A new study that underestimated the number of deaths in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria has fueled the debate over the possible future sovereignty of the territory.
A study by a Harvard researcher published on Tuesday estimated that 4,645 people died last year as a direct or indirect consequence of Hurricane Maria. This figure is 73 times the official number of 64 government officials and is in line with reports from the island, including interviews with funeral directors who said last fall that government figures are too low. The figure, in contrast to President Trump's comments after the damage, said that the storm was not a "real disaster".
" What we want to memorize Rosselló said in a January interview with The New York Times. 19659005] <figcaption class = "C ($ c-fuji-gray-h) Fz (13px) Py (5px) Lh (1.5)" title = " Nestor Serrano is on the top floor of this September photograph his house in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, where the walls of Hurricane Maria were blown away. (Photo: Gerald Herbert / AP) "data-reactid =" 33 ">
In this photo of September, Nestor Serrano he leaves on the first floor of his house in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, where the walls of Hurricane were blown away Maria. (19659007) More
The sending of an unsolicited delegation to Congress to enforce a claim to statehood is known as the Tennessee Plan, following the tactic that Tennessee used in 1796 to earn its way into the Union The residents believed that Congress did not act fast enough. Other states, including Alaska last, have followed suit. Alfonso Aguilar, a former government official of George W. Bush, who favors statehood, is one of the appointed shadow representatives and says he has seen increasing interest since Hurricane Maria.
"Puerto Ricans were on their way to supporting the statehood," Aguilar said in an interview with Yahoo News, "and I see anecdotally that Maria hastened this process."
A January poll by Rasmussen found that 47 percent of Americans supported statehood (34 did not and 19 did not) (certainly), by 40 percent last March. Aguilar thinks this reflects the growing realization that Puerto Ricans are already US citizens, something nearly half of Americans did not know about before the storm. The island has been a United States territory since the 1898 Spanish-American War and has had local government since 1952.
There is also support from powerful Republicans. Representative Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairs the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, which gives him oversight over US territories such as Puerto Rico. Earlier this month Bishop came out in support of statehood without preconditions.
"You should be on the path to statehood," Bishop said earlier this month in an NPR interview. "They are Americans, they have a history of patriotism, they are a clear part of the country, and people must realize how much Puerto Rico has been part of the United States."
It is unlikely that the republican leadership The initiative of statehood can go very far, as the Puerto Rican delegation is widely believed to be strongly democratic. (Aguilar, a Republican, disagrees with this idea and says it would be a swing state in the worst case.) When Alaska and Hawaii were added as states, it came as a package to balance their votes, and there is none clear picture Conservative Mating for Puerto Rico with Democratic Washington, DC, the other main candidate for statehood.
But there are other signs that support for statehood – at least among Puerto Ricans, who now live in Florida – as Sen. Bill Nelson and Governor Rick Scott, who competes for Nelson's Senate seats in November, has become both of statehood pronounced. Thousands of Puerto Ricans emigrated to Florida after Hurricane Maria and joined the million already there. As Puerto Ricans are US citizens, they can register in the Sunshine State.
It is harder to report on the island without a recent survey, as Maria's recovery continues. A non-binding 2017 referendum in support of statehood was adopted with 97 per cent support, but that was with a turnout of just 23 per cent, with groups boycotting the election against the state. Roselló, who supports statehood, won the 2016 governorship, but only 3 points over a candidate against the international community. A survey of Puerto Ricans before Hurricane Maria revealed that 65 percent support statehood.
Aguilar said the impulse would now be a national campaign that puts pressure on lawmakers and indicates that "the Puerto Rico Congress will not grant statehood from the kindness of their hearts." He added his belief that the Statehood would help the Puerto Rican economy, which would struggle with a decades-long recession and help alleviate billions in debt.
The next step towards statehood in Congress would probably be through the Bishops' Committee on Natural Resources, which has the authority to hold a hearing on codification legislation. In the meantime, Rosselló and the shadow delegation will continue to press for support in Washington and seek to consolidate support at home. It has come a long way for adherents of the Puerto Rican statehood, but with the renewed focus on the island after the tragedy of Hurricane Maria, they seem to be making progress.
<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0 em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " Read more about Yahoo  News: "data-reactid =" 71 "> Read more from Yahoo News: