The World is in Debt with Puerto Rico

By Maria Josefina Arce on July 6, 2019

Like every year, the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization reviewed Puerto Rico’s situation, a United States colony since 1898 despite the neighbor up North who tries to sell a different image through the false status of Puerto Rico as a Free Associated State.

Since 1972, when Cuba brought up the issue, the Committee has passed about thirty resolutions acknowledging the right of the Puerto Rican people to self-determination, independence and demanding Washington to assume their responsibility.

Nevertheless, successive Washington Administrations have ignored these documents and denied Puerto Rico’s colonial status exists, a country that is currently suffering meddling reports of a Fiscal Control Board created by the U.S. Congress through the so-called PROMESA Act (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act) to control the country’s finances.

Like every year the U.N. headquarters in New York received representatives of the Puerto Rican people who denounced a tough scenario on the island, which has been deprived of its right to independence and sovereignty for over a century.

The living condition of the Puerto Rican people has worsened since President Barack Obama imposed the Fiscal Control Board in 2016, making it more powerful than any other institution on the island.

Stakeholders exposed how the board is looting the country’s wealth and leaving the population in a vulnerable situation such as hospitals, schools and other basic services that are shut down. Moreover, they expressed their growing concern about the austerity measures imposed on the University of Puerto Rico, with cutbacks reaching $450 million ahead of fiscal year 2023.

The president of the Puerto Rico Human Rights Committee, Eduardo Villanueva, said that this institution is being destroyed to turn it into a technical school, separated from social sciences, humanities and critical thinking.

The economic crisis of the colonial model has been exacerbated by the devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria on September 2017, which increased poverty levels among the population. Currently poverty rates have risen to 50 percent, the most stricken sector is children and youth. The Youth Development Institute has stated it is time to put into effect public policies to attack this problem since the country’s future and prosperity is at risk.

Because of  the misleading condition of “Free Associated State”, Puerto Rico is deprived of its historical roots as a Latin American and Caribbean nation with its own and unmistakable national identity.

And it is also ignored the feeling of many Puerto Ricans who advocate independence and sovereignty and do not want to continue being a country forgotten and abandoned by the empire.

Puerto Rico is not alone. There are many countries, governments and personalities who support that brave people who have kept their identity alive, demanding to end their status of colony.

Source: Radio Havana Cuba, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau