The notion that statehood is the silver bullet to end Puerto Rico's long economic nightmare is a fantasy useful primarily for political advantage inside Puerto Rico. There is virtually no chance that a Republican Congress and president would welcome a debt-ridden, dysfunctional Puerto Rico into the union. Puerto Rico can't become a state unless Congress agrees.
And, despite Rossello's victory, it is not clear that Puerto Ricans want statehood. A 2012 referendum on the topic seemed to give statehood the nod, but the ballot was so complicated — and political tactics that included boycotts so confusing — that the outcome is in dispute. Hence the need for a new referendum.
Puerto Rican statehood can wait; economy can't | Editorial
Sun Sentinel Editorial Board
January 10, 2017