Issues of Statehood and Self-Rule• Puerto Ricans have periodically argued and fought for independence for most of the 500 years since Columbus landed. They continued to do so in the 1990s. The contemporary commonwealth arrangement is popular with many Puerto Ricans, but others prefer statehood, whereas some call for complete independence from the United States.• The arguments for the continuation of commonwealth status include both serious and trivial issues. Among some island residents, the idea of statehood invokes the fear of higher taxes and an erosion of their cultural heritage. Some even fear the end of separate Puerto Rican participation in the Olympics and the Miss Universe pageant. Although independence may be attractive, commonwealth supporters argue that it includes too many unknown costs, so they embrace the status quo.• Proponents of independence have a long, vocal history insisting on the need for Puerto Rico to regain its cultural and political autonomy. Some supporters of independence have even been
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United States House of Representatives, Puerto Ricans, separate Puerto Rican