31 March 2016

Argentina Hails UN Extension of Its Continental Shelf

BUENOS AIRES – Argentine President Mauricio Macri hailed the decision by the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, which approved extending the limits of his country’s continental shelf.

“We are very happy with this favorable response from the United Nations and thankful to the Argentines who worked to obtain it,” the president said on his Facebook page.

“This extension of the limits of our country’s shelf allows us to defend the riches of our seas, which belong to each and every Argentine citizen,” he said.

For Macri, this is “good news for Argentine sovereignty” and will bring the South American country a series of benefits.

“The country will gain 1.7 million sq. kilometers (656,000 sq. miles) many meters (yards) deep and acknowledgment by the UN of the dispute existing over the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands,” he said, referring to the Falklands.

“The is a project that has been under consideration for almost two decades, the result of teamwork by specialists in different areas and different governments who continued with this claim throughout the years, in a true example of national policy,” he said.

The new limits were approved March 11 by the UN panel made up of 21 international experts.

The UN sees the Argentine matter as a test case, since it is the first time a country has used all available resources, from geological measurements to considerations of distances and depths, in order to demonstrate the limits of its territory.

The Falkland Islands were the object of a brief war in the early 1980s pitting Argentina against Britain.

Argentine troops invaded the South Atlantic archipelago on April 2, 1982, at the order of the military junta then in power in Buenos Aires.

Full-fledged fighting officially began on May 1, 1982, with the arrival of a British task force, and ended 45 days later with the surrender of the Argentines.

The conflict claimed nearly 1,000 lives – some 700 Argentines and 255 British soldiers and sailors.

Buenos Aires demands that Britain comply with a 1965 United Nations resolution describing London’s control of the Falklands – which dates from 1833 – as colonialism and calling on the parties to resolve the dispute through dialogue.

London has refused to discuss the question of sovereignty and says the Falklanders should decide their own future.


...and the U.K responds to the "rule of law")

Britain has rejected Argentine claims to the waters surrounding the Falkland Islands following a UN commission ruling that extended the South American nation’s maritime territory by 35 percent.
Downing Street dismissed the move as “not legally binding,” insisting the UN commission does not have jurisdiction over national sovereignty.
The government of the Falklands has expressed concern over the decision, while, shares in Rockhopper Exploration – an oil firm drilling near the islands – slumped following the announcement.
According to the UN, Argentine waters have expanded 1.7 million sq km to encompass the disputed Falklands, or, as they are known in Argentina, Islas Malvinas.

30 March 2016

Puerto Rico: Junta de Control Imperial ¿qué hacer?

Cinco procónsules determinarán el presupuesto, los planes fiscales, el manejo de las agencias y las corporaciones públicas, el sistema de permisos, las reglamentaciones ambientales, la reducción del salario mínimo, la privatización de la Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica y todo lo que caiga en su objetivo de garantizar el pago a los acreedores de la deuda de Puerto Rico. No hay ámbito o área de gestión pública que no escape a su intervención. Contarán además para su agenda nefasta con las recomendaciones del Informe Krueger, hecho a la medida para sus propósitos.

Como si se tratara de aumentar el desprecio y la venganza hacia los puertorriqueños, esta versión nueva de la Junta de Control Fiscal es peor que la presentada por el senador Orrin Hatch, muy lejos de las esperanzas fofas de los políticos coloniales que fantasearon con sus dotes persuasivos.


29 March 2016

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico’s education secretary has informed the U.S. Congress that his agency does not have the money needed to serve the basic needs of the island’s public schools.

In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan released Tuesday, Rafael Roman asked him to take measures toward finding a solution to Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt, which has spurred a “humanitarian crisis” among children on the island.

The secretary said the Puerto Rican government must use the little money it has available to pay down the debt, which leaves nothing for basic allocations like the amount budgeted for the Education Department.

There just isn’t enough money to meet the needs of the 379,000 public school students in Puerto Rico. Washington must act quickly to avoid some very predictable and irreparable damage, Roman said in the letter.

The official said that parents expect to find schools in top condition for educating their children, but due to his department’s lack of liquidity, the youngsters are paying the consequences of a do-nothing Congress.

Roman said the fiscal crisis and lack of liquidity endanger teachers’ wages and the payment of basic services for students like school buses, janitors and lunches.

He recalled that 58 percent of Puerto Rican children live below the poverty line, and that lunches served in public schools are often the only food that many students get to eat all day.

This is something that I as education secretary and all of us as U.S. citizens cannot allow, the education secretary said.

25 March 2016

Puerto Rico Says It’s Running Short of Money for Schools

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico’s education secretary has informed the U.S. Congress that his agency does not have the money needed to serve the basic needs of the island’s public schools.

In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan released Tuesday, Rafael Roman asked him to take measures toward finding a solution to Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt, which has spurred a “humanitarian crisis” among children on the island.

The secretary said the Puerto Rican government must use the little money it has available to pay down the debt, which leaves nothing for basic allocations like the amount budgeted for the Education Department.

There just isn’t enough money to meet the needs of the 379,000 public school students in Puerto Rico. Washington must act quickly to avoid some very predictable and irreparable damage, Roman said in the letter.

