Puerto Rico’s undemocratic political status — territory, but sometimes misleadingly called “Commonwealth” — continues to be a source of international criticism of the United States.
The criticism started during the Cold War. The Soviet Union responded with it when the United States criticized the Communist Party dictatorship’s domination of the Baltic nations and other countries. The Soviet client state of Cuba brought the issue to the United Nations in 1972 and has continued to annually since then, steadily gaining support of other nations, particularly Latin American countries and governments often at odds with the U.S.
As previously reported by PUERTO RICO REPORT, the U.N.’s 29-nation member Special Committee on Decolonization Monday once again approved a resolution regarding the territory, calling on the U.S. to “take responsibility” for enabling Puerto Ricans to exercise their rights to self-determination and independence.
Iran’s FARS news reported that Iran’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Hossein Dehqani, in the Committee discussion called on the U.S. Government to speed up the process of decolonization of Puerto Rico. “The U.S. should allow the colonized people of Puerto Rico to enjoy their inalienable right for self-rule and independence,” Dehqani said on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
According to the UN press release, Cuba’s representative, who introduced the resolution, said it reflected the international community’s urgent call to end the colonial status of Puerto Rico, which had been unable to exercise its right to self-determination and independence, despite 32 previous resolutions. In addition, he noted that Puerto Ricans had rejected the current status of political subordination in the territory’s November 2012 political status plebiscite.
The resolution was passed immediately after the Committee heard from about 50 petitioners, many Puerto Rican independence advocates. The representative from Movimiento Independentista Nacional Hostosiano said “Puerto Rico’s sovereignty had been illegally taken over by the United States. It was a Latin American and Caribbean country that must participate fully in the United Nations.” Others asked for independence for the indigenous Taino people and the “Borinquen nation.”
Independence came in third of three choices of alternatives to territory status in the 2012 plebiscite with 4.5% of the vote; it has never received more than 5% of the vote in any of the plebiscites on Puerto Rico’s status.
Still others spoke for statehood: John Ross Serrano Sanabria of the College Republican Federation of Puerto Rico said that Puerto Rico was not a country, but a United States territory inhabited by American citizens with a particular culture. He asked the Committee to include Puerto Rico on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories (a decision that would have to be made by the U.N, General Assembly) and press the U.S. Congress to admit it as the fifty-first State.
Last year, the Committee pointed out that the people of Puerto Rico had voted against Puerto Rico’s current territory status. There were multiple reminders of this fact in Monday’s discussion.
Several United States presidents have spoken about Puerto Rico’s territory status as an international issue.
It is shameful that President Obama ignored the 2012 vote against continued colonial status for Puerto Rico and a majority vote for statehood. Offering $2.5 million dollars for a status vote that will never take place because it will not be authorized by the current political party which the majority voted against the so called “Commonealth” or Estado Libre Asociado which is not a state, it is not free and is not in association with the United States. It is simply the oldest colony in the world.
Plesbicites and referendum of any sorts are a mockery to Puerto Ricans and the world because these are non-binding! Only the USA Congress and the President of the USA can authorize a legal change of status. It has not been done because they refuse to grant Statehood; the Commonwealth was imposed as a refusal to grant statehood, the governor of Puerto Rico a lawyer weeped when passed because he was mislead to sign it! It was the perpetuation of the colonial status. Independence was suppressed because of the strategic military dependency of USA with Vieques and several military bases in the island and because the USA monopolies earn huge revenues using cheap labor that accorded also a tax free heaven! The propaganda to keep the status quo by doing referendums was a way to pacify the discontent of the masses… allowing them to hope for a change that would never come!
The only solution to Puerto Rico is an Constitutionally Assembly of Status internationally recognized by the ONU!
Puerto Rico should become independent because USA will never treat Puerto Ricans as equal; they will always be viewed as non-white, Hispanic, foreigners who live on USA aid! That lie is so histerical. Puerto Rican’s DNA is 90%+ European white because their ancestors were Spaniards, not Africans! The Hispanic term refers to any descendant of Spaniards and Spanish is a language not a race! Every American is a foreigner… only the Native American Indians are the true USA Americans! Knowledge and the truth sets people free!
The GDP of Puerto Rico is in the trillion… with the largest pharmas established in the island for decades…. but the tax free revenue goes ashore!
Why would Puerto Rico have any financial crisis is all due to the tax free laws and the selective fórmulas for aid and the restrictions of no trading and the use of USA ships only which imposed heavy tariffs to any trade import and export deals that benefit USA Transport industries only!
There are Puerto Ricans in the island, a mother of 2, subsiding with $130 dollars of social benefits and $200 of food stamps month! She pays rent, water, electricity, and 7% sales tax! That is the norm for over 50% of population with a 20%+ unemployment (the first 10% is not counted!) and the poverty is rampant. Over 100 schools are to be closed! And USA ignores their plight and refuses to do what is right! A leader of civil rights do not ignore its own citizens!