In July, 2012, Puerto Rico will have had a 114-year-old relationship with the United States that has been dependent at best and colonial at worst.
It is still a country of paradoxes and political status limbo. If the United States truly believes in the democratic principles it espouses, it would finally allow for the next plebiscite vote on the island's political status to be binding. In other words, the United States should initiate a formal process that would recognize the voice of the Puerto Rican people.
Even though President Obama and the Congress have tried to addressed the Puerto Rican status question, it has only been lip service and in fact, it perpetuates the image of Puerto Ricans on the island as second-class American citizens.
Even though Puerto Ricans have proudly served in the American armed forces, they still lack voting power in the US Congress.
Even though the island is split between a statehood option, a free associated state, independence or the status quo of commonwealth, the time to acknowledge Puerto Rico's right to self-determination in the era of the Arab Spring is now.
In addition, Puerto Ricans living on the mainland DO have the right to representation, and the millions who live here would agree that the island must have the opportunity to choose the next era of its political future.
We as an island have played this political status game far too long and have spent billions on determining our right to determine our political identity.
Plebiscite politics have always been a characteristic of the island and one of the reasons Puerto Rico hasn't advanced socially, economically or politically. We can no longer live in a colonial limbo. A colony in the 21st century makes no sense any more.
We respectfully ask that Congress and the President pass a revised Puerto Rican Democracy Act in 2012 that will formally state that the voice of the Puerto Rican people is permanent and should be respected, no matter the result of the final plebiscite vote.
This is not about having one status option being better than another one. This is about respecting and accepting a formal vote of the people of Puerto Rico.