The official said that parents expect to find schools in top condition for educating their children, but due to his department’s lack of liquidity, the youngsters are paying the consequences of a do-nothing Congress.

Roman said the fiscal crisis and lack of liquidity endanger teachers’ wages and the payment of basic services for students like school buses, janitors and lunches.

He recalled that 58 percent of Puerto Rican children live below the poverty line, and that lunches served in public schools are often the only food that many students get to eat all day.

This is something that I as education secretary and all of us as U.S. citizens cannot allow, the education secretary said.

24 March 2016

Thousands Protest in East Timor over Maritime Boundary with Australia

DILI, Timor Leste – Thousands of people gathered outside the Australian embassy in Dili urging negotiations to settle the maritime boundary between Timor Leste and Australia, ABC news reported on Wednesday.

According to the Dili Weekly newspaper, Tuesday’s march drew about 10,000 people and was the first of a two-day protest over the boundary.

The protest organizers claimed the border was unfair and that Timor Leste had lost AU$6.6 billion ($5 billion) in oil and gas revenues to Australia.

The demonstration was scheduled to mark Australia’s decision to pull out of the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS.

Timor Leste Prime Minister Rui Araujo had earlier this year sought talks with Australian premier Malcolm Turnbull on resolving the boundary, which Turnbull turned down.

However, Australia’s federal opposition has pledged it would restart negotiations with Dili over the sea border if it were elected.

23 March 2016


IV CELAC Summit, held in the city of Quito
 on January 27th , 2016 



72. Reiterate the Latin American and Caribbean character of Puerto Rico and, in noting the resolutions on Puerto Rico adopted by the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization, reiterate that it is an issue of interest for CELAC. 

73. CELAC member countries pledge to continue working, within the framework of International Law, and in particular in Resolution 1514/(XV) of the United Nations General Assembly of December 14th, 1960, to ensure that the region of Latin America and the Caribbean be a territory free of colonialism and colonies. 

74. Entrust the CELAC Quartet, together with the participation of other Member States wishing to join this mandate, to submit proposals to advance as stated in paragraph 72 of this Declaration. 

75. Reiterate our firm regional support for the legitimate rights of the Argentine Republic in the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas, as well as the permanent interest that this dispute be solved by peaceful means and through negotiations, in accordance with the Resolution 31/49 of the United Nations General Assembly

22 March 2016

Japan demands Okinawa allow reclamation permit

National government orders Okinawa to reinstate permit, Okinawa to file objection with dispute committee

Ryukyu Shimpo

On March 8, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Keiichi Ishii sent Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga an official order to revoke his nullification of the Henoko land reclamation permit. The permit is needed to implement the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko. The order is expected to arrive in Okinawa by mail on March 8. The order holds that Governor Onaga’s nullification of the permit was unlawful, and demands that he revoke the nullification by March 15. The Okinawa prefectural government plans to reject the order, meaning that within seven days from the day after the order is received, the prefectural government will file an official objection to the order with the Committee for Settling National-Local Disputes. After the Committee reaches a verdict on the issue, the Japanese national government and the Okinawa prefectural government will likely face each other in another lawsuit.

The national government had previously brought a proxy execution lawsuit against Okinawa prefecture, hoping for a court ruling that would allow the national government to authorize the permit in place of the local governor. However, the two parties later accepted a settlement recommended by the court. While the agreed-upon settlement did encourage the national government to issue an order for Governor Onaga to revoke the nullification of the permit, it also stipulates that the government must engage in negotiation with Okinawa in an attempt to reach an “amicable solution.” In spite of this, plans for talks have yet to be made. By immediately issuing the order to Okinawa after the settlement was reached, without engaging in any negotiation, the government has shown that it places priority on carrying out the procedures that will lead to a new court verdict. It has become all the more clear that the government intends to push forward with the Henoko base construction.

According to the order issued by the government, Governor Onaga’s nullification of the permit constitutes “an act, as stipulated in Article 245.7.1 of the Local Autonomy Act, in which a prefectural government nullifies a legally prescribed transaction entrusted to it, which is recognized to be in violation of the law.” The order demands that Governor Onaga revoke the permit nullification.

Meanwhile, on March 7, the head of the Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) withdrew the formal objection and request for a stay of execution of the governor’s permit nullification that it had made to the national government. The ODB acted in the capacity of a private entity in making these demands, with the aim of temporarily voiding the governor’s permit nullification. The Okinawa prefectural government had filed a protest lawsuit objecting to the stay of execution, which was ordered by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in response to the ODB’s request. However, because the request was withdrawn, the stay of execution will be terminated, and as soon as Okinawa receives notice from the review agency of its termination, the Okinawa prefectural government will withdraw its protest lawsuit.

At a press meeting on the same day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga stated that it was natural for the government to issue the order based on the content of the settlement terms. He also said that the government wants to engage in talks with Okinawa soon, and that the two parties will discuss how to move forward with negotiations. Defense Minister Gen Nakatani plans to visit Okinawa later this month in order to try to gain acceptance of the relocation plan.

