Tuesday, July 14, 2020
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The unalienable right to sovereignty
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The UN Decolonization Committee described the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States as a “subordinated” one.

In a resolution approved on June 17, the United Nations Decolonization Committee reaffirmed the unalienable rights of Puerto Rico to free self-determination and independence, ratifying it as a Latin American and Caribbean country “with a distinct and well-defined national identity”. In addition, the committee described the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States as a “subordinated” one.

The initiative put forth by Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela referred the non-binding ballot carried out in Puerto Rico on Nov. 7, 2012 — the same date as the elections for the country´s new governor — in which the majority of voters rejected the country´s free association status with the United States, held since 1952, due to the inability of Puerto Ricans to vote in US presidential elections and lack of representation in Congress.

Pedro Pierluisi, resident commissioner of Puerto Rico to the US Congress and president of the annexation-friendly New Progressive Party, stated in the hearing that 61 percent of the 2.4 million voters were in favor of annexing the country as a new state of the United States. Only 34 percent voted in favor of maintaining the free association status and just 5 percent voted in favor of independence.

Pierluisi said he has submitted a bill to the US Congress to nominate Puerto Rico as a state, and that if the US legislature does not address the request he will formally request the UN intervention.

Luis Vega Ramos, from the ruling People´s Democratic Party and member of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, and Juan Dalmau, leader of the Puerto Rican Independence Party, called on the United States to carry out a self-determination process.

“In the prevailing circumstances of dependency and political subordination in Puerto Rico, such a strong reaction against colonialism has a special significance and value,” Dalmau said.

The resolution also noted that Jul. 25 will mark 115 years of US intervention in the island, and stressed the concern that a decolonization process has not been initiated, as established by Resolution 1514 of 1960, which states that “all the peoples have an inalienable right to complete freedom, the exercise of their sovereignty and the integrity of their national territory” and proclaimed “the necessity of bringing a speedy and unconditional end to colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.”

Since 1972, the UN has passed 31 resolutions for the decolonization of Puerto Rico. However, as Oscar Leon, representative of Cuba to the UN, states: “Little progress has been made over the years in the search for a final solution to the existing colonial situation that allows Puerto Ricans to both freely determine their political status and to achieve their political, economic, social and cultural dreams, without foreign interference.”
—Latinamerica Press.

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