24 June 2016

Colombia’s San Andres Island, a Jewel in the Caribbean



SAN ANDRES, Colombia – San Andres Island has become a jewel for Colombia’s tourism industry, giving visitors a taste of a vibrant urban lifestyle and the beauty of the sea.

San Andres, located in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Nicaragua, is a UNESCO biosphere reserve and its waters harbor the third-largest barrier reef in the world, a natural feature that is only smaller than those in Australia and Belize.

San Andres, just a two-hour flight from Colombia’s capital, Bogota, is the largest island in an archipelago that also includes Providencia and Santa Catalina islands, as well as 18 keys.

San Andres is also the largest island in the group, with an area of 26 sq. kilometers (10 sq. miles) and about 70,000 year-round residents.

The government has banned new construction on the island unless developers undergo a rigorous process, investing a large sum and demonstrating that the project will benefit San Andres and its residents.

Most of the lodging is British-style bed and breakfast offerings, providing visitors with an affordable stay that brings them into contact with locals.

The archipelago’s big draw, however, is nature, with an estimated 10 percent of the world’s marine plants and animals living in its waters.

One surprise for many visitors is the large military presence in the islands, with the Colombian armed forces deployed in the area to fight drug trafficking and provide a show of force in the face of Nicaragua’s claims to the archipelago.

23 June 2016

Should settler privilege be permitted to supercede the genuine right of self-determination of the peoples of Guam?


Plan of Action for full Implementation of the Decolonization Declaration 
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 35/118
 11 December 1980

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"Member States shall adopt the necessary measures to discourage or prevent the systematic influx of outside immigrants and settlers into Territories under colonial administration which disrupts the demographic composition of those Territories and may constitute a major obstacle to the genuine exercise of the right to self-determination and independence by the people of those Territories." 

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NO REST FOR THE AWAKE - MINAGAHET CHAMORRO

I wrote yesterday about the case Tuaua v. the United States, which deals with the issue of birthright citizenship, American Samoans and whether the US Constitution automatically follows wherever the American flag is flown. This case, which was recently declined by the US Supreme Court and won't be heard this year, has been casting an anxious shadow over Guam, as it could have serious ramifications for how the Government of Guam decides to forge ahead with its plans for decolonization. 

I mentioned briefly another case that has cast an even larger shadow over the decolonization movement in Guam for the past few years and that is Davis v. The Government of Guam, which was filed by Dave Davis, who argues that the planned decolonization plebiscite and the Chamorro registry that will determine who can vote in it, violates his constitutional rights as a US citizen. The case has been going around in circles and so many have come to believe it is already over. It was initially dismissed in the local district court for not being ripe, but after appealing to the 9th Circuit Court it was reinstated and scheduled to resume sometime next month.

The case has had a paralyzing effect on the local decolonization movement, which due to lack of interest and support from political leaders, was already moving quite slowly. But political leaders have been even more unwilling to take seriously this issue, knowing that the possibility of a decision of "unconstitutionality" could be handed down soon.

Last year, while attending the UN Committee of 24 Regional Seminar in Nicaragua, I spoke about this problem:

In 2011, an ethnically white long-time resident of Guam, Arnold “Dave” Davis, filed a lawsuit claiming that the proposed decolonization plebiscite would violate his U.S. constitutional rights as he is not allowed to register for it. His lawsuit was dismissed in the courts of Guam on the basis that it was not “ripe,” as no plebiscite has been scheduled, although a Decolonization Commission is in place and is tasked with educating the island community and helping guide the plebiscite process. He appealed the decision in the Ninth Circuit District Court, a higher U.S. federal court.

Just last week, the Ninth Circuit Court announced their ruling that Davis’ case was indeed ripe and could be heard. The case so far has been, in my eyes, a twisted deformation of the arc of justice. In order to make his argument, Davis’ attorneys used the history of segregation and discrimination in the United States against the rights of the Chamorro people. They argued that Chamorros, in seeking to protect their right to self-determination, were akin to hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, which had historically denied certain groups the right to vote through legal or illegal means. This case has become another means of hiding the contemporary realities of U.S. colonization.

The position of Davis is something that has also been mirrored by U.S. representatives, who have also argued that a self-determination vote must follow U.S. rules. This insistence is not genuine, however. Regardless of how the decolonization vote is set, the Administering Power has long refused to recognize that this vote is binding or that the U.S. has any obligation based upon its outcome. The sympathetic ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court shows a continued commitment on behalf of the Administering Power to ignore international conventions and force this process to conform to the comforts of the colonizer’s legal mazes and fictions.

Davis will most likely resume his challenge against the self-determination plebiscite. His case continues to chill discussion, in anticipation of the time when the merits of his argument will be heard in court. In truth, the merits of Davis’ case shouldn’t matter whatsoever. A decolonization process bound to the rules of the colonizer is anathema to the hope of justice and restitution that decolonization is meant to represent. Self-determination is meant to be a sacred right that all peoples possess. Here, we see a dangerous path ahead, where it appears the U.S. is insisting that it be allowed to determine how a colonized people decolonize.

