The Americas

Puerto Rico's new gov seeks statehood referendum amid crisis

Puerto Rico's new governor has been sworn in as the U.S. territory prepares for what many believe will be new austerity measures and a renewed push for statehood to haul the island out of a deep economic crisis.

Ricardo Rossello was sworn in Monday and proposed several measures aimed at alleviating the crisis. Among them is a proposal to hold a referendum that would ask voters whether they prefer statehood or independence.

Rossello also aims to boost public-private partnerships and use that revenue to save a retirement system that faces a $40 billion deficit. Rossello has pledged to work closely with a federal control board that U.S. Congress created to oversee Puerto Rico's finances. He said he supports negotiations with creditors to help restructure a nearly $70 billion public debt.