Pedro Perluisi Says Puerto Rico's Commonwealth Status is "Root" of Problems

These plebiscite results have become the center of a political battle between Pierluisi and Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla.

"We categorically reject the backwards view, embraced by certain political leaders in Puerto Rico, that the status debate is somehow a distraction from efforts to address these challenges,” said Pierluisi.

Perluisi told the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization that the two-part plebiscite vote is undeniable proof that the island's people prefer statehood. ”For the first time in Puerto Rico’s history, there are more people who want Puerto Rico to become a state than who want to continue the current status,” said Pierluisi. "As the November vote reveals, the statehood movement has become the predominant force in Puerto Rico, and it grows stronger by the day.”

Last month, Perluisi introduced the Puerto Rican Status Resolution Act to Congress. “The only path forward is statehood or nationhood,” Pierluisi said. “And between those options, the people of Puerto Rico clearly prefer integration through statehood. It is now incumbent upon the United States government to respond by enacting legislation to offer Puerto Rico one or more of the status options that would provide its people with a full measure of self-government.  I have emphasized that action is necessary for both legal and moral reasons.”

President Obama is seeking support from Congress to conduct the first federally sponsored vote in Puerto Rico's history with the goal of resolving the country's future status.