Hector Lopez and the fight for Puerto Rican Independence

I think that it is absolutely a priority that we end our colonialism, and fight for a free and independent Puerto Rican people. Together, we can end the chains of slavery.

4/7/2016

By Olga Sanabria:

The essence of the Puerto Rico issue is the colonial status, therefore,
since colonialism is an historical anachronism that has long been declared
contrary to international law and human rights, there should be no problem
in progressive and left forces supporting
the decolonization of Puerto Rico and recognizing the injustices inherent
in the colonial relation which the United States has maintained
with Puerto Rico since its invasion of the Island in 1898, almost one
hundred and twelve years ago.

Commitment to grassroots democracy is totally consistent with support for
the decolonization of Puerto Rico as colonialism is also totally contrary
to democracy. For the country ruled,democracy is non existent where one
country rules over another, if even if there are elections every four years
to elect local authorities. Taking into account that in Puerto Rico the
United States controls commerce, international relations, immigration,
monetary issues, communications, postal matters, defense, labor relations,
and others, to truely supportdemocracy in Puerto Rico,
its decolonization has to be supported as the first step for the
Puerto Rican people to live in a democracy.

The issue of the support of the Puerto Rican people for independence and
there not being enough support, therefore, is not an impediment
for solidarity with Puerto Rico. Support for decolonization is a matter of
principle precisely because colonialism is contrary to human rights,
contrary to self-determination and contrary to democracy.

Regarding decolonization, what comes into play is what should be the
mechanism in order that the Puerto Rican people FREELY exercise their
sovereignty and their right to self-determination which are the INALIENABLE
rights of all peoples as recognized by international law, specifically by
Resolution 1514(XV) of the United Nations General Assembly (1960), which is
considered the Magna Carta ofDecolonization.

Further, it must be stated that regarding the future status ofPuerto Rico,
the only option recognized by international law as inalienable, is the
right to independence. International law maintains that all peoples have
the inalienable right to self-determination and independence. The Free
Associated State status and statehood for Puerto Rico are not inalienable
rights. Further Puerto Ricans are a separate people from the people of the
United States. Before the United States invasion ofPuerto Rico in 1898, the
nationhood of the Puerto Rican people had been forged during more than four
hundred years, during which our culture and national identity became clear
and distinct from that of any other people in the world. The Free
Associated State status and statehood for Puerto Ricoare not inalienable
rights. Besides being an inalienable right, because Puerto Rico is a
nation, its natural aspiration is for independence.

The plebiscites, referendums and the like carried out in PuertoRico are not
the solution precisely because they have not been free exercises of the
will of the Puerto Rican people. They have taken place in the context
of colonial rule, military occupation, repression and persecution of the
independence forces, economic dependence and colonial legislation and U.S.
Congressional legislation. Thus, their results cannot be said to reflect
the true will of the Puerto Rican people.

While the United States has maintained that it will accept the will and
decision of the Puerto Ricans regarding their status, it has obstructed the
process by maintaining that the issue is its internal matter and not
recognizing the role of the United Nations. Precisely through these types
of processes, it has used its power in Puerto Rico to maintain the present
status, which is the option most consistent with its economic, political
and other interests in Puerto Rico.

These are the reasons that the Puerto Rican pro independence forces and
even some supporting other options continually resort to United Nations
Resolution 1514(XV). It is recognized that the United Nations has a role to
play. In order for an expression of the will of the Puerto Rican people
regarding its future relation to the United States to be a free exercise,
it must be supervised by the United Nations because it is understood that
otherwise the determining factor in any exercise will be the power
relationship.

As regards the present situation regarding the political status, while it
is true that a lot of work needs to be done by the pro independence forces
in order that support for this option grow substantially, there is
in Puerto Rico an overall sentiment that the present situation and the
colonial status must be resolved.

Cleavages along which Puerto Rico's main political parties are divided,
delineate options which, according to the retoric of leaders of even the
pro statehood and pro Free Associated State parties, move the country away
from the colonial status. Even those supporting statehood (which would be
the culmination of colonialism in Puerto Rico) continually attack the Free
Associated State as colonial and the second class U.S citizenship
of Puerto Ricans under the Free Associated State as the root of the
country's problems.

