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Latino Politics in the U.S.

Latino Politics in the U.S.
Kendall-Hunt, 2012 (2005)

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Colonialist Party at the United Nations: Popular Democratic Party and Self-determination for Puerto Rico

The Colonialist Party at the United Nations: Popular Democratic Party and Self-determination for Puerto Rico

Victor M. Rodriguez

6 20 2009

If one looks at the pictures of Hector Ferrer at the UN one can notice that he is like “una cucaracha en un baile de gallinas,” his face reminds me of Bush’s demeanor when he was informed of the 9/11 attacks. The reason is that as president of the PDP, and frankly not a real “sovereigntist” (charicatures of pro-independence supporters) he felt obliged to attend the UN session since the PPD has began to do so in the past. His presentation was embarrassing and rightfully ignored. The PPD (commonwealthers) are in an ideological struggle between the orthodox colonialists (posibilistas) and those who want more sovereignty.

I would add that the reason the UN has not taken up the issue is that the colonial government of Puerto Rico has always practiced (whether statehooders or commonwealthers) the old Luis Muñoz Marin strategy of “posibilismo” (whatever is possible within the empire). Jose Trias Monge (one of the architects of the commonwealth fraud) and Cesar Ayala and Rafael Bernabe (PR in the American Century) explain how pro-independence/socialist like Muñoz became a “posibilista” abandoning the self-determination road.

I don’t think the GA will take up the issue directly but might be able to place more focus on monitoring the de-colonization process. The pro-statehood project that the non-voting delegate of Puerto Rico presented in congress H.R. 2499 (euphemistically called the Puerto Rico Democracy Act) will wither away since it is not the product of any consensus and the U.S. will have to revisit the issue. The reason: while the cold war is no longer around with the Evil Empire breathing fire under the dragon’s belly, for the first time Latin American countries are exercising a measure of independence that it has never before exercised. One of the ways they express it is by supporting Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination and independence. From lonely Cuba to most of LA governments now, either privately or publicly supports these new efforts. Also, the reality is that Puerto Rico is so “imbricated” economically with the US that it does not affect Latin American’s trade with the US if PR was free.

The US remains in Puerto Rico because in 2006, $33,300 billion dollars in profits were repatriated to US corporations. The irony is that it paid fewer taxes in 2006 for these repatriated profits $27 million compared to $111 in 2000.

Puerto Rico bought in 2006, $19,434 billion of goods from the US (50 per cent of its imports) and paid $2.4 billion to the US Merchant marine, thousands (some estimate in the hundreds of thousands) of US workers depend on the trade between Puerto Rico and the United States, which is forcibly done on the most expensive merchant marine in the world, the US merchant marine. Puerto Rico sustains 60 per cent of the US merchant marine; the ports of New Orleans and Jacksonville are dependent on PR’s trade.

However, Obama has shown some sense of concern with US global image so, who knows, he might truly follow through on his May 26 words to a local newspaper (Nuevo Dia) “That is a very important reason why the status issue must be resolved. And I want to work with leaders from both sides and with the Congress to commence a process of self determination.”

I know many people say that people in Puerto Rico don’t vote for independence, the reality is that in the 1930-50s pro-independence sentiment was majority until repression, welfare transfers, emigration (more large support in the US) ideological persuasion (in the Gramscian hegemonic fashion) pushed the sentiment underground. But if a clear, transparent path to self determination is offered through negotiation, with the funds needed for the transition (as has been done elsewhere) Puerto Ricans will likely choose free association or independence. The US will never grant statehood to PR.

What’s in it for the US? Already 345,000 people voted against the colony by immigrating to the US. The economic model is bankrupt since mid 1970s, neo-liberal policies will further send more Boricuas to the US, something that the US does not want.


  1. Dear Partner,

    Now that the First Oscar – Mandela March in Puerto Rico is history, we can now begin to work on making an even bigger success of The First Oscar Mandela Protest in New York City. This year’s Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City a week before our protest will be dedicated to our political prisoner Oscar López Rivera.

    On Monday, June 23, 2014, the United Nations (UN) will be discussing again Puerto Rico’s colonial relationship with the United States. The UN is in its third decade trying to eradicate colonialism from the world, because of the belief that it constitutes a threat to world peace. Since this date is a week later than usual, our committee decided to have 2 protests this year.

    On the Monday, June 16, 2014, the day after Fathers’ Day, we will have our first protest in the park across from the UN on 46th Street and First Avenue from 8 AM to 5 PM to show the world that we too believe that colonialism is a crime against humanity. On the same day of the hearing, Monday June 23, we will have the second one. We will have a press conference in New York City to inform the public of the latest details of these event. We will need as many people at the protest as possible to make the government of the United States (US) comply with the 32 UN resolutions asking the US to decolonize immediately Puerto Rico. After this many resolutions, it is obvious that the US does not want to.

