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NPP Not Taking García Padilla Letter to UN Seriously

By on December 29, 2015

SAN JUAN – As expected, New Progressive Party (NPP) opposition is not taking seriously Gov. Alejandro García Padilla’s letter to United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon requesting the U.S. government to clarify before the international forum Puerto Rico’s colonial status.

Through U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, President Barack Obama’s administration has stated to the U.S. Supreme Court, in the double jeopardy case of “The People of Puerto Rico v. Sánchez Valle,” that the island is a territory whose plenary powers emanate from the U.S. Congress.

José Aponte Hernández, a former speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives and former NPP secretary general, lambasted García Padilla because “the only thing he is trying to do is extend the political lie that is the colony, the Commonwealth.”

On the other hand, Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Sen. Ángel Rosa, who is running for resident commissioner, also demanded from the U.S. government clarification of Puerto Rico’s political status.

According to Rosa, the opinion of the U.S. solicitor general on the ruling of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court in the double jeopardy case “trashes six decades of UN expressions” asserting colonialism had ended with the self government act.

Rosa recalled that since the enactment of the Commonwealth, the U.S. has voted against all resolutions in favor of Puerto Rico’s self determination, and argued that if the solicitor general’s opinion prevails, “all that was a lie and [the U.S. government] will have to comply with International Law.”

In a 43-page allegation filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in the double jeopardy criminal case of “The People of Puerto Rico v. Sánchez Valle” it is stated that Puerto Rico’s powers reside in the U.S. Congress, therefore the Puerto Rican government has no sovereignty and the Commonwealth is not recognized by the U.S. Constitution.

Senate President Eduardo Bhatia, a pro-Commonwealth advocate, has said “it is time to prepare the country for a change in its relation with the U.S. that will allow political stability, democratic power to the people and unquestionable dignity.”

On the other side of the political spectrum, Sen. María de Lourdes Santiago, the Puerto Rican Independence Party gubernatorial candidate, has stated the federal government’s position dismisses “García Padilla’s argument regarding ‘the pact’ between Puerto Rico and the U.S. as not being able to be changed unilaterally by Congress, emphasizing the contrary, that Congress never considered ceding its plenary authority over our country.”

By Ismael Torres

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