Bernie Sanders promised Puerto Ricans “an ally in the oval office” if he becomes president. He would even support Puerto Rico if it wants to become an independent nation.
“The people of the United States cannot continue a colonial-like relationship with the people of Puerto Rico,” Sanders said in a speech Monday in the island’s capital of San Juan. He was campaigning ahead of the Democratic primary there on June 5.
Sanders says he would give the island’s 3.5 million residents three options: becoming the 51st U.S. state, becoming an independent country or enhancing its rights as a U.S. territory.
Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, but they don’t get to vote in the main presidential election in November if they live on the island because it’s not a state. However, they do get to vote in the Republican and Democratic primaries. Marco Rubio won the island’s GOP primary in March.