    President Obama recently showed the government of the United States’ hypocrisy about human rights. In his memorial ceremony speech, he had only praise for Nelson Mandela. He, however, has refused, despite the enormous pressure from Puerto Rico and the rest of the world, to release from prison Oscar López Rivera who is doing exactly what Mandela did. Oscar has already spent 6 more years in prison than the 27 that Mandela served. The US is happy when other countries decolonize their colonies, but the US wants to keep hers. What kind of democracy is this? Obviously, those who have colonies don’t believe in justice for all.

    Please tell your friends about this important protest for Oscar López Rivera’s release from prison, and to achieve what he has spent his life on, the decolonization of Puerto Rico.

    We will have a sheet of paper so that whoever who wants to get involved in the planning of this yearly permanent event in New York City can provide us with your contact information. If you wish, you can also email me right now at

    We look forward to greeting old and new partners in our struggle to provide real justice for all!

    José M López Sierra
    Because, rights are not requested, they are demanded!

  2. Puerto Rico will never be decolonized via the electoral process

    There are many Puerto Ricans who think that Puerto Rico could be decolonized through Puerto Rico elections. That is why, some believe that the solution is to make political alliances with parties, movements and non- affiliated citizens to achieve our decolonization. Others believe that we must amend or change the elections laws to achieve this goal. That is impossible!

    Everything that happens in Puerto Rico is because the United States government wants it. That is why Puerto Rico has been a US colony for the past 116 years. During all that time, Puerto Ricans who have wanted to decolonize Puerto have been either killed or incarcerated by the US government. The best current example of this is our political prisoner Oscar López Rivera.

    Oscar has been imprisoned by the US government for the past 33 years. A dozen of these 33 years have been in solitary confinement. International law considers this level of solitary confinement as torture. This is why many Puerto Ricans are afraid of independence for Puerto Rico. Under international law, Oscar has a right to do what he did. Moreover, any colony has the right to use whatever means necessary to decolonize herself.

    The purpose of Puerto Rico elections is to make it appear that we live in a democracy. Because we are not, that is why more Puerto Ricans live away than on their island. Puerto Rico does not have the sovereignty she needs to meet the needs of Puerto Ricans, because the government of the United States has usurped it. Therefore, it is the US government that is the criminal!

    Although the United States controls the United Nations (UN), Puerto Rico stands a better opportunity to decolonize herself there. Almost 200 countries make up the UN, and a great majority of them favor Puerto Rico decolonization. By using this international forum, Puerto Rico would put the US government in the difficult position to have to explain why it does want to return her sovereignty.

    This is why the best way to decolonize Puerto is to boycott the Puerto Rico elections, and protest to have the UN manage the decolonization process.


  3. Why does Puerto Rico have a higher voter turnout than USA?

    Puerto Ricans have a voter turnout of about 80%. The United States (US) citizens have a voter turnout of about 50%. What accounts for this 30 % disparity? Could it be that Puerto Rican believe in democracy more than US mainland citizens?

    Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States since 1898. Since that time, Puerto Ricans who have wanted to decolonize their country have been either assassinated or imprisoned. Many Puerto Ricans are terrified of independence for Puerto Rico as a result of 116 years of repression.

    Since colonialism is always for exploitation, there are no opportunities in Puerto Rico for Puerto Ricans. That is why there are now more Puerto Ricans out, than in Puerto Rico. Therefore, Puerto Ricans are desperate to find a political solution to our eternal colonialism!

    Most Puerto Ricans believe that decolonization can be achieved through the electoral process. But the electoral process is ultimately under the control of the government of the United States. Since the US government has ignored 33 United Nations resolutions asking it to immediately decolonize Puerto Rico, and it has maintained incarcerated Puerto Rico political prisoner Oscar López Rivera for 33 years despite worldwide support to free him, there should be no doubt that the US government will never allow decolonization via the electoral process. If it were possible to do it that way, we would not have it!

    The better way to decolonize is for that 80% of the Puerto Rico voter turnout to instead protest in the streets to demand our inalienable right to self-determination and independence, and insist that the UN do the decolonization in conformity to international law. After all, colonialism is within the jurisdiction of international law and never under national law. That is why it is a crime against humanity to have a colony under international law, but not so under US law.

    José M López Sierra

  4. Should criminals be in charge of correcting the wrong they inflicted?

    Puerto Ricans vote in elections every 4 years at an 80% level of participation. Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States (US) government for the past 116 years. If the US government has the final say in what happens in Puerto Rico, what is the purpose of these elections? The purpose is to fool the world that Puerto Rico is a democracy.

    The United Nations (UN) declared colonialism a crime against humanity in 1960. The UN has asked the US government 33 times to decolonize Puerto Rico immediately. The US government has refused. It says that Puerto Rico’s political relationship with the United States is none of the UN’s business. The US says that it is a domestic affair.

    To appear that the US government wants to decolonize Puerto Rico, it promotes the use of plebiscites to determine what Puerto Ricans want. Doesn’t that sounds innocent and democratic? So what’s the problem?

