[News] UN calls on US to expedite self determination for Puerto Rico

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jun 10 15:23:33 EDT 2008


SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONIZATION ADOPTS TEXT 
CALLING ON UNITED STATES TO EXPEDITE 
SELF-DETERMINATION PROCESS FOR PUERTO RICAN PEOPLE

http://7thspace.com/headlines/284063/special_committee_on_decolonization_adopts_text_calling_on_united_states_to_expedite_self_determination_process_for_puerto_rican_people.html

The Special Committee on Decolonization today 
called upon the Government of the United States 
to expedite a process that would allow the Puerto 
Rican people fully to exercise their inalienable 
right to self-determination and independence.



In a resolution adopted by consensus, the 
decolonization body –- known formally as the 
Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to 
the Implementation of the Declaration on the 
Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries 
and Peoples -- requested the President of the 
United States to release all Puerto Rican 
political prisoners serving sentences for cases 
relating to the Territory’s struggle for 
independence and to the Vieques Island “peace struggle”.



The Special Committee, also known as the 
“Committee of 24”, urged the Government of the 
United States to complete the return of occupied 
land and installations on Vieques Island and in 
Ceiba; respect the fundamental human rights to 
health and economic development of their 
inhabitants; and expedite and cover the costs of 
decontaminating the areas previously used in military exercises.



Introducing the text, Cuba’s representative said 
that, while the Special Committee and the General 
Assembly had been adopting resolutions and 
decisions reaffirming the inalienable right of 
the Puerto Rican people to self-determination and 
independence, the United States, as colonial 
Power, had tried by all means to consolidate its 
economic, political and social domination over 
the “brotherly Latin American and Caribbean 
country”. Because of its culture, history, 
traditions and especially its people’s unswerving 
will, Puerto Rico would continue to be a Latin 
American and Caribbean nation, with its own 
national identity. After the Special Committee’s 
adoption of the text, he said: “The adoption of 
this resolution today is a tribute to the 
patriotic spirit of the Puerto Rican people and 
the tradition of struggle led by their heroes, 
who are also the heroes of Cuba and all the Americas.”



This morning, the Special Committee heard 18 
petitioners, who presented the views of various 
Puerto Rican groups, parties and organizations. 
Many requested the General Assembly to call on 
the United States to begin a just and equitable 
process to allow the people of Puerto Rico to 
exercise their right to self-determination, 
confirming to resolution 1514 (XV). Puerto Rican 
people could no longer tolerate that 
consideration of Puerto Rican self-determination 
be “parked in a corner of chimeras” by the 
Assembly, a representative of the Puerto Rico Bar Association said.



Among the issues that required attention, 
petitioners mentioned the imposition of the death 
penalty for federal crimes, despite its 
prohibition by the Constitution of Puerto Rico; 
extradition of those facing death penalty; 
occupation and environmental contamination of 
Vieques; political prisoners serving 
disproportionate sentences in United States 
jails; and rising federalization of Puerto Rican life.



Anibal Acevedo-Vilá, Governor of Puerto Rico, 
said the process of self-determination for the 
Puerto Rican people had not been concluded in 
1952, when the General Assembly, on the request 
of the United States, had concluded that a new 
constitutional status had been reached that had 
attributes of “sovereignty”. The United States 
Government had not complied with its promises to 
the international community, and a recent White 
House report on the matter stated that Puerto 
Rico had only two options: integration as a federal state, or independence.



He recalled having written in a letter to 
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the 
United States had perpetuated a “monumental 
fraud”. The Department of State must officially 
notify the United Nations of its current 
position. While supporting neither statehood nor 
independence, but rather the autonomous status 
supported by the majority of Puerto Ricans, he 
was asking the Special Committee, as an elected 
official, to request the United States to explain 
inconsistencies between its position in the 1950s and its current position.



Accusing the Governor of supporting the status 
quo, State Senator José Carriga Pico said true 
self-determination would make Puerto Rico the 
fifty-first State of the United States, while 
Luis Vega Ramos, a Member of Puerto Rico’s House 
of Representatives, called for independence in 
free association with the administering Power.