22 June 2016

Expert Panel to discuss contemporary decolonisation process at UN


Panel Discussion held in the context of the International Week of Solidarity with Peoples of the Non Self-Governing Territories  

CONFERENCE ON DECOLONIZATION

This conference will be held in the framework of the International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing territories, with the presence and participation of a group of academics and diplomats; it is aimed at explaining the audience different opinions and views on the different aspects of the decolonization process.

The general idea of the Conference is to provide a basis for discussion on decolonization, from a historical perspective with the liberation struggle fought by countries like Angola during the second half of the XX century, in order to show how emancipation processes during the XIX and XX centuries evolved to be inherited by the United Nations through the Special Committee on Decolonization, replacing the violent struggle with diplomatic efforts in the context of multilateralism.

The Conference will then present an overview of the decolonization process and the relevance of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples as an instrument of political authority to encourage the aspirations of the peoples that led to the creation of new nations in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific regions.
Furthermore, the Conference will focus on reviewing, from an academic perspective, different cases of the decolonization process such as the Question of Western Sahara and the Question of Puerto Rico, to raise awareness on fundamental aspects of those processes and their connection to the historical moment and evolution, as well as events, challenges, and related actors.

In the case of Western Sahara, the debate will be connected to the historical view and opinions on the developments of the controversy and roles of actors to the conflict, with a democratic and alternative approach.

With regards to Puerto Rico, the discussion will be mainly based on the current economic and political situation that determines points of agreement between the different forces and options around the political status of Puerto Rico, favoring the decolonization of the territory.


Speakers:

·       Ambassador Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins, Permanent Representative of Angola

·       Dr. Carlyle Corbin, International Advisor on Governance & Multilateral Diplomacy

·       Dr. Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies, Coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco.

·       Dr. José Luis Morín, Professor in the Latin American and Latino Studies, Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY).

Venue:
Conference Room 2, United Nations Headquarters

Date:
Wednesday 22 June 2016; from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Language:
English

Conference format:
·       Speaker intervention: 15 minutes each
·       Questions and answers session

Disclaimer:


The purpose of the Conference is to inform the audience about the different aspects of decolonization, to provide academic points of view on the issue and to raise awareness and promote debate on decolonization; the Conference does not intend to establish the position of the Committee on Decolonization about the subjects that will be raised there, nor is the intention to present the academic opinions of the experts and the words of the diplomatic officer as the point of view of the Committee; the Committee would offer these views as food for thought but it will not be an endorsement of any kind to any point of view mentioned during the Conference.

21 June 2016

Panelists at Pacific Festival of Arts discuss free association option

1 decolonization
J. Roman Bedor (r), Member of the Palau Council of Chiefs and Advisor to the President of the Republic of Palau, presents case study of Palau as a freely associated state. Other panelists included Joe Garrido, Chair of the Free Association Task Force of the Guam Commission on Decolonization; Mark Short, Attorney from the Cook Islands; and Dr. Carlyle Corbin, International Advisor on Governance (Virgin Islands) who served as discussant.

(PHOTO BY GUAM DAILY POST)

U.N. calls for genuine self-determination process for Puerto Rico

Image result for united nations




Special Committee on Decolonization
6th & 7th Meetings (AM & PM)



Members in Day-Long Hearing of Petitioners 

on Territory’s Political Status


The Special Committee on Decolonization today approved a draft resolution calling on the Government of the United States to assume its responsibility to expedite a process that would allow the people of Puerto Rico to exercise fully their right to self-determination and independence.
Approving the text without a vote, the Special Committee called on the United States to move forward with a process to allow the Puerto Rican people to take decisions in a sovereign manner, and to address their urgent economic and social needs, including unemployment, marginalization, insolvency and poverty.
Also by the text, the Special Committee urged the United States Government to complete the return of occupied land and installations on Vieques Island and in Ceiba to the Puerto Rican people, and to expedite and cover the costs of cleaning up and decontaminating areas previously used for military exercises, with a view to protecting the health of their inhabitants and the environment.
Further by the text, the Special Committee called upon the President of the United States to release, without delay, the Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who had served more than 35 years in a United States prison for reasons relating to the Puerto Rican quest for independence.  It expressed deep concern over actions carried out against Puerto Rican independence activists and encouraged investigations into those actions, in cooperation with relevant authorities.
By other terms, the Special Committee requested that the General Assembly consider comprehensively the question of Puerto Rico in all its aspects, and decide on that issue as soon as possible.
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Decision of the Special Committee 
of 22 June 2015 concerning Puerto Rico

The Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples,

Bearing in mind the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, set out in resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, and also the 34 resolutions and decisions of the Special Committee concerning Puerto Rico,

Considering that more than half of the period 2011-2020, proclaimed by the General Assembly in its resolution 65/119 of 10 December 2010 as the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, has already elapsed,

Bearing in mind the 34 resolutions and decisions adopted by the Special Committee since 1972 on the question of Puerto Rico set out in the reports of the Special Committee to the General Assembly, in particular those adopted in recent years without a vote,

Recalling that 25 July 2016 marks the 118th anniversary of the intervention in Puerto Rico by the United States of America,

Noting with concern that, despite the various initiatives taken in recent years by the political representatives of Puerto Rico and the United States, the process of the decolonization of Puerto Rico, in compliance with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) and the resolutions and decisions of the Special Committee concerning Puerto Rico, has not yet been set in motion,

