NEW YORK – For the 36th time, a United Nations (UN) commission must approve today a resolution in favor of the self-determination and independence of Puerto Rico. This is part of a process that the President of the Human Rights Committee, Eduardo Villanueva, describes as “the peaceful perseverance in the international confrontation” for the Puerto Rican archipelago decolonization.
The session of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization will include the presentations of approximately 50 speakers, including the Secretary of State, Luis Rivera Marín, on behalf of the government of Puerto Rico, and the former Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who served a 36-year prison sentence and whose release had been already claimed by the committee.
“While there is an existent colony in the world, this committee won’t have fully accomplished its rightful responsibility and its raison d’être”, indicates Villanueva in the presentation he will give this morning during the hearing, which is due to take place at 10 am.
The resolution to be discussed today might include, among others, allusions to the validity of the Fiscal Oversight Board that controls the financial decisions of the Puerto Rican elected officials, the most recent status plebiscite and the release of López Rivera, whose sentence was commuted last January 17th and has been released and in absolute freedom a month ago.
The resolution will make a further appeal in favor of the UN General Assembly retaking the political case of Puerto Rico.
It will be the very first debate in the Decolonization Committee since president Donald Trump assumed office five months ago.
After going to Washington with Governor Ricardo Rosselló to promote the results of the recent status consultation, in which statehood gained 97% of the votes (amidst the political opposition boycott), the Secretary of State Rivera Marín said he will indicate, before the Decolonization Committee, that “the Puerto Ricans had the opportunity of exercising the right to vote during the plebiscite of June 11th and the will of the majority was that the United States Congress acts, as soon as possible, upon the case of the decolonization of the Island”.
Besides, Rivera Marín will repeat today “the requests made by Governor Rosselló –back then, as a candidate to La Fortaleza- a year ago”. In 2016, Rosselló requested the Decolonization Committee to put the political case of Puerto Rico back on the list of colonial countries, which would make the United States to render account about the Island to the UN.
Last Thursday, both Rivera Marín and Governor Rosselló took the results of the plebiscite, which had the lowest participation rate (23%) in the history of status referendums about the political-juridical relations with the United States, to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro.
“The Governor, the members of the Congress who support statehood for Puerto Rico, we are all going to claim for the Congress to act right now”, indicated the Secretary of State.
The session might recall the 2016 approved proposal that was originally made by the Vice-president of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP, Spanish acronym), María de Lourdes Santiago, so that a work group from the UN Decolonization Committee –composed by the Latin American ambassadors- made approaches between the federal government and the decolonization promoters of the Island.
With all the independence prisoners from Puerto Rico that were held in United States prisons as a result of acts linked to their ideals now out of jail, the Decolonization Committee will be calling the attention about the case of the 61 year old Puerto Rican Ana Belén Montes, convicted for spying for the Cuban government while working at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) of the United States.
“Ana Belén’s behavior constituted a defense of the right to self-determination of (Cuba) in light of the State interventions aimed to cut the freedom that all countries must have to choose their own government system and their own leaders”, points out Miriam Montes Mock, from the Work Table by Ana Belén Montes in Puerto Rico, in the lecture she is going to read today.
Montes was left out of the exchange of prisoners generated due to the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba during the government of Barack Obama. Because of the nature of her sentence, she has no chance to be eligible for conditional release.
Montes Mock will warn that Ana Belén Montes, arrested on September 16th 2001, suffers from cancer and has been through “a radical mastectomy”.