Kenneth D. McClintock, President of the Puerto 
Rico Senate, disagreeing with many other 
petitioners, said that the Territory’s ultimate 
political status was essentially a domestic 
matter of the United States, to be decided by its 
citizens residing in Puerto Rico and the 
Congress. It was not incumbent upon the Special 
Committee or the General Assembly to take action on the status of Puerto Rico.



Speaking prior to the adoption of today’s draft 
resolution were the representatives of Ecuador, 
Nicaragua, Bolivia, Panama, Venezuela, Dominica 
(on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Syria, 
Iran, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Cuba.



The Special Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 11 June.



Background



The Special Committee on the Situation with 
Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration 
of the Granting of Independence to Colonial 
Countries and Peoples, also known as the 
“Committee of 24” is hearing petitioners today from Puerto Rico.



A report (document A/AC.109/2008/L.3) prepared by 
the Committee’s Rapporteur highlights Puerto 
Rico’s general constitutional and political 
status, noting that, under the current 
Commonwealth arrangements, authority over 
defence, international relations, external trade 
and monetary matters remains with the United 
States, while Puerto Rico has autonomy on tax 
matters, social policies and most local affairs.



There is a deadlock among Puerto Rico’s political 
parties as to whether the island’s territorial 
status should change, the report says. However, 
the United States Congress reopened debate over 
the island’s political status in early 2007. The 
Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2007 was introduced 
in the House of Representatives in February and 
urged a plebiscite no later than 31 December 
2009. It called for the ballot to provide voters 
with two options: to continue the existing form 
of territorial status or pursue a path towards a 
constitutionally viable permanent non-territorial 
status. The Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 
2007, also introduced in the House in February, 
would recognize the right of the people of Puerto 
Rico to call a constitutional convention through 
which they would exercise their natural right to 
self-determination and to establish a mechanism 
for congressional consideration of such a 
decision. The amended Democracy Act was passed in 
subcommittee in October 2007. If, in the 2009 
referendum, Puerto Ricans would choose to 
continue the existing status, a new referendum 
would be held every eight years. If the other 
option were to win, a separate referendum no 
later than 2011 would give Puerto Ricans the 
option of statehood or becoming a sovereign 
nation, independent from or in free association with the United States.



Regarding military developments, the report noted 
that three issues remained to be clarified 
following the official end on 1 May 2003 of the 
United States Navy’s presence on the island of 
Vieques, located eight miles off the east coast 
of Puerto Rico: the future development and 
environmental clean-up of Vieques; definitive 
conclusions regarding the effects of military 
exercises on the health of residents; and the 
future of the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station on 
the island of Puerto Rico. The Navy later 
announced it had budgeted $76 million for the 
clean-up of Vieques for the 2006-2009 period.



According to the report, the United States 
maintains that Puerto Rico has exercised its 
right to self-determination, attained a full 
measure of self-government, decided freely and 
democratically to enter into a free association 
with the United States and is, therefore, as 
stated explicitly in resolution 748 (III) of 
1953, beyond the purview of United Nations consideration.



Approving a decision by consensus on 13 June 
2005, the Special Committee reaffirmed the right 
of the Puerto Rican people to self-determination 
and independence in conformity with General 
Assembly resolution 1514 (XV). It reiterated that 
they constituted a Latin American and Caribbean 
nation with its own unequivocal national identity.



Before the Special Committee today was a draft 
resolution (document A/AC.109/2008/L.7) calling 
upon the Government of the United States to 
expedite a process that would allow the Puerto 
Rican people fully to exercise their inalienable 
right to self-determination and independence. It 
would note in that regard the broad support of 
eminent persons, Governments and political forces 
in Latin America and the Caribbean for the independence of Puerto Rico.



The Special Committee would express serious 
concern regarding actions carried out against 
Puerto Rican independence fighters, and encourage 
the investigation of those actions with “the 
necessary rigour”. By other terms, the Special 
Committee would urge the Government of the United 
States to complete the return of occupied land 
and installations on Vieques Island and in Ceiba; 
respect the fundamental human rights to health 
and economic development; and expedite and cover 
the costs of decontaminating the areas previously 
used in military exercises. It would request the 
President of the United States to release all 
Puerto Rican political prisoners serving 
sentences for cases relating to the struggle for 
independence, as well as those serving sentences 
for cases relating to the Vieques Island peace struggle.



Introduction of Draft Resolution



RODRIGO MALMIERCA DÍAZ (Cuba), introducing the 
text, of which his country and Venezuela are 
co-sponsors, said the number of petitioners 
demonstrated the great level of interest in the 
question of Puerto Rico, whose people continued 
to lack the possibility of exercising their right 
to self-determination. For 30 years, the Special 
Committee and the General Assembly had been 
adopting resolutions and decisions, but little 
progress had been made. Meanwhile, the United 
States, the colonial Power, tried by all means to 
consolidate its economic, political and social 
domination over the “brotherly Latin American and Caribbean country”.



The Special Committee had already adopted 25 
resolutions or decisions on the issue, 
reaffirming in each one the inalienable right of 
the Puerto Rican people to self-determination and 
independence, he said. Puerto Rico would continue 
to be -– because of its culture, history, 
traditions and especially its people’s unswerving 
will -- a Latin American and Caribbean nation, 
with its own national identity, which the Puerto 
Ricans had been able to keep alive despite the colonizing process.



He recalled that, in 2006, 118 member States of 
the Non-Aligned Movement had reiterated in Havana 
their strong support for the Puerto Rican people 
in their struggle for the right to 
self-determination and independence. The adoption 
of the text by consensus would be the most 
effective contribution that the Special Committee 
could make to that just cause.



Petitioners



Many petitioners urged the Special Committee to 
adopt the draft resolution before it, insisting 
that, despite assertions of autonomy, Puerto Rico 
was still one of the few remaining colonies in 
the world. Speakers described their people’s 
fight for self-determination and independence, 
requesting the Special Committee to urge the 
General Assembly to reconsider the situation of 
Puerto Rico and call on the United States to 
begin a just and equitable process to allow the 
people of Puerto Rico to exercise their right to 
self-determination. The Special Committee was 
invited to visit Puerto Rico to investigate human 
rights violations as well as cases of racism, discrimination and exploitation.



Insisting that there was consensus today over the 
existence of a colonial relationship between the 
United States and Puerto Rico, a representative 
of the Puerto Rico Bar Association said it 
“requires a solution in tandem with this 
century”. The Puerto Rican people could no longer 
tolerate that consideration of their 
self-determination be “parked in a corner of 
chimeras” by the General Assembly. Puerto Rico 
was a Caribbean and Latin American nation with 
its own distinct national identity.



ANIBAL ACEVEDO-VILA, Governor of Puerto Rico, 
said the Territory’s self-determination process 
had not been concluded in 1953. The General 
Assembly, on the request of the United States, 
had concluded that the new constitutional status 
reached had attributes of sovereignty. The 
Government of the United States had not complied 
with its promises to the international community, 
and a recent White House report on the matter was 
full of inaccuracies and offensive conclusions. 
It stated that Puerto Rico had only two options 
-- integration as a federal state, or 
independence. In a letter to Condoleezza Rice, 
the Secretary of State, he had said that the 
United States had perpetuated a “monumental 
fraud”, and called on the Department of State 
officially to notify the United Nations of its 
current position. Presidential candidate Barack 
Obama had expressed his disagreement with the 
White House report’s conclusion in a letter.



Describing himself as neither pro-statehood nor 
pro-independence, he said he was an autonomist, a 
status supported by the majority of Puerto 
Ricans. The people must have the power to take 
the final decision on their future. As an elected 
official, the Governor asked the Special 
Committee to request the United States to explain 
inconsistencies between its position in the 1950s and its position today.



Stressing the responsibility of the United 
Nations to ensure Puerto Rico’s right to 
self-determination, several petitioners called 
for sovereignty, expressing the hope that, one 
day, Puerto Rico would be represented at the 
United Nations as an independent State.