Meanwhile, within the pro Free Associated State Popular Democratic Party,
there is a growing so-called autonomous, pro sovereignty wing, which
espouses greater powers for the Free Associated State, including to freely
engage in international trade relations, and that outside of certain areas
only powers specifically delegated should be exercised by the U.S.
over Puerto Rico.

The vibrant social movements active today in Puerto Ricoregarding women's
rights, civil rights, community empowerment, the environment, youth,
sports, culture, labor, cooperative economic endeavors, and many other
areas, are in constant encounter with the colonial status as an impediment
to their objectives. Thus, these social movements are also a base of the
anti-colonial, potentially pro independence movement, that will participate
in any future exercise in self-determination supervised by the
international community, specifically the United Nations.

These movements and the pro independence movement and organizations overlap
in many scenarios, and along with the action of the United Nations
and international solidarity, especially that of the people of the United
States and our Latin American and Caribbean region, are the basis for the
future possibility independence and democracy in Puerto Rico.

The inalienable right to self-determination is for all of thePuerto Rican
people to exercise including those who do not support independence, but in
order to be legitimate and a true exercise of self-determination with a
level playing field for those supporting independence, which is also an
inalienable right, the mechanism for its exercise must a fair one that
abides by international law.

5/10/2016

If this country has elected adults that have committed genocide against
Indians and Puerto Ricans, then give a chance to someone who even if he is
not an adult shows that he is a very good candidate and that shows more
humanity than Bush or Obama. Most U.S. presidents have been part of
genocide in my opinion. If that was not the case, the Indians would not be
in concentration camps( Reservations)  Elect Elijah D. Manley, he shows
maturity,humanity and commitment.

 

5/11/2016- An Essay

*Crisis and Colonialism in Puerto Rico*
 
*by Olga I. Sanabria Dávila*
 
 
It used to be the Free Associated State of Puerto Rico was
touted as the Showcase of Progress and Democracy in the Caribbean as a
result of its accelerated industrialization, the development of its
infrastructure, education and health systems and a constitutional system of
government in the 1950s and 60s.
 
 
At present, however, many United States news outlets and
economic reviews are writing about Puerto Rico´s astronomical public debt,
its economic crisis and its ramifications. At present the debt is estimated
at 73 billion U.S. dollars – up from 32 billion dollars in 2006, one year
after the beginning of a recession in Puerto Rico that is expected to
persist until 2018, although given the present fiscal crisis that is
doubtful.
 
 
Beyond the junk bond status of Puerto Rico bonds, with unemployment
estimated at between 13 and 14 per cent, a 44.9 per cent poverty rate, with
84 per cent of its children living in poverty stricken areas, only four out
of ten of those able to work doing so, and at a $19,000 median annual
income that is half the income of Mississippi, the United States´ poorest
state, Puerto Rico can hardly be called a showcase of anything but the
failure of a dependent economy based on foreign, predominantly U.S.
investment, low wages, tax exemption for foreign corporations, and
dependence on U.S. federal funds.
 
 
Population and other demographic data are also indicators of a showcase
gone sour. The new wave of Puerto Rican migration to the United States has
been continuous and massive numbering 84,000 in 2014 alone, including
professionals, with a population of 5.1 million in the United States while
an aging population 3.6 million remains in Puerto Rico.
 
 
Thus the constitutional system of government established in Puerto Rico in
1952 with the founding of the Free Associated State was a misrepresentation
and also a failure as it left intact the backdrop for the present crisis
which is the colonial status of Puerto Rico. Despite its autonomy in fiscal
affairs, U.S. Congressional laws govern over Puerto Rican legislation in
the areas international relations and commerce, monetary issues, migration
and emigration, maritime traffic (with U.S. Maritime Law applied to Puerto
Rico), customs, labor relations and trade union organization, border
patrol, airspace and transportation, communications, defense, and many
other areas.
 
 
In terms of its environmental protection and policy, ecological balance,
climate change, global warming Puerto Rico is also subordinate to outside
United States agencies, interests, policies, and power. This is very
dangerous for the Puerto Rican population as Puerto Rico is a small island
country in the Caribbean. In this regard, Puerto Rico´s internationally
known geomorphologist, Dr. José Molinelli, recently warned that the Puerto
Rico Planning Board lacks protocols for handling events in tsunami prone
zones.
 
