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Puerto Rico rises...
CADTM AYNA statement in support
24 July 2019

CADTM Latin America and the Caribbean (CADTM - ABYA YALA - Our America) stands in solidarity and marches along with the brave Puerto Rican people and, among them, the comrades with whom we participated in the Latin American and Caribbean Week against Illegitimate Debts, held from December 2 to 8, 2018.

We are aware, through the experiences of being there, that this country and its people will not give up, that they will continue their rebellion honouring the memory of those who struggled and are struggling to win independence for this beautiful Puerto Rican land.

We observed, during our stay, that Puerto Rico is not a free State, but it is dependent and lives in a state of permanent poverty and directly subjected to US domination. This colonial situation has intensified since the establishment of the Federal Fiscal Control Board, a perverse mechanism that limits, even more, the autonomy of economic, financial and budget matters decisions. We realized that the Puerto Ricans have no say in law making. These are clearly defined by the US Congress, which implies that the current status of a “Free Associated State” (Estado Libre Asociado) is an ideological pretence.

For more than a week, thousands of Puerto Ricans have taken to the streets shouting “Get out Ricky!” Calling for the resignation of Governor Ricardo Roselló, involved in embezzlement of federal funds for social services in Puerto Rico and accused of mocking his countrymen through sexist, racial and snobbish comments - including those killed by Hurricane Maria - all published on the Telegram social network.

According to estimates of the Center for Investigative Journalism of Puerto Rico, some 15.5 million dollars have been diverted which must have been allocated for peoples’ basic needs, especially those most affected after the hurricane María, in September 2017. It has been estimated that at least 2,975 people died from the hurricane. At least 200,000 Puerto Ricans emigrated to Florida, after having lost everything in their country and, still a thousand families live as refugees, without any hope of getting back to a home.

To “pay” the debt of 70 billion dollars supposedly owed by the Island, the Fiscal Board of Puerto Rico approved more cuts, which include the shut down of 300 schools in the interior of the country, reductions in pensions and the closure of help centres. This debt was not used to build social infrastructure or to generate new jobs, or for health and education: it is the money that went to the pockets of the powerful and served to nourish the coffers of the representatives of the colonial power.

It is paradoxical that a few days ago, in a resolution passed on June 24, 2019, the UN Decolonization Committee urged the United States to promote a process that allows the people of Puerto Rico, in a sovereign manner, to make decisions to meet its urgent economic and social needs, including unemployment, marginalization, insolvency and poverty, plus problems related to education and health. However, this resolution, passed for the thirty-eighth time, is paralysed, like many other resolutions which are part of International Law but are not respected. There is a prevalence of injustice and abuse in the face of colonial treatment by the United States, which is embarrassing and humiliating.

CADTM - AYNA reiterates its support and solidarity to the committed struggle of the Puerto Rican people that at the same time is against neo-liberalism, colonialism, capitalism, patriarchy and racism.

For the Right to Self-Determination of the People of Puerto Rico: Organization, Struggle, Fight and Victory!

Translated from Spanish by Sushovan Dhar


Abya Yala Nuestra América
Abya Yala est le nom donné par les Indiens Kunas du Panama et de la Colombie au continent américain avant l’arrivée de Christophe Colomb et des européens. L’expression « Abya Yala » signifie « terre dans sa pleine maturité » dans la langue des Kunas. Le leader indigène aymara de Bolivie Takir Mamani a proposé que tous les peuples indigènes des Amériques nomment ainsi leurs terres d’origine, et utilisent cette dénomination dans leurs documents et leurs déclarations orales, arguant que « placer des noms étrangers sur nos villes, nos cités et nos continents équivaut à assujettir notre identité à la volonté de nos envahisseurs et de leurs héritiers. ». Abya Yala est choisie en 1992 par les nations indigènes d’Amérique pour désigner l’Amérique au lieu de le nommer d’après Amerigo Vespucci.