JOSÉ CARRIGA PICO, State Senator, however, 
defended the option of statehood, saying it 
enjoyed the widest support in Puerto Rico. As the 
Governor supported the status quo, any proposal 
made by him must be reviewed carefully. True 
self-determination would make Puerto Rico the 
fifty-first State of the United States.



LUIS VEGA RAMOS, a member of Puerto Rico’s House 
of Representatives for the Popular Democratic 
Party, called for independence in free 
association with the United States, cautioning 
that the claim that the majority of Puerto Ricans 
favoured integration as a state had never been validated at the polls.



KENNETH D. MCCLINTOCK, President of the Puerto 
Rico Senate, disagreed with many other 
petitioners, saying it was not incumbent upon the 
Special Committee or the General Assembly to take 
action on the Territory’s status. The Special 
Committee’s scope was limited to promoting 
independence, which had been overwhelmingly and 
repeatedly rejected by the people of Puerto Rico. 
The Puerto Rican population had consistently 
favoured options intended to maintain United 
States citizenship and a continuing relationship 
with that country. Last month’s poll in a major 
daily newspaper, for example, had shown that 57 
per cent would choose statehood, 34 per cent 
would continue with the current status and 5 per 
cent would vote for independence. In a plebiscite 
providing the choices of statehood and 
independence, 77 per cent had said they would 
choose statehood and 12 per cent that they would opt for independence.



Assembly resolution 1541 stated that two other 
methods of achieving self-government included 
unilaterally revocable free association and 
complete and permanent integration with an 
independent State on an equal footing, he 
continued. Not recognizing those options would 
severely compromise Puerto Rico’s right to 
self-determination. The Territory’s ultimate 
political status was essentially a domestic 
matter of the United States, which should be 
decided by its citizens residing in Puerto Rico 
and the United States Congress.



Among matters requiring attention, petitioners 
mentioned the imposition of the death penalty for 
federal crimes, despite its prohibition by the 
Constitution of Puerto Rico; occupation and 
environmental contamination of Vieques; political 
prisoners serving disproportionate sentences in 
United States jails; rising federalization of 
Puerto Rican life; participation of Puerto Ricans 
in the United States armed forces; and the effect 
of surcharges on the shipping of goods on the population.



Everything from the cost of milk to the 
imposition of criminal punishment was determined 
by the administrating Power, one speaker said. 
The whole colonial apparatus was responding to 
the interests of that country. The Special 
Committee should respect its mandate and urge the 
Government of the United States to end the 
persecution of Puerto Ricans who had fought for 
the independence of their country.



It was also pointed out that Puerto Rico was the 
only nation in its region remaining under 
colonial rule, and its independence was a 
priority for Latin America and the Caribbean. 
Some speakers underlined that it was unacceptable 
to refer to the people of Puerto Rico as United 
States citizens, as they made up a distinct 
nationality. Others called for an immediate and 
unconditional transfer of sovereign powers to the people of Puerto Rico.



“Colonialism is contrary to international law, 
because it robs peoples and nations of their 
identity, language, culture, land and natural 
resources,” a representative of the National 
Lawyers Guild International Committee said, 
adding: “This crime continues in Puerto Rico 
today.” The current United States administration, 
in its reports from the President’s Task Force on 
Puerto Rico’s Status, had virtually acknowledged 
that Puerto Rico remained a juridical colony. 
Regardless of what the United States had said in 
its 1953 report to the United Nations in order to 
have Puerto Rico removed from the list of 
Non-Self-Governing Territories, it remained 
subject to the plenary authority of the United 
States Congress under the Territory Clause, under 
which power the Congress could even cede Puerto Rico to another nation.



Outlining the activities of the Federal Bureau of 
Investigations (FBI) in Puerto Rico, she said 
that, as the wave of repression gathered force, 
so did the strong sentiment that the Bureau must 
leave Puerto Rico. In a recent public relations 
campaign to try to alter its image, the FBI had 
sought to create an impression that its 
“benevolent” intervention would save Puerto 
Ricans from their own corrupt, violent society 
replete with “terrorists”, but in reality, the 
Bureau’s purpose was to continue its long 
trajectory of criminalizing the independence 
movement and assuring the continued colonial status of Puerto Rico.



