FEBRUARY 28, 2021 

While the Puerto Rico Statehood Referendum of 2020 was voted on this past November and voters approved the statehood option on November 3rd, the long-past Puerto Rico Statehood, Independence, Free Association, or Current Status Referendum of 2017 examines the status of the island in greater detail: "On April 17, 2017, Senate Bill 427 was introduced to amend the referendum to include the option of current territorial status. The legislative assembly passed the bill on April 19, 2017. The governor signed the bill on April 19, 2017. Prior to April 19, part one of the referendum contained the options of statehood and free association/independence, but not current territorial status. The change occurred in reaction to a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice. On April 13, 2017, the territorial governor received a letter from Dana Boente, Deputy Attorney General of the Department of Justice, regarding the referendum. Boente said, 'The Department has determined that multiple considerations preclude it from notifying Congress that it approves of the plebiscite ballot and obligating the funds. The funds that Boente referenced are $2.5 million authorized by Congress in 2014 for 'objective, nonpartisan voter education about, and a plebiscite on, options that would resolve Puerto Rico's future political status.' Boente also said the referendum 'should include the current territorial status as an option.'"

The Puerto Rican government removed the option from this plebiscite. The removal was in response to the results of the Puerto Rico Political Status Question of 2012. The 2012  plebiscite asked whether to remain in the current status and "No" had won. The Justice Department cited demographic changes during the past 5 years. After adding the "current status" option, Puerto Rico started the voting process. Yet the Justice Department had not reviewed the revised ballot by that time. Puerto Rico lost $2.5 million in funding set aside and spent $8 million of its own money for the election.

During the time of the Southern Sudan Independence Referendum of 2011, "Some opposition boycotts had arisen in the wake of the election, causing the President to say that if people did not stop boycotting his government, then he would not hold the election. International bodies such as the EU and US tried to encourage the President not to cancel the vote, stating that it would be a breach of the treaty and would not be beneficial for Sudan to plunge the country into another war."

Were it that the Scotland Independence Referendum of 2014 were approved, "independence would not have occurred immediately. Negotiations between the Scottish parliament and the United Kingdom government would have occurred for an indefinite period of time, and the two would have decided on an independence date. However, the Scottish government proposed a March 24, 2016, independence day."

In the wake of the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum of 2016, also known as the Brexit Referendum, Scotland plans a second independence referendum, in an effort to, among other things, join the EU as a sovereign entity. What conditions allow for a new nation to be formed, as opposed to statehood? Who benefits from its sovereignty, and who should benefit?