Bearing in mind that, on 6 November 2012, a majority of the people of Puerto Rico rejected its current status of political subordination and that, in the context of the significant upsurge of the economic and fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico, such status prevents it from taking sovereign decisions to address its serious economic and social problems, including unemployment, marginalization, insolvency and poverty,

Noting with concern the imminent imposition on Puerto Rico by the United States Congress of a fiscal control board, for which purpose it is invoking the plenary powers of the Congress under the territorial clause of its Constitution, and the statements made by the Attorney General to the Supreme Court of that country affirming that Puerto Rico continues to be a territory under the sovereignty of the United States and subject to the plenary powers of its Congress, 

Stressing again the urgent need for the United States to lay the groundwork for the full implementation of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of the General Assembly and the resolutions and decisions of the Special Committee concerning Puerto Rico, 

Noting that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status designated by the President of the United States, which submitted its third report on 16 March 2011, reaffirmed that Puerto Rico is a territory subject to United States congressional authority and that to date the discussion of the issue of status is at a standstill, 

Taking note of the declarations adopted at the second, third and fourth summits of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, held in Havana, in Belén, Costa Rica, and in Quito, in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively, in which attention is drawn again to the Latin American and Caribbean character of Puerto Rico; note is taken of the resolutions on Puerto Rico adopted by the Special Committee, reiterating that it is a matter of interest for the Community; a commitment is made to continue working, within the framework of international law and, in particular, of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), to make the region of Latin America and the Caribbean an area free of colonialism and colonies; and the Quartet of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States is directed, with the participation of other Member States that wish to join this endeavour, to present proposals to move forward on this matter, 

Taking note also of the Special Declaration on Puerto Rico adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, at its meeting in Caracas on 4 and 5 February 2012, in which they expressed their strong support for the inalienable right of the people of Puerto Rico to self-determination and full independence; recalled that Puerto Rico is a Latin American and Caribbean nation, with its own unmistakable identity and history, whose rights to sovereignty have been violated by the colonial rule imposed for more than a century; stressed that the cause of Puerto Rican independence concerns the region of Latin America and the Caribbean and their forums for dialogue and political cooperation, in particular the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States; and demanded the release of political prisoners who are convicted of fighting for the independence and self-determination of Puerto Rico, including comrade Oscar López Rivera, who has been imprisoned under inhumane conditions for 35 years,

Taking note further of the Panama Proclamation adopted by the Latin American and Caribbean Congress in support of Puerto Rico’s Independence, which was held in Panama City on 18 and 19 November 2006 and attended by representatives of 33 political parties from 22 countries of the region, the conclusions of which were reaffirmed in the declaration adopted by the Council of the Socialist International in Cascais, Portugal, on 5 February 2013, expressing support for the repeated and unanimous call of the Special Committee of the General Assembly to consider the colonial case of Puerto Rico, and for the release of Oscar López Rivera and other Puerto Rican patriots who are serving sentences in United States prisons, and voicing satisfaction and solidarity with the rejection by a majority of the people of Puerto Rico of the maintenance of the current colonial status of Puerto Rico,

Noting the debate in Puerto Rico on the search for a procedure that would make it possible to launch the process of decolonization of Puerto Rico, and aware of the ineffectiveness of consultations originating in the United States, of the principle that any initiative seeking a solution to the political status of Puerto Rico should originate from the people of Puerto Rico, and of the fact that, to date, several draft laws in favour of convening a constitutional assembly on status have been presented in Puerto Rico, 

Noting also the consensus among the people of Puerto Rico in favour of the release of the Puerto Rican political prisoner, Oscar López Rivera, who has been serving a sentence in a prison in the United States for more than 35 years for reasons related to the struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico, 

Noting further the concern of the people of Puerto Rico regarding violent actions, including repression, intimidation and the forced sampling of DNA, against Puerto Rican independence activists, including actions that have recently come to light through documents declassified by federal agencies of the United States, 

Aware that Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, was used for over 60 years by the United States Marine Corps to carry out military exercises, with negative consequences for the health of the population, the environment and the economic and social development of that Puerto Rican municipality, 

Noting the consensus existing among the people and the Government of Puerto Rico on the need to clean up, decontaminate and return to the people of Puerto Rico all the territory previously used for military exercises and installations, and to use them for the social and economic development of Puerto Rico, and also on the slowness of the process thus far, 

Noting also the constant complaints made by the inhabitants of Vieques Island regarding the continued bombing and the use of open burning as a clean-up method, thereby exacerbating the existing health problems and the pollution and endangering civilian lives, 

Noting further that, in the Final Document of the Sixteenth Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries held in Tehran from 26 to 31 August 2012, and at other meetings of the Movement, the right of the people of Puerto Rico to self-determination and independence pursuant to General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) is reaffirmed; the Government of the United States is urged to assume its responsibility to expedite a process that will allow the Puerto Rican people fully to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence and to return the territory and occupied installations on Vieques Island and at the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station to the Puerto Rican people, who constitute a Latin American and Caribbean nation; and the General Assembly is urged actively to consider the question of Puerto Rico in all its aspects, 

Having heard statements and witness accounts representative of various viewpoints among the people of Puerto Rico and their social institutions, 