Other speakers protested the use of grand juries 
as a means of intimidation and harassment of 
independence-struggle supporters, as were raids 
on union headquarters and independence movements. 
“As long as Puerto Rico is under the American 
colonial boot, Washington and Wall Street will be 
strengthened,” the representative of the 
Socialist Workers Party said, drawing attention 
to the fact that the prosecution against the 
Governor on 19 charges relating to his 2000 
election campaign was a selective process, aimed 
at harming his re-election prospects in 2008.



Petitioners also pointed out that the colonial 
status weakened Puerto Rico, leaving it 
vulnerable to the dictates of industrial 
entities, which imposed their terms on people in 
need of jobs. One of the aspects of that problem 
was that Puerto Ricans now consumed what they did 
not produce and produced what they did not 
consume. “For over 50 years, the United States 
has fooled us with promises and dazzled us with 
their wealth,” one speaker said in that regard.



Several others referred to the United States 
monopoly on the transportation of goods to and 
from Puerto Rico and to the problem of rising 
prices as a result of Puerto Rico’s economic 
dependence on the United States. One petitioner 
outlined the impact of United States policies on 
the Territory’s sufficiency and that country’s 
“clear attempts to destroy what remains of Puerto 
Rico’s agriculture”, which made the Territory 
more dependent on the United States.



A representative of the Vieques Support Campaign 
said that, just four days ago, the United States 
Navy had carried out open-air detonations on 
Vieques, releasing scores of toxins into the air. 
The Navy and the corporation contracted to carry 
out the clean-up continued to lie to the people, 
claiming, in particular, that thousands of bombs 
being detonated on Vieques could not be exploded 
in a controlled detonation chamber. The Navy was 
also seeking authorization to burn vegetation in 
order to find unexploded bombs, inflicting damage 
on the environment. Control over the situation 
was in the hands of the Navy and the clean-up 
company, with little community input.



Addressing the Special Committee during the 
morning session were: Celina Romany Siaca, Puerto 
Rico Bar Association; Hiram Lozada, American 
Association of Jurists; Ruben Berrios, Puerto 
Rican Independence Party; Jan Susler, National 
Lawyer’s Guild International Committee; Emilio 
Solermar, Puerto Rico Action Foundation; Róger 
Colero, Socialist Workers Party; Eduardo 
Villanueva Munoz, Puerto Rican Human Rights 
Committee; Pedro Colon Almenas, Movimiento 
Socialista de Trabajadores; Onix Maldonado Lopez, 
Estudiantes de Estudios Pre-Juridicos; Carlos M. 
Hernandez Lopez, Frente Autonomista; Jose 
Castillo, Partido Nacionalista de Puerto Rico; 
Hector Ivan Santos, PROELA; Carmen Gonzalez, 
Coalicion Puertorriquena contra la Pena de 
Muerte; and Antonio Cafiero, COPPPAL.



Speaking in the afternoon were: Jorge L. Limeres, 
Comite Pro Independencia de Puerto Rico de 
Connecticut; Wilma Reveron-Collazo, COPRONU; 
Valentin Rosario, Colectivo Puertorriqueno Pro 
Independencia; Rogelio Girueroa Garcia, 
Puertorriquenos Por Puerto Rico; Hector 
Pesquera-Sevillano, Movimiento Independentista 
Nacional Hostosiano; Raquel Delgado, La Nueva 
Escuela; Fernando J. Martin, Socialist 
International; Rodrigo Borja, former President of 
Ecuador; Yamil Misla, Young Professionals for 
Puerto Rican Democracy; Manuel Rivera, 
Puertorriquenos Unidos En Accion; Francisco 
Velgara, Vieques Support Campaign; Romenio 
Pereira, Partido dos Trabalhadores; Benjamin 
Ramos Rosado, ProLibertad Freedom Campaign; 
Normahiram Perez, FMPR Support Committee; Elliot 
Monteverde Torres, Hostos Grand Jury Resistance 
Campaign; José F. Aponte Hernández, Speaker of 
the Puerto Rican House of Representatives; Nilda 
Luz Rexach, National Advancement for Puerto Rican 
Culture; José Adames, Cultural Center Anancaona; 
and Santiago Feliz, Ministerio Latino.



