June 21 2016
Representatives of Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Syria and Venezuela also expressed their support for the independence and sovereignty of Puerto Rico
UNITED NATIONS.—Cuba demanded Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination and independence this Monday, June 20, during a session of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization, as key to addressing the socioeconomic challenges facing the island.
Shortly after this body, created in 1961 by the UN General Assembly, adopted a new resolution on the Puerto Rican case, Cuba’s Ambassador to the UN, Humberto Rivero, warned that the economic and social problems of Puerto Rico, a Caribbean nation under U.S. dominance for 118 years, are worsening.
The country is headed for an unprecedented crisis
Poverty and unemployment are growing every day, while a crippling economic recession and public debt of over $70 billion dollars, mean the country is headed for an unprecedented crisis, with devastating consequences for the population, Rivero stressed.
He also criticized the fact that the response of the “colonial power” to this complex scenario has been to impose a federally appointed financial control board, instead of triggering a process that would allow Puerto Ricans to exercise self-determination and adopt sovereign measures to deal with the challenges ahead.
According to the Cuban diplomat, the U.S. position, reflected in a decision by Congress, only seeks to force Puerto Rico to pay the debt owed to “the Wall Street bondholders and vulture funds.”
118 years of colonial rule
Rivero noted that 118 years of colonial rule have failed to destroy the culture, dignity and nationalist sentiments of the Puerto Rican people.
During yesterday’s session, the Special Committee on Decolonization approved a resolution, the 35th since 1972, reaffirming the right of Puerto Rico to self-determination and independence and the Latin American and Caribbean character of the island.
Rivero highlighted that the resolution was approved by consensus, and that the various interventions during the day demonstrated wide support for the cause of the Puerto Rican people.
In addition to Cuba, representatives of Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Syria and Venezuela expressed their support for the independence and sovereignty of Puerto Rico.
The Non-Aligned Movement, which groups 120 of the 193 UN member countries, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, a bloc of 33 nations, also expressed support for the Puerto Rican cause during the Committee session. (PL)