Having considered the report of the Rapporteur of the Special Committee on the implementation of the resolutions concerning Puerto Rico,

1. Reaffirms the inalienable right of the Puerto Rican people to self-determination and independence, in conformity with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) and the applicability of the fundamental principles of that resolution to the question of Puerto Rico; 

2. Reiterates that the Puerto Rican people constitutes a Latin American and Caribbean nation that has its own unequivocal national identity; 

3. Calls again upon the Government of the United States of America to assume its responsibility to expedite a process that will allow the Puerto Rican people fully to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence, in accordance and in full compliance with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) and the resolutions and decisions of the Special Committee concerning Puerto Rico, and to take decisions, in a sovereign manner, to address their urgent economic and social needs, including unemployment, marginalization, insolvency and poverty; 

4. Notes the broad support of eminent persons, Governments and political forces in Latin America and the Caribbean for the independence of Puerto Rico; 

5. Also notes the debate in Puerto Rico on the implementation of a mechanism that would ensure the full participation of representatives of all sectors of Puerto Rican public opinion, including a constitutional assembly on status with a basis in the decolonization alternatives recognized in international law, and aware of the principle that any initiative for the solution of the political status of Puerto Rico should originate from the people of Puerto Rico; 

6. Expresses deep concern over the actions carried out against Puerto Rican independence activists, and encourages the investigation of those actions with the necessary rigour and with the cooperation of the relevant authorities; 

7. Requests the General Assembly to consider the question of Puerto Rico comprehensively in all its aspects, and to decide on that issue soon as possible; 8. Urges the Government of the United States, in line with the need to guarantee the heir legitimate right of the Puerto Rican people to self-determination and the protection of their human rights, to complete the return to the people of Puerto Rico of the occupied land and installations on Vieques Island and in Ceiba; to respect fundamental human rights, such as the right to health and economic development; and to expedite and cover the costs of the process of cleaning up and decontaminating the areas previously used in military exercises through means that do not continue to aggravate the serious consequences of its military activity, with a view to protecting the health of the inhabitants of Vieques Island and the environment; 

8. Urges the Government of the United States, in line with the need to guarantee the heir legitimate right of the Puerto Rican people to self-determination and the protection of their human rights, to complete the return to the people of Puerto Rico of the occupied land and installations on Vieques Island and in Ceiba; to respect fundamental human rights, such as the right to health and economic development; and to expedite and cover the costs of the process of cleaning up and decontaminating the areas previously used in military exercises through means that do not continue to aggravate the serious consequences of its military activity, with a view to protecting the health of the inhabitants of Vieques Island and the environment;

9. Calls again upon the President of the United States of America to release, without further delay, the Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who is 73 years old and has been serving his sentence in a United States prison for more than 35 years for reasons related to the struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico and whose case is humanitarian in nature, and welcomes the release of Norberto González Claudio; 

10. Takes note with satisfaction of the report prepared by the Rapporteur of the Special Committee, in compliance with its resolution of 22 June 2015; 

11. Requests the Rapporteur to report in 2016 on the implementation of the present resolution, including new developments relevant to a process of decolonization of Puerto Rico, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV); 

12. Decides to keep the question of Puerto Rico under continuous review.

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Iran’s representative, speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, reaffirmed the right of the people of Puerto Rico to self-determination and independence on the basis of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV).  He recalled that the Special Committee had approved 34 resolutions or decisions on the topic, adding that they were in full agreement with the Movement’s traditional position on the question of Puerto Rico.
Governor Alejandro García Padilla of Puerto Rico pointed out that the United Nations recognized the political sovereignty of Puerto Rico as an autonomous political entity, adding that the posture of the United States Government was incompatible with what was said within the General Assembly.  Puerto Rico’s current humanitarian crisis made it impossible to provide health, safety and education, creating a grave situation of life or death for the Territory’s people, he emphasized.
Throughout the day, the Special Committee heard from dozens of petitioners, many of whom stressed that the sovereign state of Borinken did not recognize the legitimacy of the United States Government over the Territory’s people, describing all actions taken by the imperial Power there as illegal.  One petitioner underlined that the state of Borinken should not have to wait another 30 or 40 years to have its due freedom, adding that action by the Special Committee could be a significant step forward that could lead to the end of Puerto Rico’s colonial status.
Another petitioner voiced support for Puerto Rico becoming the fifty-first state of the United States, saying its people rejected being governed as a colonial territory.  The Special Committee could no longer ignore the fact that Puerto Rico was a colony, he continued, emphasizing that it should be placed on the General Assembly’s list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
Other petitioners expressed serious concern over the imposition of capital punishment in Puerto Rico, saying the death penalty was a demonstration of subjugation, contrary to the United Nations Charter and a denial of the fundamental human right.  One petitioner pointed out that death-penalty cases in Puerto Rico were tried in English, although Puerto Ricans predominantly spoke Spanish.
Several petitioners highlighted the large number of Puerto Ricans suffering mental illness as another area of serious concern, with one noting that colonization had resulted in great damage to the self-esteem, self-identity and self-worth of the Puerto Rican people.  Studies indicated about half of the population suffered from mental illness.
Furthermore, many speakers called for the release of Mr. López, who sent his greetings to the meeting via telephone.
Opening Remarks
HOSSEIN MALEKI (Iran), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, reaffirmed the right of the people of Puerto Rico to self-determination and independence on the basis of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), urging the Assembly to consider the question in all its aspects.  The Special Committee had approved 34 resolutions or decisions on the topic, he noted, adding that they were in full agreement with the Movement’s traditional position on the question of Puerto Rico.  He called on the United States to expedite a process that would allow Puerto Ricans to fully exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence, and to return the occupied land and installations of Vieques Island and the Roosevelt Road Naval Station.  He also called for the release of political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who had served more than 35 years in United States prisons.
READ THE FULL REPORT HERE.