General Statements



MARIA FERNANDA ESPINOSA ( Ecuador), aligning 
herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the 
case of Puerto Rico was important because of its 
special circumstances. While the decolonization 
Declaration applied fully to the Territory, its 
case should be taken to the General Assembly for 
resolution as Puerto Rico was a Latin American 
and Caribbean nation with its own identity.



HUGO SILES ALVARADO ( Bolivia ), also aligning 
himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the 
situation of the people of Puerto Rico was 
“totally incomprehensible”. How was it possible 
that, in the twenty-first century, policies of 
colonial expansion were still being conducted, 
and a country that claimed to advance democracy 
throughout the world was still imposing such a 
situation on the brotherly people of Puerto Rico? 
There was no greater anachronism than 
“commonwealth status”, a trick used to manipulate 
a colonialist policy against the people of Puerto 
Rico. Bolivia urged members of the Special 
Committee and all Member States to support the 
wishes expressed by the Puerto Rican people and, 
in that regard, supported the establishment of a 
sovereign constitutional assembly by which they 
could determine their own future.



JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO ( Nicaragua) said Puerto 
Rico was a Latin American and Caribbean nation 
that had shown perseverance in its struggle for 
self-determination and independence. The Special 
Committee had approved some 25 draft resolutions 
and decisions stating that Assembly resolution 
1514 (XV) applied to the Territory and it was to 
be hoped that the General Assembly would examine 
the question of Puerto Rico, in all its 
ramifications, in the very near future. It had 
been difficult for Puerto Rico to retain its 
identity over the years and to ensure that the 
struggle for the right to independence could 
remain at the forefront. Puerto Rico had much to 
contribute to the purposes and principles of the 
United Nations. As the Second Decade for the 
Elimination for Colonization approached its end, 
the full sovereignty of the Puerto Rican people 
must be recognized. It could no longer be deferred.



RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS ( Panama) said Puerto 
Rico’s inalienable right to self-determination 
required a revision of its existing status in 
order to guarantee full implementation of the 
decolonization Declaration. The draft resolution 
before the Special Committee reiterated that the 
Puerto Rican people belonged to the family of 
Latin American and Caribbean States, with their 
own national identity, and were entitled to 
self-determination and independence. The 
Territory’s full incorporation into the family of 
Latin American and Caribbean States was an 
outstanding part of the regional integration 
movement. The cold war was over and the new 
situation must be assessed realistically.



As suggested by the report of the United States 
working group on Puerto Rico’s status, the 
Territory was still subject to a colonial system, 
he continued, stressing that it was time to end 
that anomaly. Panama was an example of how such 
issues could be resolved in a friendly manner. 
Puerto Rico should be included on the agenda of 
the General Assembly, for a comprehensive 
examination. All sectors of Puerto Rican opinion 
should be considered, as it was for the people as 
a whole to decide their future.



AURA MAHUAMPI RODRIGUEZ DE ORTIZ (Venezuela), 
supporting the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, 
as a co-sponsor of the draft resolution before 
the Special Committee, her delegation supported 
fully the inalienable right of the Puerto Rican 
people to self-determination and independence, as 
well as the participation of petitioners in the 
Special Committee’s work today. Venezuela’s 
traditional position on Puerto Rico was that, 
despite the efforts of the Special Committee, a 
colonial situation remained in the Territory, 
contrary to the spirit of the age. The United 
States should give up its dominion over the 
Puerto Rican people so they could exercise their 
right to self-determination and decide their own 
future, in accordance with resolution 1514 and 
other decisions. Regional and international 
support for the decolonization of Puerto Rico had 
been demonstrated, in particular, by the 
Fourteenth Conference of Heads of States of 
Government of the Non-Aligned Movement in Havana 
in September 2006, and the Latin American and 
Caribbean Congress on the independence of Puerto 
Rico in Panama in 2006. The text before the 
Special Committee was the twenty-sixth on the 
matter and Venezuela hoped it would be adopted by consensus.



