 with some Republican support, would offer voters in the United States three options: statehood, independence, or independence with free association.

“It is crucial to me that any proposal in Congress to decolonize Puerto Rico be informed and led by Puerto Ricans,” said Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees affairs in the US territories.

The proposal would commit Congress to accept Puerto Rico into the United States as the 51st state if the island’s voters approve it. Voters could also choose full independence or independence with free association, the terms of which would be defined after negotiations on foreign affairs, US citizenship and use of the US dollar.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who has worked on the issue throughout his career, said it was “a long and winding road” to get the bill to the full House.

“For too long, the people of Puerto Rico have been excluded from the full promise of American democracy and self-determination that our nation has always stood for,” said the Maryland Democrat.

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