Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pedro Pierluisi: Prepared Statement for U.N. Special Committee on Decolonization June 17, 2013: "I am honored to speak on behalf of those men and women who proudly carry the Puerto Rican flag in one hand and the American flag in the other, and who know that their love for Puerto Rico and their love for the United States complement, rather than contradict, one another... all recognize that Puerto Rico’s territory status is the root cause of the economic and social problems that impair quality of life on the island... the current status has lost its democratic legitimacy. The only path forward is statehood or nationhood. And between those options, the people of Puerto Rico clearly prefer integration through statehood... As a moral matter, the U.S. government rightfully prides itself as a champion of democracy and self-determination around the world. Therefore, it should—indeed, it must—adhere to those principles with respect to its own citizens..."

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» Pierluisi to UN: Commonwealth status is the root of PR’s economic
17/06/13 20:18 from Caribbean Business
Pierluisi to UN: Commonwealth status is the root of PR’s economic, social ills Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi told the United Nations Special Decoloniza ... To ease shortage of organs, grow them in a lab? NEW YORK — By the time 10-y..

Pierluisi to UN: Commonwealth status is the root of PR’s economic, social ills

Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi told the United Nations Special Decoloniza ...

Puerto Rico’s Congressman Delivers Statement at the United Nations…

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The current tension regarding the unresolved status of Puerto Rico was discussed today at the United Nations (see statement below). While I remain neutral on this issue of self-determination for my brethren living on the island, I am also very frustrated with the inaction of the U.S. Congress; continuing to willingly disenfranchise your fellow legal American citizens from equal voting rights.
It is very unfortunate and embarrassing for our country when a member of Congress feels he has no other choice than to raise the related injustices at the United Nations. If we are to be the world’s shining example of democracy, then how can we continue to treat our territories’ citizens as second class citizens with marginalized representation and rights as deemed by the U.S. Constitution?
If the U.S. Congress and President Obama really want to engage and empower our Hispanic voting block in this country, even if only for their political gain, then they should take immediate steps to resolve Puerto Rico’s status quagmire. To do nothing is to communicate a level of indifference that threatens to make us appear hypocritical around the globe. NEWYORICANGIRL
The Hon. Pedro R. Pierluisi
Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico and President of the New Progressive Party
Prepared Statement
U.N. Special Committee on Decolonization
June 17, 2013
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
My name is Pedro Pierluisi.  I am Puerto Rico’s sole representative in the United States Congress, known as the Resident Commissioner.
I also serve as the President of the New Progressive Party, which supports statehood for Puerto Rico—and I am testifying in that capacity.
I asked to participate because an event has taken place that fundamentally changes the terms of the debate on Puerto Rico’s political status.
On November 6, 2012, Puerto Rico exercised its right to self-determination by holding a free and fair vote on the status question.  The results demonstrate that 54 percent of voters do not wish to maintain the current status.  To the extent that the people of Puerto Rico ever gave their consent to the current status, that consent has now been withdrawn.
The results further demonstrate that, among the three internationally recognized alternatives to the current status, 61 percent of voters support statehood.
Finally, the results demonstrate that, for the first time in Puerto Rico’s history, there are more people who want Puerto Rico to become a state than who want to continue the current status.
I have described the significance of this vote to the President of the United States, my colleagues in the U.S. Congress, and the American public—and I believe it is appropriate for me to inform the community of nations as well.
I am honored to speak on behalf of those men and women who proudly carry the Puerto Rican flag in one hand and the American flag in the other, and who know that their love for Puerto Rico and their love for the United States complement, rather than contradict, one another.  Our party believes that statehood is in the best interest of Puerto Rico, and so we seek to perfect our union with the United States, not to dilute or dissolve the political, economic and social bonds that we have forged—in peace and in war—over the past 115 years.  As the November vote reveals, the statehood movement has become the predominant force in Puerto Rico, and it grows stronger by the day.
I want to clarify an important point.  On the surface, those who want Puerto Rico to become a state and those who want Puerto Rico to become a sovereign nation appear to have little in common, given our different visions for Puerto Rico’s future, but we actually agree in fundamental respects.
We are the reality-based movements in Puerto Rico.
We recognize—rather than refute—the fact that Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States.
We understand—rather than deny—that, although the United States approved a constitution for Puerto Rico in 1952 and was released from its reporting requirement under Article 73 of the U.N. Charter in 1953, Puerto Rico is still a “non-self-governing territory” if that term has any meaning at all.
We recognize that, under U.S. law and international law, as enshrined in U.N. General Assembly Resolution 1541, there are three status options that would provide Puerto Rico with a “full measure of self-government”:  independence, nationhood in a free association with another nation, and integration through statehood.  We do not misrepresent what Puerto Rico is, or what it might become, for the sake of political advantage.
