Velazquez tries to solve Puerto Rico status limbo

By Julie Shapiro

Congressmember Nydia Velazquez wants to put decisions about Puerto Rico’s future back in the hands of Puerto Ricans. A commonwealth — neither a state nor an independent country — Puerto Rico is often caught in the middle of a heated debate about its identity.
At the end of last month, Velazquez introduced the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2007. The bill, with 25 co-sponsors, describes a process for Puerto Ricans to decide the status of their home.
“Any proposal regarding the future of Puerto Rico must first come from Puerto Ricans,” said Velazquez, who was born on the island. “Self-determination needs to come from the people of the island — to do otherwise would be tampering with their free will.”
A Democrat, Velazquez represents most of the Lower East Side, much of the East Village and parts of Brooklyn, including Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Brooklyn Heights and Gowanus. Her 12th Congressional District has a large Puerto Rican constituency.

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