 
In the present situation of fiscal and economic crisis, the Puerto Rican
legislature adopted a bankruptcy law which would have made it possible for
public corporations on the Island to declare bankruptcy and thus be enabled
to restructure their debt. The debt of the Puerto Rico Electric Power
Authority alone is estimated at 9 billion U.S. dollars. However, this
legislation was overruled by the United States extraterritorial Federal
Court which operates in Puerto Rico. Action which followed by Puerto Rico
Resident Commission in Washington, Pedro Pierluisi, for a law to be enacted
in order that the Federal bankruptcy law be applicable to Puerto Rico has
gone unheeded. A broad movement in Puerto Rico attempting to have Puerto
Rico exempted from application of U.S. maritime law has also gone unheeded.
 
 
Response by the government of Puerto Rico has been to raise taxes, fees for
a broad spectrum of services, as well as reducing services, and budget
cutbacks in general – in general, a neo liberal austerity program styled
after International Monetary Fund formulas that will lead to much hardship
for the people of Puerto Rico.
 
 
Convoking of a Constitutional Status Assembly to deal with thecolonial
status, unity of purpose, greater protection of local business… are some of
the objectives voiced in interviews of Puerto Rican leaders by Cándida
Cotto, a reporter with the Puerto Rican pro-independence newspaper
*Claridad, *on necessary actions in the face of the present fiscal and
economic crisis hitting Puerto Rico at present and the hands off position
of the United States president and Congress which have negated Puerto Rico
the tools necessary for confronting this crisis. The answers included that
the United States must be forced to address the crisis in Puerto Rico,
including putting an end to its colonial relationship with the United
States.
 
 
However, as noted in a number of editorial appearing in Puerto
Rico major daily newspapers, *El Nuevo Día* and *El Vocero*, responds by
the three branches of the United States government have been non-committal
and even indifferent.
 
 
Puerto Rican pro sovereignty legislator Luis Vega Ramos, said *“*We need to
understand, once and for all, that we can only depend on ourselves for
moving forward, although many actors were involved in creating this
financial bubble, we should not be hopeful that our creditors will
negotiate with consideration of our better interest. And the three branches
of the U.S. federal government have been reluctant to allow us necessary
tools and support such as exemption from U.S. Maritime Laws, applying
Federal bankruptcy law to our public corporations or support from the
Federal Reserve of the U.S. Treasury.”
 
 
Vega Ramos also referred to the fact that other jurisdictions
and countries have also been affected by the financial bubble that has now
exploded, including as a result of the actions of creditors.
 
 
“We must act with unity of purpose if we are to be successful
in the difficult upcoming negotiations and to accomplish this we must have
full transparency and citizen participation as never before seen in Puerto
Rico. We need to all feel a part of the solution.”
 
 
According to Pro Independence Party leader, Juan Dalmau, the Puerto Rican
community in the United States has a determining role because more than
half of the Puerto Rican population is presently living in the United
States where they participate in politics and form public opinion regarding
Puerto Rico. When Puerto Rico is not a problem it can be swept under the
rug. However, now that Puerto Rico is a theme, a problem, it can exert
pressure.
 
 
He noted that all international financial analysis that have been done
regarding the situation in Puerto Rico closely connect the situation to
Puerto Rico´s colonial situation, political subordination and lack of
powers therein, and the need to resolve that.
 
 
Wilma Reverón Collazo, a leader in the National Hostos Movement for the
Independence of Puerto Rico, and others have called for an independent
audit of Puerto Rico´s public debt, reparations to Puerto Rico for the
exploitation, repression and environment damage the Puerto Rican people
have endured at the hands of United States colonialism and solution of the
colonial status through a Constitutional Status Assembly and independence.
 
 
The power relationship and political subordination of Puerto Rico to the
United States points to a colonial status issue. Colonialism is an
historical anachronism that has long been declared contrary to
international law and human rights, from which emanates, in the case of
Puerto Rico, the injustices inherent in the colonial relation which the
United States has maintained with Puerto Rico since its invasion of the
Island in 1898, one hundred and seventeen years ago.
 
 
Commitment to grassroots democracy is totally consistent with support for
the decolonization of Puerto Rico as colonialism is also totally contrary
to democracy. For the country ruled, democracy is non-existent where one
country rules over another, if even if there are elections every four years
to elect local authorities. Taking into account that in Puerto Rico the
United States controls commerce, international relations, immigration,
monetary issues, communications, postal matters, defense, labor relations,
and others, to truly support democracy in Puerto Rico, its decolonization
has to be supported as the first step for the Puerto Rican people to live
in a democracy.
 
