Watch this Emmy award winning film that goes over the options and you will find the reasons why independence has lost votes. The USA used violence in a horrible way to discourage it. It was illegal to fly a Puerto Rican flag in Puerto Rico in 1935. Jail time and fines were imposed. There was a massacre for a nationalist event in the city of Ponce. There was even a bombing of a town for trying to be independent.
Just because you never heard about or read a history of the problems doesn't mean it did not exist. You think the USA government talks about mass killings it did to retain power in a land? No, it is bad publicity. But it happened. The options that the Puerto Ricans and their local government are wrestling with are very complex and difficult.
My statement of why I think the Puerto Ricans have not voted for independence? It is boiled down to one sentence. They live in fear of what the USA gov't will do to them if they said "Get the hell out and don't come back." Don Pedro did that. They basically jailed him and tortured him for life. They killed the nationalists, jailed them. They pursued the Puerto Rican independence activists. Jose Serrano from New York state from the Democratic party requested that the FBI release what they did in the Freedom of Information Act all the ways they acted to suppress independence activism in Puerto Rico. He did it and admitted they used violence, lies, frame ups, smear campaigns and basically against international law violations, human rights and civil rights violations against the pro independence people.
End of story.
If you use violence, money and power to kill any movement that goes against your interests as a nation that is very very wealthy, powerful and militarily mighty against a tiny island in the Caribbean with a Latin American culture? You usually can be successful. Is it fair? No. Is it right? No. Is it moral? No. But it is true. The USA gov't is unfair, immoral and wrong. But that is how they act.
Accept it. If you care about Puerto Rico? Do something to change that. Join a committee to decolonize Puerto Rico. Write to your representatives, donate to Puerto Rican relief efforts. Work on change for the island that is positive. If you don't care? Then don't make dumb statements about how it is our fault for the problems only. It is about the USA gov't. Accept the responsibility for the parts of the USA that is bad and make change happen. Period.
Watch the video first. Give your opinion and support it with what the film discusses.