Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit Puerto Rico since 1961

June 14, 2011

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(Getty Images/Joe Raedle)
Obama waves to the crowd at the 'Obama Victory Fund 2012 Kickoff Reception' in Miami last night before parting for Puerto Rico.

President Obama arrived in Puerto Rico earlier today. He is the first sitting U.S. president to visit the island in 50 years, since former President John F. Kennedy’s official trip in 1961.

Puerto Rico is a self-governing, unincorporated territory of the United States.  That means its 3.8 million residents are U.S. citizens, but they can’t vote in presidential elections. Puerto Rico’s status has remained an unresolved political issue since the Spanish ceded the territory to the U.S. in 1898.

Charles Venator joins us to discuss the significance of this historic trip.  He’s a professor of political science with the Institute of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at the University of Connecticut.