[News] International Committee appears at UN Decolonization Hearings on Puerto Rico

Anti-Imperialist News 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

http://www.nlginternational.org/

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.


Background

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 year’s 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 
government’s 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. 
President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s 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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