Puerto Rico's Political Future:

A Divisive Issue With Many Dimensions

GGD-81-48: Published: Mar 2, 1981. Publicly Released: Mar 2, 1981.

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Puerto Rico's leaders and populace have long focused on one enduring dilemma, political status. GAO reviewed the broad range of issues likely to confront Puerto Rico and Congress in deliberating the island's future status.

Advocates of amended commonwealth, statehood, and independence for Puerto Rico remain steadfast in pursuing their status preference. Compounding ideological and political divisions, each status alternative presents numerous intricate financial, economic, legal, and other concerns. Consequently, resolving the status debate will require much deliberation and hinges on a series of future decisions and events. Among the most important will be decisions regarding the exact terms of any status change, as well as policies and strategies concerning economic development, the scope of government services, and revenue sources to finance such activities. Other determinants defy quantification because they are based upon personal and political preferences for a future type of society and Puerto Rican identity. Weighing the status debate's multifaceted issues and selecting the island's preferred future status rests primarily with the Puerto Rican people. In addition, the federal government must concur with the selected status and any arrangements designed to facilitate its implementation.

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