The Case of Puerto Rico

The Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples met this morning to hear statements from petitioners regarding the case of Puerto Rico. The chairperson of the committee, H.E. Ms. Keisha Aniya McGuire commenced the meeting by stating that there had been 53 requests for intervention on this item. She then turned the floor over to petitioners.

Speakers rallied around the notion that Puerto Rico should be granted the right to self-determination, highlighting their belief that the current status of the island, though defined by the United States as a “free associated state,” is truly one of a colony. Along the same vein, speakers sought to emphasize that the United States had falsely represented the status of Puerto Rico to the international community. They did so by underscoring actions pursued by the U.S. government, and private sector, such as buying large portions of the island’s land, closing many of the schools, legalizing corruption, offering insufficient aid following natural disasters, and imposing taxation on the Puerto Rican people while denying them the right to a voice in the legislation that directly affects the people of the Caribbean island. Furthermore, many petitioners requested that the committee bring the issue of Puerto Rico to the agenda of the General Assembly.

One petitioner, Mr. Oscar Lopez Rivera, stated that the United States government “wants the cage but not the birds,” in reference to the exploitation of the island, but the lack of assistance or care displayed by the U.S. government to the Puerto Rican people. Another petitioner elaborated upon this idea and stated “we do not need charity, we need independence to build our homeland.

Meeting: Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, Plenary meeting 5

Date/Location: June 24, 2019; 10:00-13:00; Conference Room 2; United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers:

  • H.E. Ms. Keisha Aniya McGuire, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations and Chair of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples;
  • Petitioners to the Committee

Written by: WIT Representative Jenifer Miller

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