(territory of the US with commonwealth status)

Introduction ::Puerto Rico

    Populated for centuries by aboriginal peoples, the island was claimed by the Spanish Crown in 1493 following Christopher COLUMBUS' second voyage to the Americas. In 1898, after 400 years of colonial rule that saw the indigenous population nearly exterminated and African slave labor introduced, Puerto Rico was ceded to the US as a result of the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship in 1917. Popularly-elected governors have served since 1948. In 1952, a constitution was enacted providing for internal self government. In plebiscites held in 1967, 1993, and 1998, voters chose not to alter the existing political status with the US, but the results of a 2012 vote left open the possibility of American statehood.

Geography ::Puerto Rico

People and Society ::Puerto Rico

Government ::Puerto Rico

    conventional long form: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
    conventional short form: Puerto Rico
    unincorporated, organized territory of the US with commonwealth status; policy relations between Puerto Rico and the US conducted under the jurisdiction of the Office of the President
    commonwealth
    name: San Juan
    geographic coordinates: 18 28 N, 66 07 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    none (territory of the US with commonwealth status); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 78 municipalities (municipios, singular - municipio) at the second order; Adjuntas, Aguada, Aguadilla, Aguas Buenas, Aibonito, Anasco, Arecibo, Arroyo, Barceloneta, Barranquitas, Bayamon, Cabo Rojo, Caguas, Camuy, Canovanas, Carolina, Catano, Cayey, Ceiba, Ciales, Cidra, Coamo, Comerio, Corozal, Culebra, Dorado, Fajardo, Florida, Guanica, Guayama, Guayanilla, Guaynabo, Gurabo, Hatillo, Hormigueros, Humacao, Isabela, Jayuya, Juana Diaz, Juncos, Lajas, Lares, Las Marias, Las Piedras, Loiza, Luquillo, Manati, Maricao, Maunabo, Mayaguez, Moca, Morovis, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, Patillas, Penuelas, Ponce, Quebradillas, Rincon, Rio Grande, Sabana Grande, Salinas, San German, San Juan, San Lorenzo, San Sebastian, Santa Isabel, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Trujillo Alto, Utuado, Vega Alta, Vega Baja, Vieques, Villalba, Yabucoa, Yauco
    none (territory of the US with commonwealth status)
    US Independence Day, 4 July (1776); Puerto Rico Constitution Day, 25 July (1952)
    ratified 3 March 1952; approved by US Congress 3 July 1952; effective 25 July 1952
    civil law system based on the Spanish civil code and within the framework of the US federal system
    18 years of age; universal; note - island residents are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
    chief of state: President Barack H. OBAMA (since 20 January 2009); Vice President Joseph R. BIDEN (since 20 January 2009)
    head of government: Governor Alejandro GARCIA Padilla (since 2 January 2013)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor with the consent of the legislature
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: under the US Constitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as Puerto Rico, do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; however, they may vote in Democratic and Republican party presidential primary elections; governor elected by popular vote for a four-year term (no term limits); election last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016)
    election results: Alejandro GARCIA Padilla elected governor with 48.2% of the vote
    bicameral Legislative Assembly consists of the Senate (at least 27 seats; members directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives (51 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: Senate - last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016); House of Representatives - last held on 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016)
    election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPD 18, PNP 8, PIP 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPD 28, PNP 23
    note: Puerto Rico elects, by popular vote, a resident commissioner to serve a four-year term as a nonvoting representative in the US House of Representatives; aside from not voting on the House floor, he enjoys all the rights of a member of Congress; elections last held 6 November 2012 (next to be held in November 2016); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PNP 1
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 6 associate judges)
    note - the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Judiciary Act of 2003 reformed the judicial system
    judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate; judges serve until compulsory retirement at age 75
    subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; First Instance Court comprised of superior and municipal courts
    National Democratic Party [Roberto PRATS]
    National Republican Party of Puerto Rico [Dr. Tiody FERRE]
    New Progressive Party or PNP [Pedro ROSSELLO] (pro-US statehood)
    Popular Democratic Party or PPD [Anibal ACEVEDO-VILA] (pro-commonwealth)
    Puerto Rican Independence Party or PIP [Ruben BERRIOS Martinez] (pro-independence)
    Boricua Popular Army or EPB (a revolutionary group also known as Los Macheteros)
    note: the following radical groups are considered dormant by Federal law enforcement: Armed Forces for National Liberation or FALN, Armed Forces of Popular Resistance, Volunteers of the Puerto Rican Revolution
    Caricom (observer), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, UNWTO (associate), UPU
    none (territory of the US)
    none (territory of the US with commonwealth status)
    five equal horizontal bands of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side bears a large, white, five-pointed star in the center; the white star symbolizes Puerto Rico; the three sides of the triangle signify the executive, legislative and judicial parts of the government; blue stands for the sky and the coastal waters; red symbolizes the blood shed by warriors, while white represents liberty, victory, and peace
    note: design initially influenced by the US flag, but similar to the Cuban flag, with the colors of the bands and triangle reversed
    Puerto Rican spindalis (bird); coqui (frog)
    name: "La Borinquena" (The Puerto Rican)

    lyrics/music: Manuel Fernandez JUNCOS/Felix Astol ARTES
    note: music adopted 1952, lyrics adopted 1977; the local anthem's name is a reference to the indigenous name of the island, Borinquen; the music was originally composed as a dance in 1867 and gained popularity in the early 20th century; there is some evidence that the music was written by Francisco RAMIREZ; as a commonwealth of the United States, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is official (see United States)

Economy ::Puerto Rico

Energy ::Puerto Rico

Communications ::Puerto Rico

    826,100 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    3.108 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    general assessment: modern system integrated with that of the US by high-capacity submarine cable and Intelsat with high-speed data capability
    domestic: digital telephone system; mobile-cellular services
    international: country code - 1-787, 939; submarine cables provide connectivity to the US, Caribbean, Central and South America; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (2011)
    more than 30 TV stations operating; cable TV subscription services are available; roughly 125 radio stations (2007)
    .pr
    469 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    1 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 100

Transportation ::Puerto Rico

Military ::Puerto Rico

Transnational Issues ::Puerto Rico

    increasing numbers of illegal migrants from the Dominican Republic cross the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico each year looking for work