 
The issue of the support of the Puerto Rican people for independence and
there not being enough support, therefore, is not an impediment for
solidarity with Puerto Rico. Support for decolonization is a matter of
principle precisely because colonialism is contrary to human rights,
contrary to self-determination and contrary to democracy.
 
 
Regarding decolonization, what comes into play is what should be the
mechanism in order that the Puerto Rican people freely exercise their
sovereignty and their right to self-determination which are the inalienable
rights of all peoples as recognized by international law, specifically by
Resolution 1514(XV) of the United Nations General Assembly (1960), which is
considered the Magna Carta of Decolonization.
 
 
Further, it must be stated that regarding the future status of Puerto Rico,
the only option recognized by international law as inalienable, is the
right to independence. International law maintains that all peoples have
the inalienable right to self-determination and independence. The Free
Associated State status, free association under international law and
statehood for Puerto Rico are not inalienable rights. Further, Puerto
Ricans are a separate people from the people of the United States.
 
 
Before the United States invasion of Puerto Rico in 1898, the nationhood of
the Puerto Rican people had been forged during more than four hundred
during which our culture and national identity became clear and distinct
from that of any other people in the world. The Free Associated State
status and statehood for Puerto Rico are not inalienable rights. Besides
being an inalienable right, because Puerto Rico is a nation, international
posits that independence is the natural aspiration of peoples who have not
yet acquired full self-government.
 
 
The plebiscites, referendums and the like carried out in Puerto Rico are
not the solution precisely because they have not been free exercises of the
will of the Puerto Rican people. They have taken place in the context of
colonial rule, military occupation, repression and persecution of the
independence forces, economic dependence and colonial legislation and U.S.
Congressional legislation. Thus, their results cannot be said to reflect
the true will of the Puerto Rican people. For these reasons they have not
been an exercise of self-determination.
 
 
While the United States has maintained that it will accept the will and
decision of the Puerto Rican regarding its status, it has obstructed the
process by maintaining that the issue is its internal matter and not
recognizing the role of the United Nations. Precisely through these
referendum and plebiscite processes, it has used its power in Puerto Rico
maintain the present status, which is the option most consistent with its
economic, political and other interests in Puerto Rico.
 
 
These are the reasons that the Puerto Rican pro-independence forces and
even some supporting other options continually resort to United Nations
Resolution 1514(XV). It is recognized that the United Nations has a role to
play. In order for an expression of the will of the Puerto Rican people
regarding its future relation to the United States to be a free exercise,
it must be supervised by the United Nations because it is understood that
otherwise the determining factor in any exercise will be the power
relationship of domination of the United States over Puerto Rico.
 
 
As regards the present situation as regards the fiscal and economic crisis,
the situation is increasingly billed as a political crisis which will force
attention to the colonial status and the need to resolve it if the fiscal
and economic situation are to be addressed. Regarding the political status
and independence, while it is true that a lot of work needs to be done by
the pro-independence forces in order that support for this option grow
substantially, there is in Puerto Rico an overall sentiment that the
present situation and the colonial status must be resolved.
 
 
Cleavages along which Puerto Rico's main political parties are divided
delineate options which, according to the rhetoric of leaders of even the
pro statehood and pro Free Associated State parties, move the country away
from the colonial status. Even those supporting statehood (which would be
the culmination of colonialism in Puerto Rico) continually attack the Free
Associated State as colonial and the second class U.S citizenship of Puerto
Ricans under the Free Associated State as the root of the country's
problems.
 
 
Meanwhile, within the pro Free Associated State Popular Democratic Party,
there is a growing so-called autonomous, pro sovereignty wing, which
espouses greater powers for the Free Associated State, including to freely
engage in international trade relations, and that outside of certain areas
only powers specifically delegated should be exercised by the United States
over Puerto Rico.
 
 
The vibrant social movements active today in Puerto Rico regarding women's
rights, civil rights, community empowerment, the environment, youth,
sports, culture, labor, cooperative economic endeavors, and many other
areas, are in constant encounter with the colonial status as an impediment
to their objectives. Thus, these social movements are also a base of the
anti-colonial, potentially pro-independence movement that will participate
in any future exercise in self-determination supervised by the
international community, specifically the United Nations.
 
