[The article in the T&G on Obama's statement about the Puerto Rico status referendum] fails to bring out what a dangerous setup this referendum would be.
In the first step voters will be asked if they are satisfied with Puerto Rico's current colonial status. There are many reasons why a voter might vote "No", not all of which have to do with wanting Statehood or Independence. If the No's win, the second stage will be an up or down vote on Statehood vs. Independence.
At this point Statehood becomes a slam-dunk winner, because after 500 years as first a Spanish and then a US colony, and with an independence movement that is semi-dormant, Puerto Rico is not prepared, economically or politically, to take on being an independent country.
If Congress then votes to make Puerto Rico a State, the stage would be set for a new disaster. Those Puerto Ricans who have struggled passionately for independence, and whose parents and grandparents, and forbearers going back ten generations, have fought for it, will not give up their dream, no matter how hopeless it may then seem. But now they would be secessionists, traitors to a country they never accepted as their own.
This is a snare that has been set for the Puerto Rican people. Beware!