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.