20 June 2016

PUERTO RICO - EL FIN DE UNA MENTIRA

Por Carlos Gallisá

Desde la creación misma del Estado Libre Asociado comenzó el debate sobre la validez jurídica del nuevo proyecto político. Se discutía si el mismo cabía dentro de la estructura constitucional de Estados Unidos y si estaba fuera de la cláusula territorial de la Constitución USA que le da al Congreso plenos poderes sobre los territorios.

?El debate jurídico se mantuvo por muchos años (64) en los tribunales federales con opiniones, muchas veces contradictorias, y el Tribunal Supremo USA soslayando la controversia. Finalmente, el pasado año el Supremo USA decidió acoger una apelación del Gobierno de Puerto Rico solicitando la revocación de una decisión del Supremo de la Isla sobre la aplicabilidad de la cláusula constitucional de doble exposición. Esto es, si una persona puede ser juzgada dos veces, en lo federal y en Puerto Rico, por el mismo delito cometido bajo los mismos hechos. 

?Lo que por muchos años se esperó, que el Supremo USA adjudicara la controversia sobre la condición jurídica del ELA y, por ende, su definición política, finalmente el pasado 9 de junio de 2016 el Supremo USA hizo pública la tan esperada decisión en el caso Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Sánchez Valle, et al.

?Para entender lo resuelto y el alcance político de la decisión, debemos comenzar a describir la estructura jurídica de Puerto Rico para beneficio de los que no son abogados y que no tienen por qué conocerla.

?En Puerto Rico aplican las leyes aprobadas por el Congreso de Estados Unidos con excepción de aquellas que el propio Congreso excluya, las cuales son muy pocas. Quien viole esas leyes es juzgado en la Corte de Distrito de Estados Unidos en Puerto Rico, conocida como la Corte Federal.

?Además de las leyes federales están en vigor también las leyes aprobadas por la legislatura de Puerto Rico y quien las viole será juzgado por los tribunales de Puerto Rico. Por regla general, en ambas jurisdicciones no se puede juzgar a una persona dos veces por la comisión del mismo delito bajo los mismo hechos.

?En el caso que nos ocupa, Luis Sánchez Valle y Jaime Gómez Vázquez le vendieron armas a un agente encubierto de la Policía de Puerto Rico. Ambos fueron acusados por violar la Ley de Armas de Puerto Rico. Mientras esperaban juicio en las cortes locales, un gran jurado federal los acusó de violar leyes de Estados Unidos por la misma transacción.

?Ambos acusados hicieron alegación de culpabilidad en la corte federal y por tal razón solicitaron el archivo de sus casos en Puerto Rico. El juez de instancia en Puerto Rico archivó los casos declarando con lugar la alegación de la defensa que procesarlos sería una violación a la doble exposición, ya que habían sido procesados por el mismo delito en la federal. La fiscalía apeló al Tribunal de Apelaciones y luego de consolidar los dos casos este Tribunal revocó la decisión de instancia. El caso fue al Supremo de Puerto Rico y éste revocó al Tribunal de Apelaciones, confirmando al Tribunal de Instancia de que se había violado la cláusula constitucional de doble exposición.

?El Supremo de Puerto Rico determinó que el ELA no tiene soberanía propia y que su fuente de poder surge de una delegación que le ha hecho el Congreso de USA. El gobierno de Puerto Rico apeló al Supremo USA y éste confirmó al Supremo de P.R. al decidir el pasado jueves lo siguiente:

1. La cláusula de doble exposición prohíbe a Puerto Rico de procesar a una persona por la misma conducta criminal una vez la persona ha sido procesada en la corte federal por los mismos hechos.

2. La prohibición se debe a que Puerto Rico no tiene ni ha tenido nunca soberanía propia. Tener soberanía propia es lo que permite a los cincuenta estados y las tribus indígenas juzgar a los ya procesados en la corte federal sin violar la doble exposición según la jurisprudencia establecida.

3. La facultad de Puerto Rico para procesar violadores de la ley emana de una facultad que le concede el Congreso de Estados Unidos y no de soberanía propia.

4. Solamente puede haber doble exposición en los casos en que hay soberanía dual. Puerto Rico no tiene soberanía sin importar que en el 1952 se haya aprobado una constitución y creado el ELA con un gobierno propio. Detrás de esa autonomía la última fuente de poder es el Congreso de EUA. El poder para Puerto Rico acusar y procesar acusados se lo da el Congreso al igual que al gobierno federal, por lo tanto, no hay soberanías separadas que es lo que permite el doble proceso. Si hay soberanía por separado se trata entonces de una persona que ha cometido dos ofensas (una en cada territorio soberano) y no que haya sido castigado dos veces por el mismo delito, según la jurisprudencia federal. 

