Five days before the voter registration process –for US November mid-term election- ends, Puerto Ricans must make themselves heard in such an important democratic exercise when Congress members that will legislate over the next two years will be elected.
These elections are particularly critical for the American nation, for the world and, of course, for Puerto Rico. Both here and there, mobilization urges for the largest number of Puerto Ricans to vote.
The common goal is to introduce crucial issues for the Puerto Rican community, the diaspora and the island on the congressional priorities agenda.
The relocation of thousands of Puerto Ricans to the United States - after Hurricane Maria hit the island last year - has raised the potential of our community to influence North American politics. That capacity was quickly identified by politicians who, after the hurricane, intensified the search for those precious votes.
According to estimates, only in Florida there are 1.2 million Puerto Ricans. But barely half a million were registered as voters this week. It is necessary to strengthen our electoral capacity, to show Congress candidates and other elective positions that they have to count on Puerto Ricans.
Diaspora organizations, along with other political forces, are active on the streets of those states with the largest Puerto Rican population, to facilitate their registration as voters, along with other political forces. We can not leave them alone.
Every Puerto Rican on the island must join the mission, communicate with their relatives and friends, who are old enough to vote, to convince them of the importance of casting their vote and for it to be a well-informed vote.
It is time for Puerto Ricans - who are part of the diaspora - to assert the strength of democracy in the United States with the power of voting.
The Puerto Rican community in the United States has the opportunity to influence those government policies that most affect them. Adequate healthcare services, the best education for children, real job opportunities and decent housing are just some of the areas that still need to be improved. Voting is a key tool to achieve that Puerto Ricans in the mainland are respected as full citizens.
Also, Puerto Rican issues have the potential to find more attention through an active and vigorous Puerto Rican community in the states. The claim for parity in healthcare funds for the more than three million citizens who reside on the island, among other issues, is before Congress consideration.
On the other hand, the discrimination that the island suffered last year with the federal response to the emergency due to the hurricane, showed that it is still necessary to advance in the search of full rights for American citizens of Puerto Rican origin to be recognized and respected.
New federal allocations, that will contribute to the reconstruction and promote the economic development of the island, are still pending.
Active participation strengthens democracy. Today, Puerto Rico has members of Congress, of Puerto Rican descent, who have been allies in the search for attention to many of our problems. Now, there are others in the race for Congress who are emerging as promises of a new political generation capable of giving new energy to social causes.
Voting is a valuable opportunity to help sit in Congress the most serious and committed candidates for Puerto Rican just causes in particular, and for the Latino community in general.
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