Voters in Puerto Rico have again backed plans by their government to ask the US Congress to accept the territory as the 51st state of the union.
Among those eager for the USA territory to become the 51st state is Pedro Pierluisi, the island's former congressional representative.
Four previous plebiscites, or popular votes, have been held to decide the commonwealth's status in relation to the United States, with a majority of voters for the first time choosing statehood in 2012.
Puerto Rico Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz vowed to push for statehood anyway.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said voters in the economically troubled US island territory were sending a strong message to Congress.
Schatz argues that statehood would help Puerto Rico in its attempt to face down its debt crisis.
"Supporters of statehood did not seem enthusiastic about this plebiscite as they were five years ago", he said.
Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rossello claimed victory, even though opposition leaders boycotted the ballot.
For decades the territory enjoyed a U.S. federal tax exemption that attracted many American companies to set up shop - but those breaks were ended in 2006, prompting firms to leave the island en masse.
In the decades ago, FALN claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings in the US and Puerto Rico, including a lunchtime blast in 1975 that killed four people at New York's historic Fraunces Tavern. Puerto Ricans are getting the chance to tell U.S. Congress on Sunday which. The results of that vote showed that 97% of the 23% of Puerto Ricans who voted were in favor of statehood, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
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Some statehood supporters on Sunday expressed dismay that certain voting centers appeared empty.
Many Puerto Ricans doubt Congress can be convinced to incorporate the island, especially in the island's current economic condition, The New York Times reported.
Sunday's referendum is the fifth one for Puerto Rico.
"We have to vote because things are not going well", she said.
New Yorker David Aldarondo, now living in Puerto Rico, shows his shirt of Puerto Rican nationalist Ramon Emeterio Betances, after voting in favour of independence during the fifth referendum on the island's status.
About 5.4 million Puerto Ricans live on the USA mainland, a number that is growing because of an exodus of people who can not find jobs or continue school on the depressed island.
Congress will have to approve the outcome of Sunday's referendum.
Puerto Rico came under USA control in 1898 after the Spanish-American War.
How would everyday life change if the island became a U.S. state?
A spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department told The Associated Press that the agency has not reviewed or approved the ballot's language. Take the last two referendums in 1998 and in 2012 for example. Federal officials in April rejected an original version, in part because it did not offer the territory's current status as an option. Sixty-one percent who answered a second question said they favored statehood, but almost half a million voters left that question blank, leading many to claim the results weren't legitimate.
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