5. Puerto Rico es similar a un condado o municipio de un estado. Éste, no importa la autonomía que tenga para acusar y procesar, su fuente de poder es el estado y por lo tanto no tiene soberanía dual con el estado.

6. Los territorios como Puerto Rico derivan su poder del gobierno federal a diferencia de los estados que tenían soberanía antes de incorporarse a la Unión. Lo mismo las tribus indias. Los poderes de los territorios son delegados por el Congreso.

La decisión del Tribunal USA se aprobó en votación de 6 a 2 con los jueces Breyen y Sotomayor disintiendo de la mayoría. La opinión disidente de Breyen y Sotomayor es un intento de validar el ELA adoptando el discurso muñocista del pacto, el gobierno propio, la creación del ELA como una expresión de la voluntad soberana del pueblo de Puerto Rico y como se había creado un nuevo ente político en el 1952. Pero nunca señalan que Puerto Rico está fuera de la cláusula territorial. Invocan también en su disidencia la resolución de Naciones Unidas sobre el gobierno propio alcanzado por Puerto Rico.

El mismo día y la mañana en que se publica la opinión disidente el Congreso en horas de la tarde aprueba legislación que crea una junta de siete miembros nombrados por el Congreso y el Presidente con poderes para gobernar a Puerto Rico por encima del gobierno electo por los puertorriqueños. 



17 June 2016

Turks & Caicos Islands Premier delivers address in Anguilla


THE ANGUILLIAN


The 1967 revolutionary spirit of self-determination, which Anguilla exhibited then, after almost a century and a half of protests against its annexation with St. Kitts-Nevis, has been used as an analogy whereby the British Overseas Territories can collectively move to the next level in terms of self-governance and economic and financial development.

The analogy was advanced by the Premier of the Turks & Caicos Islands, Dr. Rufus Ewing. He was at the time delivering the Anguilla Day Walter G. Hodge Memorial Lecture, entitled “The Next Level: Stepping onto the World’s Stage”, at La Vue Conference Centre on June 2, 2016.

Dr. Ewing, a highly-qualified Physician and Surgeon, turned politician, praised the late Walter Hodge as an outstanding Anguillian who, “through his tireless industry, diligence and faithfulness, sought in setting the foundation for the modern Anguilla”. Following the 1967 Anguilla Revolution Walter Hodge served as Chairman of the 15-member Peacekeeping Committee in charge of the day to day administration of Anguilla and later as Treasurer and Comptroller of Customs. In 1943 he was the youngest Anguillian to win an island-wide election as the local representative in the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla Legislative Council where he served three years.

Premier Ewing said the Anguilla Revolution was the result of years of preparation, study, action, determination, and resolve which brought matters to a head on May 30, 1967, followed by the declaration of Anguilla as a Republic in 1969. “In fact, Anguilla has set an historic stage for us all, since [it] is the only English-speaking nation in the Caribbean Basin to have fought for, and declared, a Republic by the sheer force of national will,” he emphasised.

The TCI Premier used the opportunity to offer this suggestion regarding the Overseas Territories: “I think we must look at where we are now, and begin in earnest to plot a course – again following Anguilla’s historical example – moving to the next level and stepping onto the world’s stage as a collective group of territories with the sound knowledge that though diverse, indeed far more unites us. This thread of commonality must be intricately woven into a banner that becomes the symbol of a meaningful coalition.”

He saw the territories, which he referred to as “city states”, facing such unusual problems and issues as:

• Finding ways and means to bring democracy from under a system of external management.

• Managing economic models with limited economies of scale.
• Continuing to fight everyday for fair exchanges and becoming advocates for the ‘rule of law’ in international law.
• Continuing to deal with environmental issues, and seasons of storms that can bring our countries low; and
• Continuing to fight against the directives of supranational powers that threaten our economies or way of life.

Noting that the territories not only survived, but managed to thrive despite their challenges, Dr. Ewing declared: “We are experts – our governments, businesses and our people – on drawing prosperity from these challenges and adverse conditions.”

He continued: “Anguilla herself has developed a refined tourism industry where trade-papers are saying that you have turned the crisis around, and another round of success is on the horizon. When taken together, with its leading participation in the Society for Trust and Estate Planners (STEP), in the financial services, the sustenance of the Anguilla brand is assured. Not only that. You have a successful Community College, a growing interest from movie companies and, whatever they say, the success of Zharnel Hughes in global sports is bringing Anguillian talents to the notice of the world.

He further said: “When we think of Overseas Territories in particular, between Cayman, Bermuda, BVI, Anguilla and TCI, we have some of the best economies in the region. Between ourselves – if we include Jersey – we manage nearly two trillion dollars and are the best regulated financial systems in the world.”

Premier Ewing stressed: “Our greatest strength and chances of success in achieving a greater degree of autonomy or self-determination lies with our ability to educate our people on the value of, and the responsibility, that come with such autonomy; on our ability to create success on the local and international stage; on our ability to demonstrate best practices in good governance and the rule of law; on our ability to foster meaningful relationships with the private sector, local, regional and international partners; and on our ability to become competitive on the world stage to create value and be recognised by the world as a force to reckon with.”