We recognize that Puerto Rico remains an unincorporated territory of the United States despite the fact that it has been allowed by the U.S. Congress to exercise authority over its local affairs similar to that to which the U.S. states are entitled.  We likewise recognize that the U.S. Congress could unilaterally rescind the powers it has delegated to Puerto Rico if it saw fit to do so.
We recognize as self-evident that Puerto Rico does not have democracy at the national level.  The United States government makes and implements laws for Puerto Rico.  But island residents cannot vote for the U.S. President, are not represented in the U.S. Senate, and elect one member to the U.S. House of Representatives—the Resident Commissioner—who can vote in committees, but not in the full House.  Moreover, the laws enacted by Congress and enforced by the president may—and often do—treat Puerto Rico unequally.
As Resident Commissioner, I regularly experience firsthand the injustice of our current status.  I must fight to ensure that Puerto Rico is not excluded from job creation, health care, or border security bills that automatically include the states.  As my fellow representatives in the U.S. House vote on legislation that affects every aspect of life in Puerto Rico, I can only watch, even though I represent about five times as many U.S. citizens as any of my colleagues.  I must rely on the goodwill of U.S. senators who were elected to protect the interests of their constituents, not mine—and, naturally, such goodwill is not always forthcoming.  And I must request assistance from a president who, however strong his affinity for Puerto Rico might be, is not required to seek or earn our vote.  To expect that his administration would feel the same urgency to produce positive results for Puerto Rico as it does for the states is, frankly, to substitute hope for experience.
Furthermore, those who want Puerto Rico to become a state and those who want Puerto Rico to become a sovereign nation—whether in a free association with, or fully independent from, the United States—all recognize that Puerto Rico’s territory status is the root cause of the economic and social problems that impair quality of life on the island.  We categorically reject the backwards view, embraced by certain political leaders in Puerto Rico, that the status debate is somehow a distraction from efforts to address these challenges.
Finally, and above all, estadistas, soberanistas and independentistas share a deep conviction that the people of Puerto Rico, 3.7 million strong, deserve a fully democratic and dignified status.
In November, Puerto Rico took the initiative, exercised its right to self-determination, and unequivocally withdrew its consent to the current territory status.
This means that the current status has lost its democratic legitimacy.  The only path forward is statehood or nationhood.  And between those options, the people of Puerto Rico clearly prefer integration through statehood.
It is now incumbent upon the United States government to respond by enacting legislation to offer Puerto Rico one or more of the status options that would provide its people with a full measure of self-government.  I have emphasized that action is necessary for both legal and moral reasons.
As a legal matter, the U.S. Constitution vests Congress with broad authority over its territories.  For Puerto Rico to evolve and to become a state or sovereign nation, it is not enough to just seek such a change; U.S. Congress and the President must act to enable that change.
As a moral matter, the U.S. government rightfully prides itself as a champion of democracy and self-determination around the world.  Therefore, it should—indeed, it must—adhere to those principles with respect to its own citizens, or it will lose credibility at home and abroad.
I have faith that the U.S government will fulfill its legal and moral obligation to facilitate Puerto Rico’s transition to a democratic and dignified status.  But my faith is not blind. Meaningful action from Washington will be required to sustain it.
I am fully cognizant that the wheels of government often take longer to turn than one might prefer, and I therefore appreciate that a degree of patience is in order.  But I also know that justice too long delayed is justice denied.  And—after 115 years as a territory—Puerto Rico’s patience is understandably running out.
Let me be clear.  In the absence of concrete and timely action from the U.S. government, I will not hesitate to raise this case before the United Nations or any other appropriate international forum.  As the leader of a party that aspires for Puerto Rico to become a full and equal member of the American family, I have no desire to publicly criticize the United States.  But it is more important for me to secure justice for my people than it is for me to be polite.
That said, I am encouraged by the response I have seen to date.  President Obama has sought an appropriation from Congress to conduct the first federally sponsored vote in Puerto Rico’s history, with the express goal of “resolving” the territory’s future status.  It goes without saying that this issue cannot be resolved by continuing the current undemocratic status.
Last month, I introduced legislation, the Puerto Rico Status Resolution Act, which proceeds from the indisputable premise that statehood obtained more votes than any other status option in the November referendum.  The bill, which already has 72 cosponsors from both U.S. political parties, outlines the rights and responsibilities of statehood, and then asks the people of Puerto Rico to accept—or reject—those terms in an up-or-down vote.  If a majority of voters accept those terms, the bill provides for the President to submit legislation to admit Puerto Rico as a State after a reasonable transition period.  The bill also expresses Congress’s commitment to act on such legislation.
In closing, I want to express my belief that the international community, like the U.S. government, should honor the will of the people of the non-self-governing territory of Puerto Rico.  Consistent with the U.N. Charter and Resolution 1541, the international community should support a process of self-determination that will result in a fully democratic and dignified status for Puerto Rico, whether that status be statehood or nationhood.  The principle of self-determination so requires.
Thank you. 