    To begin with, the international community already rendered its verdict and determined that colonialism is illegal. So to have a political status option in a plebiscite that favors maintaining Puerto Rico a colony of the United States is not permitted. To have a political status option of Puerto Rico becoming a state of the United States is also not permitted under international law. The problem goes back to the beginning of this article. In order to have free elections, the country must be free. So before these elections and plebiscite could be valid, Puerto Rico would have to first be an independent nation.

    What people must realize is that Puerto Rico is a colony of the US because the US government wants it that way. That is why it has used terrorism to keep it that way. That is why it refuses to release the Puerto Rican political prisoner of 33 years Oscar López Rivera. That is also why it is ridiculous to believe that decolonization is a US internal matter in which the UN has no jurisdiction over. If we allow the US government to decolonize Puerto Rico, she will remain a colony of the United States forever!

    José M López Sierra

  5. The Second Oscar – Mandela March in New York City 2015

    We will be having our 2nd Oscar – Mandela Protest March on Monday, June 22, 2015. We will start marching peacefully at 9 AM from Hunter College on East 68th Street and Lexington Avenue, to East 43rd Street and Lexington Avenue. We will then go East (turning left) to end up at the Ralph Bunche Park on First Avenue (across from the United Nations).

    We will be at the park until 5 PM. We will be giving out flyers and talking to people about who Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera is. We will also be educating the public about Puerto Rico’s colonial relationship with the government of the United States (US).

    Most people don’t know that every year, usually on the Monday after Fathers’ Day, the United Nations holds its hearing about the decolonization of Puerto Rico. The petitioners will usually join our protest after this meeting.

    The UN determined in 1960 that colonialism is a crime against humanity. Since then, the UN has issued 33 resolutions asking for the US government to immediately decolonize Puerto Rico. The US government has ignored these resolutions. What kind of democracy is that?

    The US government tries to keep these hearings a secret. What we are trying to do is to get them out of the closet. The UN is in its 3rd decade trying to make the world colony-free. Please help us!

    Most people also don’t know that the United States government takes out 14 times more money than what it invests in Puerto Rico. But, that is what colonies are for!

    This savage exploitation impedes Puerto Rico’s ability to provide opportunities for Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico. That is why there are now more Puerto Ricans living away from Puerto Rico than in their homeland.

    Oscar López Rivera has been incarcerated for 34 years for his struggle to decolonize Puerto Rico. Since colonialism is an international crime, international law gives Oscar the right to use whatever means necessary to decolonize his homeland. Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years for doing the same thing as Oscar. This is why we say, Oscar López Rivera is our Nelson Mandela!

    United Partners for Puerto Rico Decolonization invites the public to be part of the tsunami of people that will be necessary to make the US government comply with the UN resolutions. These annual protests in Puerto Rico and at the UN are absolutely necessary, because, those who maintain colonies, don’t believe in justice for all!

    José M López Sierra

  6. US denounces human rights violations only when you disobey
    The United States (US) government’s goal is global dominance. Noam Chomsky brilliantly explains this in his book, HEGMONY OR SURVIVAL.
    The US must control countries to do this. It must rob them of their resources. A leader who is willing to do what the US government wants, will not only get its support, but it will also never accuse him of any crimes against citizens of his country. As long as US corporations can get huge profits out of that country, American democracy could not be working better!
    But, as soon as the leader disobeys, Washington will quickly accuse him of horrible human rights violations and of being a dictator. The US government will quickly replace him with someone who will cooperate with Washington.
    This is why President Eisenhower didn’t meet with Fidel Castro after his revolution ousted Cuban dictator and US puppet Batista. US said nothing about Batista’s atrocities against the Cubans. But, as soon as Fidel Castro became the leader that the Cuban People wanted, the US suddenly got very interested in the Cuban People’s human rights, liberties, democracy, and justice for all!
    Within 2 months, the US government started planning on how to remove Fidel Castro for somebody it could control. Chomsky’s book goes into the details of that. And after more than 50 years, the US government is still trying to get Cuba under its control again.
    Recently, the United Nations (UN) voted once again to lift the US blockade against Cuba. This time, only the United States and Israel want to continue to punish Cuba for not wanting to be controlled by the US government. How more obvious could it be that the US government is still determined to change Cuba’s government to one that will serve US interest!
    This is why Puerto Rico decolonization will never happen under US control. Puerto Rico is a colony, because the US government wants it that way. How could anyone realistically believe that the US would reverse something that it unilaterally installed?
    To decolonize Puerto Rico, we would have to protest peacefully and permanently for a long time (remember the Cuban blockade) for the US government to respect our inalienable right to self-determination and independence under international law. We must protest tirelessly to insist that the US government comply with the 34 UN resolutions to immediately decolonize Puerto Rico.
    And when that day happens that we are finally for the very first time decolonized, Washington will be going all out to install a Puerto Rican president who will do exactly whatever the US government wants. If you doubt that, why do you think the US still has a naval station in Cuba?