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Sanders Vows to Offer Puerto Rico Independence Option if Elected President

© AP Photo / Carolyn KasterDemocratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at Georgetown University in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, about the meaning of "democratic socialism" and other topics
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at Georgetown University in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, about the meaning of democratic socialism and other topics - Sputnik International
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US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said he would give Puerto Rico an option to become an independent country should he win the race for the Oval Office.

In this May 4, 2012 photo, the flags of Puerto Rico and the U.S. wave behind an English one-way traffic sign in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, one of only a few places in Puerto Rico with street signs in English - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Sanders is currently visiting the US territory, currently in multimillion debt, ahead of the Democratic primary on June 5.

"The people of the United States cannot continue a colonial-like relationship with the people of Puerto Rico," Sanders said at a rally on Monday, as quoted by the CNN network.

Sanders said he would give the island three options – becoming the 51st state, having more rights as a US territory or becoming an independent country, the media outlet reported.

Puerto Rico first defaulted on its $73 billion debt in August 2015 and also on a portion of its debt in January 2016. The US territory has since been beset by financial problems that affected healthcare and other services as well as economic growth.

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