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N.Y. Friends of Puerto Rico at the United Nations report on UN hearings

After a successful round of hearings at the United Nation Decolonization
Committee and reception on Monday, June 20, this is to commend all who contributed to
this year’s success through work, presence in the activities or both.
The resolution adopted at the hearings, sponsored by five countries, Bolivia, Cuba,
Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela, once again was a reflection of the issues of concern
presented by the petitioners, including Vieques and Culebra, the reality that Puerto Rico
is a Latin American and Caribbean nation, the call for the release of the Puerto Rican
political prisoners, in particular, that of Oscar López Rivera which was strengthened in
this year’s resolution. The resolution, of course, also reaffirmed the inalienable right of
the people of Puerto Rico to self-determination and independence in conformity with UN
General Assembly resolution 1514(XV) of 1960, which is the Magna Carta for
decolonization under international law.
As in the past, a majority of petitioners from diverse Puerto Rico civil society and
political organizations and parties stated the relationship between the colonial status of
Puerto Rico and the violation of civil and constitutional rights, and the dire socio
economic situation of Puerto Rico’s working people. Some of the groups that testified
were the Puerto Rico Bar Association, the American Association of Jurists, the (U.S.)
National Lawyers Guild, the National Hostos Movement for the Independence of Puerto
Rico, the Nationalist and Pro Independence Parties of Puerto Rico, the Vieques
Affirmation Movement, the Committee for Puerto Rico at the United Nations
(COPRONU), and a number of human rights organizations including those doing work in
favor of the release of the Puerto Rican political prisoners.
In a reflection of the historical relationship between the progressive movement in
Puerto Rico and the progressive movement among Puerto Ricans in the United States a
number of organizations of the Puerto Rican community in New York and outside of New
York testified on the issues mentioned. Organizations favoring an expansion of the
powers of the Puerto Rican people under the present status after an exercise of
sovereignty also testified, as did a number of other U.S. organizations in solidarity.
The hearings once again reflected the issues around which there is common
ground among many Puerto Rican organizations. (President Obama’s recent visit to
Puerto Rico was only mentioned in the context of the disappointment it represented to all
including conservative sectors because of the very short length of his stay, less than four
hours; the emphasis on fundraising (almost one million dollars), and the lack of any new
proposal regarding the Puerto Rico’s political status issue.)
Monday’s reception following the hearings offered the opportunity for diplomats
from member countries of the UN Decolonization Committee, petitioners, New York
Puerto Rican community and political activists, and 1199 officers and activists to share a
distinctly happy evening of conversation and socializing. The Forum that followed the
reception and in which some of your participated or were present, was an effort and a step
toward greater unity among struggling organizations in New York and greater
communication between us in New York and the United States and sectors in Puerto Rico
concerned about the status issue and the socio-economic situation on the island. It was
also a step for other activities in the future.
For all of this result I would like to express gratitude to New York Friends of
Puerto Rico at the UN and all who have been supporting our activities. The only viable
solution to the colonial status of Puerto Rico is through a fair process and mechanism
which can only be guaranteed by international law and which will also impact upon
Puerto Ricans in the United States.
In struggle,
Olga I. Sanabria Dávila

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