PUERTO RICO.- The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign
GRUPO EL HERALDO firstname.lastname@example.org
"LA SENSACIÓN DE CUMPLIR CON EL MÁS SAGRADO DE LOS DEBERES,
LUCHAR CONTRA EL IMPERIALISMO DONDEQUIERA QUE ESTÉ"
Honorable members of the U.N. Special Committee on De-colonization, thank you, for this opportunity to be heard before this committee today. My name is Benjamin Ramos Rosado and I’m here on behalf of The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign.
For over 15 years, ProLibertad has addressed this committee making the case for the release of the Puerto Rican political prisoners, in particular Oscar Lopez Rivera. It’s our honor and privilege to announce that our brother Oscar is finally free and today shares this podium with us. Oscar’s liberation serves as a reminder that despite our colonial reality, we Boricuas have the power to make anything happen and that one-day we will be a free and sovereign nation.
Puerto Rico is a colony; this is an irrefutable fact. We’re victims of U.S. economic and political exploitation and manipulation. Our nation has survived innumerable U.S. campaigns to eliminate our language, national identity, and culture. And when we’ve risen up against these injustices, we’ve been labeled “terrorists” and have either been assassinated or incarcerated. All of this oppression is historically typical of a colonial relationship.
A recent example of our colonial oppression has been the institutionalization of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, known as PROMESA. This heinous piece of legislation has created a Fiscal Control Board, which is truly a colonial control board, and pushed forward a plan to repay vulture hedge funds by enacting austerity plans, which have further increased our island’s unemployment and poverty.
It’s important to note that PROMESA has been met with incredible resistance, solidarity and unity. Puerto Rican youth and students have been at the forefront of this struggle. They’ve organized strikes, protested, disrupted Fiscal Control Board meetings, and have inspired other organizations and institutions to do likewise. The Puerto Rican Diaspora has also been extremely active in resisting PROMESA, colonialism, and repression.
As a nation, we’ve ended the bombing of Vieques; we’ve freed our political prisoners; we’ve fought U.S. labor colonialism and privatization; and we’ve survived COINTELPRO and other U.S. campaigns to infiltrate and destroy our independence movement. Once again, our resilience, creativity, strength, and pride have pushed us through great adversity into victory.
Honorable members, this is why colonialism is destined to fail. We Puerto Ricans are made of resistance and struggle; it’s part of our DNA. We’re the descendents of Taino and African slaves who fought Spanish colonialism with machetes and rebellions. We’re a nation that has been forged in the fires of oppression and have always been able to survive, thrive, and win.
Before, I finish I would like to mention Puerto Rican Prisoner of Conscience Ana Belen Montes. Incarcerated for following her conscience, Ana’s case has nothing to do with Puerto Rico, but Oscar has asked us to mention her wherever we speak. I quote Oscar, “We should all be proud of her, support her, and demand her release from prison.” Oscar’s wishes have already become a call to action. Currently, we’re building a movement for her freedom and we will accomplish that goal as well.
Honorable members, our nation’s independence and self-determination is inevitable! Why? Because we are Puerto Rican! And despite all its power and influence, U.S. colonialism has never been able to take that away from us. I ask this committee, made of many nations that have fought for their own independence, to stand with us, as you have before, and pass a resolution calling for an end to U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico. We will be free!
¡Que viva Puerto Rico Libre!