As part of his lecture, which attracted much applause at times, the TCI Head of Government made a number of calls from which Anguilla and the other Overseas Territories can benefit. These calls included the following:

• A call for a series of meetings, involving the territories and the UK Government, not to complain about governing arrangements, but instead to think through the possibilities of moving our self-governance to a new level. He envisioned that the culmination could be a new Overseas Territories Governing Charter aimed at creating a single standard in their relationship with the UK Government. He explained that this would not prevent the ultimate autonomous governance of full independence, but moving into that direction with a sense of being at the forefront of every decision.

• A call for the territories, moving to the next level, to be economically competitive by ensuring that they are economically resilient although their economic resilience is often challenged by external factors.

• A call for the territories, as they step onto the world stage to seek to have greater autonomy; to be the captains of their ship and masters of their own destiny; and to foster meaningful relationships and partnerships and the formation of formidable unions, where necessary, in the interest of remaining relevant and competitive, with added value and the bargaining power of unity.

• A call for the territories to have a seat at many of the discussion tables, including CARICOM, and to champion their cause there. He said the CARICOM Secretariat would be invited to the territories’ next Pre-Joint Ministerial Council Meeting in the TCI in July to chart a way forward as to how CARICOM and independent member states could be greater advocates for the Overseas Territories at the United Nations, and at other supranational organisations where the OTs do not have a seat or a voice.

• A call for the territories to meet to discuss how they could cultivate their interdependencies to their advantage in terms of food security, the environment; being more innovative; implementing new technologies and co-financing projects.

• A call for the territories, with their unique challenges, to meet to discuss various financial matters affecting them in relation to the G20 countries and the International Community. He noted that if the territories are to step onto the world stage, in a manner befitting nations, they must develop their own solutions to the financial challenges that confront them.

It concluding his lecture the Premier of the TCI said: “My friends, I have laid out a robust agenda and I have done so with the example of Anguilla in mind. Anguilla Day marks not merely an historical event of political upheaval. It marks the date of a people’s demand for their own autonomy and self-determination, seeking to rise or fall on their own talents…If we are to deal with these challenges in a manner proper to our hopes and dreams, then the spirit and actions of Walter G. Hodge cannot be far from our motives or our methods.”

The lecture was sponsored by the Anguilla Security Board and the Anguilla Community College. Among other things, the Director of Social Security, Mr. Timothy Hodge, gave a biography of his father, the late Mr. Walter Hodge; and Professor Delroy Louden, President of the Community College, spoke at length with respect to the importance and benefits of social security.

16 June 2016

Tales of Decolonization #11: To Militarize? Or to Decolonize?

NO REST FOR THE AWAKE - MINAGAHET CHAMORRO


NO REST FOR THE AWAKE

On August 28, 2015 the Department of Defense signed the Record of Decision (ROD) for their proposed military buildup to Guam. The military buildup and its impact on Guam has long been a topic of public debate. What has often been lost in the discussion of socioeconomic and environmental impacts is what effect a military increase of this magnitude may have on the Chamorro quest for self-determination and the decolonization of Guam. 

Since 2011 I have been a member of the Commission on Decolonization, and although many people might think of issues of self-determination and military increases as being separate, we should think of them as being more closely connected. The overall mission of the Commission on Decolonization is to educate the island community on issues of political status, in particular related to the holding of a political status plebiscite in which those who are legally qualified will vote on one of three future political statuses for Guam (integration, free association or independence). But how does our value as a base affect the willingness or unwillingness of our colonizer to support us in our decolonization? 

The position of the United Nations on this issue has always been clear, but is scarcely reported locally. In its resolutions, military increases or strategic military importance should not be considered as reason to not decolonize territories, but this is generally used as an excuse to delay or deny action. We can find this point made in their numerous resolutions on the Question of Guam, such as this one from 1984:


The General Assembly of the United Nations “Reaffirms its strong conviction that the presence of military bases and installations in the Territory [of Guam] could constitute a major obstacle to the implementation of the Declaration and that it is the responsibility of the administering Power to ensure that the existence of such bases and installations does not hinder the population of the Territory from exercising its right to self- determination and independence in conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

UN Resolution 1514 (X/V) in 1960 called upon all colonial powers to assist their colonial possessions in moving towards decolonization. It does not mention specifically military bases or military training. But by 1964 the United Nations had begun to notice that in non-self-governing territories like Guam, the colonial power’s military controlled a great deal of resources and had a great deal of sway over the destiny of the colonies. Since 1965 the United Nations has approved numerous resolutions calling upon all colonial powers (including the United States) to withdraw their military bases as they represent serious obstacles to the exercising of self-determination by colonized peoples.

Bases help to enable to colonial power to see an island like Guam, not as a place in need of decolonization and redress, but as a strategically valuable piece of real estate, one necessary for the projection of military force and the maintaining of its geopolitical interests. Military facilities help colonial powers to de-emphasize the inalienable human rights of colonized peoples and instead focus on the instrumentality and necessity of controlling their lands. The expansion of bases and the establishing of new training areas as outlined in the ROD is precisely the type of increased military presence the United Nations has long cautioned against. The United Nations has also cautioned countries like the United States from using their colonies in offensive wars or actions against other nations as this could potentially make enemies on behalf of the colony when it achieves decolonization. To illustrate this point the more that Guam is used for American military saber rattling in the Asia-Pacific region, the more it becomes a target for enemies of the United States today and should it ever achieve another political status.

