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Governor Deposes before UN Special Committee on Decolonization

By on June 20, 2016

SAN JUAN – Gov. Alejandro García Padilla was in New York Monday, attending a session of the United Nations’ (UN) Special Committee on Decolonization, which was again considering Puerto Rico’s request to make decisions in a sovereign manner. 

Following the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Puerto Rico v. Sánchez Valle case, in which it was ruled the commonwealth does not enjoy sovereignty for purposes of the U.S. Constitution’s double jeopardy clause in criminal cases, the governor told the decolonization committee to “put the case of Puerto Rico to the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization and to the Human Rights Council.”

Speaking at UN Headquarters, García Padilla demanded U.S. authorities to comply with the promises made to the UN in 1953, when it requested that Puerto Rico be removed from the organization’s list of colonies.

He stressed: “Puerto Rico is hungry and thirsty for Justice,” adding, “I demand our rights within international legality on the basis of the right to self-determination of the people of Puerto Rico.”

García Padilla also demanded the help of the United Nations to define “the equal relationship” that should exist between Puerto Rico and the United States of America based on the free will of both peoples and not “on the will of one being imposed on another.”

“The time has come to take action on the case of Puerto Rico,” the governor said.

The UN has has issued 34 resolutions in favor of the island’s decolonization since 1962.

Finally, García Padilla voiced his claim to release a political prisoner from Puerto Rico held in the U.S. for 35 years. He stressed, “I’m referring to Oscar López Rivera,” who is charged with seditious conspiracy and weapons possession.

Gov. Alejandro García Padilla testifies at a UN decolonization committee hearing held June 20, 2016.

Gov. Alejandro García Padilla testifies at a UN decolonization committee hearing held June 20, 2016.

The García Padilla administration continues to reiterate its position, which qualifies the Supreme Court’s decision as inconsistent with the statements the United States has made to the UN for decades, reads a La Fortaleza release.

The governor was accompanied by Secretary of State Víctor Suárez, Justice Secretary César Miranda, Chief of Staff Grace Santana and Public Affairs Secretary Manuel Jesús Ortiz.

Education Secretary Rafael Román is acting as interim governor, as Treasury Secretary Juan Zaragoza is also in New York attending meetings related to Puerto Rico’s fiscal situation, which other island officials will also attend.

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