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domingo, 1 de enero de 2012

My proposed message to the UN Decolonization Committee for June 2012

Good morning to everyone!
My name is José Manuel López Sierra from Bayamón, Puerto Rico (PR).  This is my first time before this committee.
I watched last year’s hearing on the United Nation’s (UN) website.  I felt that the petitioners did an excellent job informing the committee about our situation.  I felt at the time that I could not add anything significant to what had been said last year.  It was only after I began trying to get more people to come to these hearings that I realized that something was missing.  That’s why I am here today.
In defense to the criticism concerning the UN’s lack of significant achievements in decolonizing PR, I believe PR bears a significant part of the blame for that. 
PR has erroneously continued to decolonize through the United States (US).  After 113 years of US colonialism, PR has not realized that that would be impossible for the same reason that the abolition of slavery would have been impossible if left to the slave masters.  Both the US and the slave masters benefit from their relationships!  The US has no reason to want a change!
There are still some people in PR who refuse to believe that PR is a colony.  But even the ones, who admit to it, continue to vote in Puerto Rican elections.  They don’t question the absurdity of a democracy within a colony.  They don’t see the contradiction in what they believe and what they do.  If Puerto Ricans do not have the final say in our internal affairs, why should we vote?
Decolonization is an international matter.  Unfortunately, PR, based on what she does, disagrees with international community and joins with the US in her contention that it is a domestic issue.  I believe that as long as Puerto Ricans continue to validate our current political status at an 80% electoral participation rate, the UN will not intervene in PR’s right to self-determination.  Although PR will never achieve decolonization that way, she does have the right to pursue it in the manner that she wants to.   
Therefore, a realistic PR decolonization depends on PR’s ability to change the way she thinks about the process, and the way she votes.  PR needs to vote by virtue of boycotting all elections and plebiscites to dramatize that fact that we are indeed a colony of the US.  PR needs to petition the UN to aid her in decolonization via international norms and procedures.  The UN is obligated by her own resolution 1514(XV) to move decisively and without delay to decolonize the oldest colony in the world.
After more than 5 centuries of colonialism, convincing the majority of Puerto Ricans to a different way to decolonize will be very difficult!  When PR achieved the “Carta Autonómica” with Spain in 1897, the UN did not exist.  So this idea of ignoring the empire is strange to us.
We the People of Puerto Rico have not been able to decide what we want.  But if you consider the environment we’ve been in, it becomes perfectly understandable. 
We have never had a chance to foster the development of Puerto Rico’s cultural values and identity through a systematic educational system backed by a real PR government.  For over 500 years, we have had to mold ourselves to what others have wanted.  Our perpetual repression under our present military occupation has caused Puerto Ricans to have low self-esteem which makes us unsure of our own abilities and capabilities.
At this point, all we need to decide is whether PR should decolonize.  After that, we can decide the rest on our own without any outside interference.  The US involvement has historically hindered our ability to come to an agreement, and then accuses us of not being able to come to a consensus.  International law, however, would have the US leave PR for the first time ever, so that Puerto Ricans are left free to say and think what is really in our hearts.  I’m sure that we will then be pleasantly surprised to find out how much more we agree than disagree.
Thank you for allowing me to testify before this committee.  I wish you all a great

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