Green Party co-chair Darlene Elias, addressed a UN Special Committee on Puerto Rico
My name is Darlene Elias. I am one of seven National Co-Chairs of the Green Party of the United States y soy Boricua. Thank you for the opportunity to address such a prestigious and influential group of people here at the United Nations.
To begin with, it is the position of the Green Party that the United States needs to sever its ties with Puerto Rico completely and allow for its people to live free of colonial rule for once and for all. U.S. imperialism has only served to oppress the growth and prosperity of Puerto Rico and its people.
Green Party of the United States
June 19, 2017
H.E. Rafael Ramirez Carreno
President Decolonization Committee
United Nations Organization
The establishment of The Financial Oversight and Management Board, otherwise known as the Junta, is just a measure put in place by the U.S. to ensure that its benefactors continue to prosper from the predatory lending practices of its banks and corporations under the guise of helping the people of Puerto Rico. In other words, the U.S. as the colonizer is taking advantage of the people of Puerto Rico and reaping the island of all of its resources. Venture capitalist have been permitted to start up businesses in Puerto Rico, buy up property, and pay little to no taxes in the name of profit and to the detriment of Puerto Ricans living on the island. Furthermore, Puerto Rico is not allowed to trade freely and pays up to three times more for goods, and services. With a low gross domestic product, a poverty rate of 50%, and an unemployment rate of 12%, Puerto Rico is on the brink of collapse without the necessary revenues to invigorate and stabilize its economy.
The Financial Control Board in a letter dated June 16, 2017 to Governor Rosello informs that the situation in Puerto Rico is so dire that they are unable to attain “financial equilibrium” without it having an impact on the people of Puerto Rico in the most severe way. If the Financial Control Board is forced to impose the austerity measures called for by Promise, Puerto Rico will be further catapulted into a deeper humanitarian crisis. A crisis which is impacting the most vulnerable on the island, which are children, the elderly, poor and working class, whom of which should not have to endure anymore sanctions and payback a debt that is illegal.
Nevertheless, the people of Puerto Rico are expected to carry the burden of the debt even though they have no say in their future as evidenced by the composition of the Financial Control Board. The voice of Puerto Rico is suppressed as a colony. In addition, it is evident that the many sacrifices of Puerto Ricans continues to go unrecognized. Although Puerto Ricans have shed blood sweat and tears to fight in American wars, were recruited and stripped from their families to work in U.S. factories and on agricultural farms they are still not allowed to vote in Presidential elections even though they are citizens.
The Puerto Rican people are despondent and have lost faith in the political system. Only 23% of residents living on the island showed up to the polls to vote in the most recent plebiscite. This is a very low number when you take into account that Puerto Rico consistently has high voter turn out. It is also by far the most telling statement of the Puerto Rican people’s desire for independence. However, the U.S. should not assume, under false pretenses as it did with Hawaii, that Puerto Rico wants to be a state. Instead, Puerto Rico should be allowed to govern themselves as an independent state and or sovereign entity whichever the people elect. The Green Party maintains that it is only when Puerto Rico is able to exercise their right to self determination and dictate its own circumstances that it will prevail. In conclusion, true democracy is the only path to liberation and as a party we will continue to stand with Puerto Rico until this end. We do thank the committee in advance for its consideration and noble effort in realizing our mutual goal of decolonization and seeing Puerto Rico succeed. Que Viva Puerto Rico Libre!
Green Party of the United States, Co Chair