Statement by Darlene Elias to the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization of Puerto Rico
S.E. Walton Alfonso Webson of Antigua & Barbuda
President of United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization of Puerto Rico
New York, NY 10017
My name is Darlene Elias, and I am a National Co Chair of the Green Party of the United States. Thank you for permitting me to speak before yourself and this prestigious committee.
I like to begin by honoring the lost lives after hurricane Maria with a moment of silence (30 seconds). Thirty seconds for the thousands of lives that perished after the devastation. Is this too much to ask? My question now to the committee is how many more lives must we lose in Puerto Rico before it is realized by the United Nations and the U.S. government that colonization is extinction? When I was last before this committee I warned that Puerto Rico was on the brink of collapse. In particular, the weak infrastructure, failing economy, and colonial relationship with the island was sure to bring devastation to its people.
The tragedy felt by my people with the hurricanes has been multiplied ten fold by the silence of the United States government and their inability to act accordingly. Although the diaspora and their allies worked feverishly to come to the aid of Puerto Rico, the United States government just sat back and watched and placed bets on how many lives were actually lost. The President of the United States bragged that there were only 64 lives lost in Puerto Rico. He also threw paper towels at our people on October 3, 2017 telling them to clean up their mess. Countries such as Cuba and Venezuela wanted to help by sending supplies and doctors and the U.S. did not want any interference. Well let me say that Puerto Rico and its people are not to be treated as some political football game.
Instead of keeping score, I ask that the United Nations move swiftly and enforce your call for the “United States to move forward with a process to allow the Puerto Rican people to take decisions in a sovereign manner, and to address their urgent economic and social needs including unemployment, marginalization, insolvency, and poverty”, as so eloquently stated by this special committee on June 29, 2016.
The last question I am going to respectfully ask of this committee is what is the diﬀerence between 911 and what happened in Puerto Rico after Maria? Is it that a plane was not flown into or a bomb was not intentionally dropped on the island? Well the complicit nature of the United States not act to immediately after the hurricane had the same eﬀect and even worse as evidenced by the deaths at least twice the amount of 911. The diﬀerence is that the deaths after Maria are a direct consequence of colonialism. The reality is that we will never be able to expect that United States of their own free will and volition allow for the Puerto Rico to self determine.
Therefore, I implore the United Nations by any means necessary to demand the decolonization of Puerto Rico and impose sanctions on the United States if they fail to comply. As for the people, we need to collectively work to convene and demand that the United States be prosecuted for their humanitarian crimes in failing to respond to Puerto Rico after the hurricanes which tragically resulted in thousands of deaths. An International Tribunal on U.S. colonial crimes will commence on October 27, 2018 at Hollywood Church in New York City. It is a start and I hope to see the diaspora there.
Que Viva Puerto Rico Libre!