Offering a reaction based solely on your essay—I don't have a dog in this fight—I appreciate your conclusion: namely that your belief in Puerto Rican independence is at least partly emotional, & based on national pride.
No doubt that my own home state, California, came into the union by way of imperialist policies. Certainly both it & the US as a whole have benefitted from those policies. You suggest that statehood for Puerto Rico would reward sins of the past. Perhaps so. But shouldn't the only question be: which path forward will benefit the people of Puerto Rico the most?
I think, by comparison, that the Hawaian independence movement is based on sound principles, but to permit states to leave the union would set a dangerous precedent & weaken the country overall. Seen in that light, perhaps 52%, even in a non-binding referendum, isn't enough. Perhaps we should require a 2/3s majority before enacting statehood?
As a practical matter, I would like to see the admission of a Spanish-speaking state into the union in order to put to rest the ridiculous assertion by nationalists that English, & only English, must be spoken here. But that's no reason for the island's residents to rush pell mell into anything.
Greatly appreciate your well thought out analysis.