CRISPIN S. GREGOIRE ( Dominica), speaking on 
behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said 
decolonization and the legitimate right to 
self-determination continued to be a top priority 
for the Movement, which renewed its call on 
Member States to speed up their work towards the 
complete elimination of colonialism. The colonial 
question of Puerto Rico had been under the 
Special Committee’s consideration for more than 
35 years, with a total of 25 resolutions or 
decisions adopted on that subject, the last eight 
by consensus. The Movement strongly supported 
those resolutions and called for their 
expeditious implementation. It reaffirmed the 
right of Puerto Rico to self-determination and 
independence under resolution 1514 (XV), and 
called on the Government of the United States to 
assume its responsibility to expedite a process 
that would allow the Puerto Rican people to 
exercise fully their inalienable right to 
self-determination and independence. The Movement 
also urged the United States to return the 
occupied land and installations on Vieques Island 
and the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station to the Puerto Rican people.



MANAR TALEB ( Syria) said the people of Puerto 
Rico had struggled for years for their right to 
self-determination as provided for in resolution 
1514. The Special Committee had been considering 
Puerto Rico for more than 30 years, adopting 
resolutions and decisions that reaffirmed the 
inalienable right of Puerto Ricans to 
self-determination and independence. Syria had 
supported the Declaration of the Non-Aligned 
Movement Summit in Havana in 2006, which demanded 
the implementation of all relevant resolutions. 
Hopefully, consensus on the current resolution 
would reaffirm the principles on which the United 
Nations was established, the most important being self-determination.



AMIR HOSSEIN HOSSEINI ( Iran), aligning himself 
with the Non-Aligned Movement, supported the 
right of the Puerto Rican people to self-determination.



CAMILLO GONSALVES (Saint Vincent and the 
Grenadines), aligning himself with the 
Non-Aligned Movement, said his country’s 
post-colonial life had begun only a few decades 
ago and it therefore had an abhorrence of a rule 
imposed on a people without their consent. The 
unique people of Puerto Rico must not be denied 
the right to self-determination, as described in 
paragraph 12 of resolution 1514 (XV). Whether 
Puerto Ricans favoured independence, statehood or 
the continuation of the status quo, the Special 
Committee should only consider their right to 
self-determination. While statements blaming the 
United States for the situation might or might 
not be accurate, what was beyond debate was that 
country’s responsibility to follow through on its 
decision to end the bombardments of Vieques 
Island with a clean-up. The United States also 
had a responsibility to expedite the process by 
which the Puerto Rican people could exercise 
their right to self-determination with full respect to their rights.



Action



The Special Committee, acting without a vote, 
then adopted the draft resolution contained in document A/AC.109/2008/L.7.



Mr. MALMIERCA DIAZ ( Cuba) said the Special 
Committee’s action was highly relevant as 2008 
would mark 110 years since the United States had 
intervened in Puerto Rico. The adoption of the 
text also had special meaning for Cuba because of 
its historic commitment to the self-determination 
and independence of the fraternal people of 
Puerto Rico. Both countries had been subject to 
the Spanish colonial yoke, and both had suffered 
the same United States military intervention of 1898.



He said his country had counted on brave Puerto 
Rican soldiers, adding: “The Cuban people will 
never forget that more than 2,000 Puerto Ricans 
shed their blood on the Cuban battlefields during 
our independence wars. [
] The Cuban and Puerto 
Rican peoples are forever united by centuries of 
history; the present generations of Cubans and 
Puerto Ricans continue to build this history, 
which is rooted in the deepest of our 
identities.” Despite the long colonial 
domination, the Puerto Rican people had managed 
to keep their culture, identity and national 
sentiments. “The adoption of this resolution 
today is a tribute to the patriotic spirit of the 
Puerto Rican people and the tradition of struggle 
led by their heroes, who are also the heroes of Cuba and all the Americas.”




Published on: 2008-06-10




Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

www.Freedomarchives.org  
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://freedomarchives.org/pipermail/news_freedomarchives.org/attachments/20080610/451ac57c/attachment.html>


More information about the News mailing list