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Puerto Rico, Government

Under the provisions of its 1952 constitution, Puerto Rico is a commonwealth freely associated with the United States. The Puerto Rican government maintains control over local issues, but the island is required to comply with most federal legislation. Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States. They serve in the armed forces and are subject to nearly all federal laws. Citizens of Puerto Rico are exempt from federal income taxes; they do, however, pay commonwealth taxes. Islanders participate equally in most but not all federal entitlement programs. The U.S. government is responsible for the islandís defense, foreign relations, and trade. However, the U.S. and Puerto Rican governments often cooperate on joint programs that benefit the island. Puerto Rican citizens 18 years of age and older may vote.

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