This year Latinos helped swing a presidential election, spoke at prime time spots during both party conventions, and emerged as one of the most coveted voter groups in the country.
But all that's hard to notice from a glance at Time Magazine's selection of “Person of the Year 2012.” As NBC Latino points out, there’s no Latino candidate on this year’s list, with the exception of “undocumented immigrants.”
Last year “The Protester” took the award, a clear choice in a year of protest movements around the globe, including Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street.
An invisible population stepped forward on June 15, 2012, to stake its claim to the American Dream. On that day, President Obama declared that certain undocumented immigrants — a group simply labeled "illegal" by many — would not be subjected to deportation, under broad-ranging conditions.
So far, the undocumented’s prospects don’t look so good. The candidate placed 17th out of 40 as of midday Tuesday, well behind non-person candidates like the Mars Rover and the Higgs Boson Particle. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy currently holds the lead, followed by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Despite the lack of Latino candidates in their “Person of the Year 2012” list, Time Magazine did predict back in February that Latinos would tip the presidential election.
And the magazine can’t exactly be blamed if they have trouble picking out Latino leaders. A Pew Hispanic Center survey from 2010 found a whopping 64 percent of Latinos didn’t know who they’d pick as the country’s most important Hispanic leader. Second place was “no one,” with 10 percent, followed by Sonia Sotomayor with 7 percent.
But that was also before an election season that left little doubt about who the emerging national leaders are.
Who might have made the 2012 list? Let us know in the comments and check out the slideshow below for five suggestions.
Tea Party-backed Marco Rubio leapt to prominence this year, amid speculation that GOP candidate Mitt Romney might pick the Cuban-American as a running mate. Now the GOP is looking to Rubio as a rising Hispanic star who can help the party make up for Romney's poor performance among Latino voters.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro became the first Latino to give the keynote speech at the Democratic Convention, catapulting him from a local politician to a national figure.
Outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderón launched a full frontal assault on his country's drug cartels -- leaving over 60,000 people dead in the process. But Calderón launched the professionalization of Mexico's notoriously corrupt police and helped root out drug traffickers' penetration of the government. How will his administration be remembered?
Time nominated Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps as a 2012 Person of the Year, but what about his colleague, Cuban-American Ryan Lochte?
If Congress manages to pass immigration reform, Luis Gutierrez -- one of the issue's most prominent advocates -- will likely be able to take some credit.