The Department of Defense is aware of this concern and has acknowledged the potential for their military buildup to affect certain Chamorro issues or concerns, such as decolonization in their military buildup environmental impact studies. But as with most concerns related to the United Nations and decolonization they have chosen to wash their hands of this and argue they have no responsibility or obligation in the matter.

For those who think these matters are separate or that one doesn’t affect the other, that simply isn’t true. Our strategic military value to the United States has long affected what we can and cannot get from the United States. For decades the members of the Trust Territory of Micronesia negotiated with the United States, a process that led to the formation of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and three nation-states that have seats at the United Nations: the Republic of Belau (Palau), the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. The United States did not allow Guam to participate in similar negotiations as its strategic value to the United States as a base, has consistently led to a denial of this basic human right.


Global decolonisation expert provides recommendations to 2016 United Nations Seminar in Managua, Nicaragua

Summary of Recommendations

Carlyle Corbin
International Advisor on Governance




- The international community should seek to enable the peoples of the Non Self-Governing Territories (NSGTs) to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination, which is a fundamental human right, and to decide their future political status with complete knowledge and awareness of the full range of legitimate political status options available to them, including independence. In that context, particular emphasis should be placed on the dissemination of information to the NSGTs on the functioning of contemporary models of full political equality, 

- The Electoral Affairs Division of the Department of Political Affairs, in consultation with the Special Committee and other relevant United Nations bodies, the territorial governments, and indigenous experts, should develop adequate and unbiased political education programmes for the NSGTs in order to heighten the awareness among the people of the territories of their inalienable right to self-determination and independence in conformity with the legitimate political status options consistent with relevant resolutions of the United Nations. In this connection, these programmes should precede a genuine act of self-determination which should be exercised in each territory, conducted by or under observation of the United Nations not later than 31 December 2020, in accordance with principles contained in the Decolonisation Declaration and all relevant resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly including the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, 

- The United Nations Department of Public Information should actively disseminate information to the territories on the international decolonisation process in conformity with relevant political education programmes developed by the United Nations (earlier cited), pursuant to General Assembly decolonisation resolutions; and should utilise civil society institutions, United Nations Information Centres, tertiary institutions in the territories, media outlets, government information services, as well as indigenous decolonisation experts from the NSGTs, in this dissemination process, 

- The Special Committee should operationalise collaboration with the specialised agencies and other organisations of the United Nations (U.N.); and with the relevant human rights mechanisms such as the Human Rights Council, the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, et al; to implement those provisions of the Plan of Implementation of the Decolonisation Mandate (A/60/853–E/2006/75) which couple the actions called for in decolonisation resolutions with the relevant implementing bodies of the U.N. system in compliance with General Assembly and Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) mandates on assistance to the non self-governing territories. 

- The Special Committee should implement the relevant provision of the Plan of Implementation of the Decolonisation Mandate, consistent with the special mechanisms employed by the Human Rights Council, through the appointment of an Independent Expert/Special Rapporteur specific to the small island territories not under sovereignty dispute, for the period remaining in the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (IDEC) in order to carry out the unimplemented actions contained in the plan of action of the first, second and third IDECs, and the Plan of Implementation of the Decolonisation Mandate, in particular: 

       1) Independent analyses on the progress and extent of the achievement towards self-government in each of the small island non self-governing territories (NSGTs), 

        2) An analysis on the implementation of the decolonisation resolutions since the first International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism to identify obstacles to their fulfillment, 

        3) Periodic briefings through an interactive format for the member States of the Special Committee and other interested delegations on developments in the NSGTs affecting their self-determination process. 

- The Special Committee should commission independent self-government assessments of each of the small island territories not subject to sovereignty dispute, in the Caribbean and Pacific regions, through the use of the diagnostic tool of Self-Governance Indicators (SGIs) to identify the self-governance deficiencies in the existing colonial arrangements, and to make appropriate recommendations to bring the territories to a full measure of self-government, 

- The Special Committee should develop formal collaboration with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in order to conduct analyses on the economic and social situation of the small island NSGTs which are associate members of these two regional economic commissions. 

- The Special Committee should modify its constructive ten point programme of work on a case by case basis for each small island NSGT by utilising the independent analyses of each territory (earlier cited) as the operative document for initiation of substantive discussions with the representatives of the territories, and those administering Powers which choose to engage the process leading to a legitimate act of self-determination, 

- The Independent Expert/Special Rapporteur should visit each of the small island Non Self-Governing Territories as early as possible before the end of the Decade, and report thereon to the Special Committee and the Fourth Committee on the situation in the territory, 

- The Secretary-General should ensure that the budget submitted for consideration by member States to fund the U.N. offices servicing the decolonisation agenda items, including the biennial programme plans and strategic frameworks, provide the necessary resources to implement the actions called for in decolonisation resolutions, the plan of action of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, and other relevant decisions.