 
These movements and the pro-independence movement and organizations overlap
in many scenarios, and along with the action of the United Nations and
international solidarity, especially that of the people of the United
States and our Latin American and Caribbean region, are the basis for the
future possibility independence and democracy in Puerto Rico.
 
 
The inalienable right to self-determination is for all of the Puerto Rican
people to exercise including those who do not support independence, but in
order to be legitimate and a true exercise of self-determination with a
level playing field for all options, including independence, the mechanism
for its exercise but must a fair one that abides by international law, not
any plebiscite or referendum.
 
 
 
Such is the case of a Constitutional Status Assembly, a mechanism for
decolonization which is gaining ground in Puerto Rico as it becomes more
urgent for the colonial status issue of Puerto Rico to be resolve. Within
the United States progressive sectors, support for Puerto Rican
decolonization and a fair mechanism for the decolonization process and
independence to take place, is crucial.

 

5/12/2016- A letter to Christofer Nigro

Thank you Christofer for this video and your good pedagogy to all greens.
If the Green Party invests time and energy in young people, like Elijah
Manley, it will grow, but if it does not, it will be condemned to remain a
small party with no future. Remember we are getting old and we need
replacements. Are we planning to live forever? We should welcome the young
and pass on to them our skills and experience, otherwise the
Republicans,Capitalism and Democrats will always be dominating the
political scene. and oppressing us all. We need democracy from side to side
and from the bottom up and that includes the future,the young. Brightness
is not a monopoly of adults. Many younger folks are very mature and
sometimes more than us. Le's not underestimate them.

There was a French leader who inspires up to today. She led the French
Mother land into victory for her independence. She was a kid, only 19 years
of age and was as far as I am concerned a spiritual leader of her nation. I
wish I had her spirituality.

Hector Lopez

 

5/13/2016

Not a single day more of the unjust imprisonment of Oscar López Rivera!

We demand his freedom!


The Executive Secretariat of the Network of Intellectuals, Actors and Social Movements in Defense of Humanity demands the immediate release of Oscar López Rivera, the oldest political prisoner in the history of Puerto Rico and Latin America in a United States prison. Lopez Rivera was never accused of hurting anyone or taking part in any violent actions. He is imprisoned for fighting for the independence of Puerto Rico, a just cause that the Network in Defense of Humanityis committed to support.  

 

This year Oscar López turns 73 years old and 35 years of incarceration in U.S. federal prisons.

Twelve of his co-defendants were released in 1999 through a presidential pardon from then-President Bill Clinton. And two others were released in 2009 and 2010 respectively through the U.S. Parole Commission.  

The only remaining prisoner is Oscar López Rivera. All of his co-defendants have proven to be productive members of their community; there is no reason to think otherwise about Oscar, who enjoys strong support from his family and his community. Also important personalities from Puerto Rico and the world are calling for his freedom.

It is necessary to take into account that Oscar López Rivera has endured the toughest of all possible conditions in prison during the past 35 years of confinement.  

Oscar Lopez is a veteran of the VietNam war and received the Bronze Star Medal for his heroic act of saving the life of an American during one of the battles in which he participated. After Vietnam Oscar returned to his community in Chicago where he became a respected activist. Among other important actions, he helped found the Pedro Albizu Campos High School in the Puerto Rican community there and the Juan Antonio Corretjer Cultural Center, which is currently, is still in operation providing services to youth and adults residing in the area.

Thousands of people in Puerto Rico of different political spectrums, affiliations and ideologies have supported the commutation of his sentence. Among these political figures, is the former Governor of Puerto Rico Anibal Acevedo Vila, the current Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who recently visited him in prison in the penitentiary in Terre Haute, and the current resident Commissioner Pedro Perluisi and Carmen Yulin Cruz, Mayor of San Juan.

Well-known personalities in the fight for Human Rights including the Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina, Jose Ramos Horta of East Timor, Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Ireland and tens of thousands of people have signed letters asking for his release.

For all the reasons expressed above and representing the feelings of thousands of intellectuals, artists, and social organizations, the Secretariat of the Network in Defense of Humanity asks President Obama to make use of the powers conferred to him by the Constitution of the United States and commute the sentence of the Puerto Rican Patriot Oscar López Rivera so he can return to his home and his family in Puerto Rico.

 

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