Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New Book/Same Conclusions: Puerto Rico is a Colony

Richard Thornburgh discusses his new book (Photo by El Nuevo Dia)

El Futuro de Puerto Rico, Richard Thornburgh's new book, adds nothing to the status debate, except to further debunk the ELA/Commonwealth status of the island as a mere "impermanent colonial status". I do not mean to step on Mr. Thornburgh's masterpiece here, but give me a minute to put on some boots.

Richard Thornburgh, former Governor of Pennsylvania and ex-Secretary of Justice for the United States, presents his expertise on the matter and it turns out to be lacking. Mr. Thornburgh argues that the commonwealth system is a false status that has proven itself as veil of colonialism. This is such an obvious statement that even the pro-commonwealth PPD party agrees with it. In fact you will be hard pressed to find a single Puerto Rican who likes the current status. Of course the book's authority is only heightened by a introduction by former President George Bush, surely a recognized expert on the issue, who just so happened to never step foot on the island.

Perhaps the more intellectually insulting part of the book is its subtitle "Time to Decide". Yeah, thanks for the tip. I mean we didn't know it was time yet, wow.

This is essentially a pro-statehood book which ignores independence as an option and promotes greater integration into statehood as a means to correct the sins of the past, by simply creating whole new ones. Its a book meant for one audience only, Americans who would oppose statehood, and those people are not going to pick up any book about Puerto Rico. Those Puerto Ricans who look to this book as a source will only find a slanted American viewpoint that is ultimately irrelevant to the decisions that lay ahead for us Puerto Ricans.

The fact that independence for Puerto Rico is ignored as a solution is not an innocent mistake. It is either a purposeful attempt to narrow the debate, or a subconscious indication of the authors belief in Puerto Rican inferiority. Either way, without an honest presentation of the matter the book just serves as an excuse to kill trees for its printing.

by Michael Deliz

1 comment:

José M. López Sierra said...

Should criminals be in charge of correcting the wrong they inflicted?

Puerto Ricans vote in elections every 4 years at an 80% level of participation. Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States (US) government for the past 116 years. If the US government has the final say in what happens in Puerto Rico, what is the purpose of these elections? The purpose is to fool the world that Puerto Rico is a democracy.

The United Nations (UN) declared colonialism a crime against humanity in 1960. The UN has asked the US government 33 times to decolonize Puerto Rico immediately. The US government has refused. It says that Puerto Rico’s political relationship with the United States is none of the UN’s business. The US says that it is a domestic affair.

To appear that the US government wants to decolonize Puerto Rico, it promotes the use of plebiscites to determine what Puerto Ricans want. Doesn’t that sounds innocent and democratic? So what’s the problem?

To begin with, the international community already rendered its verdict and determined that colonialism is illegal. So to have a political status option in a plebiscite that favors maintaining Puerto Rico a colony of the United States is not permitted. To have a political status option of Puerto Rico becoming a state of the United States is also not permitted under international law. The problem goes back to the beginning of this article. In order to have free elections, the country must be free. So before these elections and plebiscite could be valid, Puerto Rico would have to first be an independent nation.

What people must realize is that Puerto Rico is a colony of the US because the US government wants it that way. That is why it has used terrorism to keep it that way. That is why it refuses to release the Puerto Rican political prisoner of 33 years Oscar López Rivera. That is also why it is ridiculous to believe that decolonization is a US internal matter in which the UN has no jurisdiction over. If we allow the US government to decolonize Puerto Rico, she will remain a colony of the United States forever!

José M López Sierra