[News] International Committee appears at UN Decolonization Hearings on Puerto Rico
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jun 26 18:48:03 EDT 2008
Tania Frontera and Elliot Monteverde Torres speak out
Tania Frontera and Elliot Monteverde Torres speak
out against subpoenas issued to them
International Committee appears at UN Decolonization Hearings on Puerto Rico
By Jan Susler
June 22, 2008
After 400 years of Spanish colonial rule of
Puerto Rico, in 1898 Spain ceded Puerto Rico to
the United States, and the U.S. militarily
invaded and established a military government.
Over a century later, Puerto Rico continues to be
a U.S. colony one of the few juridical colonies
in the world in spite of the fact that
decolonization is a peremptory norm of international law.
Since 1972, the United Nations Decolonization
Committee has approved some 25 resolutions
confirming the application of this international
law (General Assembly Resolution 1514(XV)) to the case of Puerto Rico.
On June 9, 2008, the U.N. Decolonization
Committee convened once again to consider the
case of Puerto Rico. Representatives of some 30
diverse organizations testified, the majority
supporting independence. The Guild International
Committee was one of the few U.S.-based organizations to participate.
A unique hearing
Jan Susler offers testimony on behalf of the International Comm
Jan Susler offers testimony on behalf of the International Committee
Credit: Sofía Gallisá Muriente
This years hearings were unique in several ways.
For the first time, a sitting governor
participated in the hearings. Also for the first
time, representatives of all three status
preferences (independence, commonwealth and
statehood) agreed that Puerto Rico is a colony
which lacks sovereignty. Adding to the uniqueness
was testimony from two young people, Tania
Frontera and Elliot Monteverde Torres, subpoenaed
to a current grand jury investigating the
independence movement, who will undoubtedly be
jailed if they refuse to cooperate with the
governments efforts to criminalize the movement.
Many of the deponents highlighted the need for
the General Assembly to consider the case of
Puerto Rico, pointing to the findings of the U.S.
Presidents Task Force on Puerto Ricos Status
that the U.S. lied to the U.N. when in 1953 it
represented that Puerto Rico was a self-governing
territory, and that U.S. Congress could, if it so
desired, give Puerto Rico to another country.
Discussion and official resolution
U.N. delegates from many Latin American countries
spoke in favor of a resolution endorsing self
determination, including Ecuador, Nicaragua,
Bolivia, Panama, Venezuela, Saint Vincent and the
Grenadines, and Cuba; as did delegates from Syria
and Iran, and representatives from the Movement
of Non Aligned Nations, the Socialist
International, the Permanent Conference of
Political Parties of Latin America and the
Caribbean, and the Workers Party of Brazil.
The Committee passed a resolution adopting
measures that the Guild and many deponents urged:
once again affirming the application of
Resolution 1514(XV) to the case of Puerto Rico,
recognizing that the solution should emanate from
the Puerto Rican people. The resolution also
called for the General Assembly to consider the
case of Puerto Rico, requested the release of
long held political prisoners and the clean up of
military toxins left on the island of Vieques
when the U.S. Navy vacated, and expressed serious
concern over events such as the extrajudicial
execution of independence leader Filiberto Ojeda
Ríos and the U.S. refusal to cooperate with the
investigation of the Puerto Rico Department of Justice into his death.
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