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G8 summit - day two: Politics live blog | Politics

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George Osborne has given at least three interviews this morning. Here are the main points.
• Osborne said that more progress had been made at the G8 in the last 24 hours on reforming international rules on tax and transparency than at any time in the last 24 years.
A lot of these rules were designed in the 1920s. They were actually designed by the League of Nations, and they have not been updated as the world has changed, and the internet has arrived. And what we are using this summit to do is to provide new rules and update the existing rules so that they are fit for the 21st century. I think we've probably made more progress in the last 24 hours than people have made in at least 24 years.
• He said the deal being announced today would amount to a "real step-change".
I think what you will see today is some of the largest countries in the world accepting that we should know who owns what company. How that information is available is really, of course, partly a matter for those individual countries, because they have all got different tax systems and different parliaments and so on. What you need at a G8 is the high-level commitment that they all sign up to, the declaration, and we're working on a declaration that I think people will be impressed by ... There's a whole range of issues that are going to be brought together in a very simple declaration that will be agreed later today. This is a real step-change in the seriousness with which the international community takes these issues.
• He identified two key changes that were being made, relating to tax avoidance and evasion by companies and by individuals.
In practical terms, there are two things we can do. One is we can rewrite the international rules that allow companies to shift their profits away from the UK or any other country where they’re actually doing business - these companies are using the existing tax laws. Obviously you have to get international agreement and there’s no better place to start than when you’ve got eight of the largest economies in the world sitting around the table, and I think you will see real concrete progress on that today.
Equally, there are individuals who hide their money offshore, who don’t pay the taxes that ordinary citizens do, that people watching this programme do, and they get away with that, but we’re insisting that there is an automatic transfer of information between countries and that will mean that we can find out what’s going on in different jurisdictions.
• He said the G8 countries would agree not to pay money to hostage takers.
We’ve made further progress on other issues that are really important and don’t always hit the headlines, for example, not paying money for hostages.
Money paid to hostage takers was used to fund terrorism, he said.
• He said David Cameron was "positive" about what had been achieved on Syria at the G8 dinner last night.
I did see the prime minister last night and he was, I think, positive about what had been achieved at the dinner on Syria ... No one’s going to pretend that everyone saw eye-to-eye – everyone knows Russia’s got a different position - but what the prime minister told me was that at the end of the dinner, there was clear commitment around the table to try and push for a political solution to this humanitarian tragedy.
• Osborne said that he consulted over the decision by the RBS board to get rid of Stephen Hester as its chief executive.
Let’s be clear: it was a decision of Stephen Hester and the board, but of course, as the person who represents the taxpayer interest – we’ve got a huge stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland because the previous government put a huge amount of taxpayer’s money into the Royal Bank of Scotland – of course my consent and approval was sought; I think it would be rather bizarre [otherwise]. You’d be asking me today, ‘why didn’t you know? Was your opinion not sought?’.
• Osborne said that he had been told that this was a dress-down summit and that he should not wear a tie. (See 8.09am.)
I've taken some of the quotes from PoliticsHome.
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ONU reitera derecho inalienable de Puerto Rico a la independencia - YouTube


  1. Greetings,

    We need to work together to decolonize Puerto Rico and free Oscar López Rivera. Join 2 peaceful protests until it is accomplished!

    Un abrazo,

  2. Dear Partner,

    Who’s the radical, Oscar López Rivera or the US?

    There are some who call for keeping Puerto Rico political prisoner Oscar López Rivera in prison forever, because he is a radical terrorist responsible for the killing and injury people. That’s not true, but even if it were, he would still be not guilty. Is Oscar really the radical?

    It was the government of the United States (US) that illegally invaded Oscar’s country 116 years ago to make Puerto Rico a colony. The United States government has used everything it could think of to train Puerto Ricans to want to be a colony of the United States for over a century. Through its educational system and mass media it has tried to shape the minds of Puerto Ricans. And when that hasn’t been enough, it has resorted to state terrorism to repress those who want independence for Puerto Rico. All nations have an inalienable right to self-determination and independence according to international law. That is so, because it is a natural thing for a nation to want to be independent. That’s why most nations are.

    So, Oscar is doing what is natural of wanting his nation to be independent. The US government, however, is doing the unnatural or radical thing of trying to prevent Puerto Rico independence.

    What the US government is doing is so radical that it is committing a crime against humanity. The United Nations declared it so, because colonialism is a threat to world peace. So by the US government having Puerto Rico as its colony, it is creating the conditions for people like Oscar to resort to any means necessary to obtain decolonization. International law also give colonies the right to use any means necessary to decolonize itself. And that why colonialism is a crime.

    This is why, after 33 UN resolutions ignored by the US government asking it to immediately decolonize Puerto Rico, and the US government’s refusal to release Oscar from prison despite tremendous world pressure to do so, we must continuously protest until it happens!