Upon receiving the national government’s order, the Okinawa prefectural government will discuss with its team of lawyers how to proceed. It will likely file a complaint with the Committee for Settling National-Local Disputes as early as next week.

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

Japan arrests U.S. soldier suspected of rape in Okinawa

Taino heritage legislation considered for US Virgin Islands

St. Croix Source

Bill May Commemorate Taino Heritage at Magens Bay and Salt River

21 March 2016

U.S. provides resources to Guam for self-determination process

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas

Interior Approves $1.5 Million in FY 2016 Funds for Guam

For Self-Determination Educational Outreach, Climate Change Projects, Public Safety, Emergency and Facility Assessments, Natural and Cultural Resource Preservation, and Leadership Building for Non-Governmental Organizations

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 14, 2016) – Today the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kia’aina approved $1.5 million in grant assistance for fiscal year 2016 to the Government of Guam and non-profit organizations from the Office of Insular Affairs’ (OIA) Technical Assistance Program and the Maintenance Assistance Program.

“This year’s funding reflects the priorities and issues of importance to the people of Guam including self-determination, public safety, climate change, natural and cultural resources, and capacity building for non-governmental organizations,” said Assistant Secretary Kia’aina.  “I am especially pleased with the leadership and collaborative working relationships among Governor Eddie Calvo, Guam Legislature Speaker Judith Won Pat, and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo on the advancement of a community educational outreach plan in preparation for a 2018 plebiscite on self-determination.”

The various Technical Assistance Program grants, including one Maintenance Assistance Program grant awarded for 2016 are as follow:

Guam Self-Determination Community Education Outreach Program – $300,000 to the Commission on Decolonization to implement a comprehensive community educational outreach program in preparation for a planned 2018 plebiscite.


Non-Self-Governing Territories

Western Sahara PDF documentSince 19632266,000586,000
Anguilla PDF documentSince 1946United Kingdom9615,700
Bermuda PDF documentSince 1946United Kingdom53.3561,777
British Virgin Islands PDF documentSince 1946United Kingdom15328,200
Cayman Islands PDF documentSince 1946United Kingdom26455,691
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)PDF documentSince 1946United Kingdom12,1732,500
Montserrat PDF documentSince 1946United Kingdom1035,000
Saint Helena PDF documentSince 1946United Kingdom3105,777
Turks and Caicos Islands PDF documentSince 1946United Kingdom948.231,458
United States Virgin IslandsPDF documentSince 1946United States352107,343
Gibraltar PDF documentSince 1946United Kingdom5.832,700
American Samoa PDF documentSince 1946United States20055,170
French Polynesia PDF document
1946-1947    and
since 2013
Guam PDF documentSince 1946United States540159,358
New Caledonia PDF document
1946-1947     and
since 1986
Pitcairn PDF documentSince 1946United Kingdom35.537
Tokelau PDF documentSince 1946New Zealand12.21,411
1. All data is from United Nations Secretariat 2015 Working Papers on NSGTs, and for Western Sahara, from UNdata (http://data.un.org), a database by the United Nations Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations.   
2. On 26 February 1976, Spain informed the Secretary-General that as of that date it had terminated its presence in the Territory of the Sahara and deemed it necessary to place on record that Spain considered itself thenceforth exempt from any responsibility of any international nature in connection with the administration of the Territory, in view of the cessation of its participation in the temporary administration established for the Territory. In 1990, the General Assembly reaffirmed that the question of Western Sahara was a question of decolonization which remained to be completed by the people of Western Sahara.

3. A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) (see ST/CS/SER.A/42).

20 March 2016

U.S. serviceman arrested over alleged rape in Okinawa, Japan

Shanghai Daily,上海日报

TOKYO, March 13 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. sailor was arrested by local police in Japan's southernmost prefecture of Okinawa on Sunday over alleged raping of a female traveler in her 40s, according to local report.
The U.S. Navy sailor, according to Japan's Kyodo News, was identified as Justin Castellanos, 24, a seaman at the U.S. Navy's Camp Schwab in northern part of the prefecture. The report said that the suspect denied the allegation.
The suspect and the victim, who traveled from Fukuoka Prefecture, were staying at the same hotel in Naha, capital city of Okinawa, and he allegedly took the woman into his room and committed the crime after finding she was sleeping in the corridor, Kyodo cited local police as reporting.
Crimes committed by U.S. servicemen such as a rape of an elementary schoolgirl in 1995 and trespass or drunk driving in recent years triggered local residents' aversion to U.S. servicemen stationed in the prefecture.
Okinawa accounts for less than 1 percent of Japan's total territories but hosts over 70 percent of U.S. bases in Japan.
The prefectural government and residents also called for the removal of U.S. airbases out of the prefecture due to safety concerns, triggering tensions between Okinawa and the Japanese and U.S. governments.

16 March 2016

CELAC Reiterates support for Argentine sovereignty over Malvinas

Special Declaration on the question of the Malvinas Islands

The Heads of State and Government of Latin America and the Caribbean, gathered in Quito, Ecuador, on the occasion of the fourth Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), on 27 January 2016,

1. Reiterate their strongest support for the legitimate rights of the Argentine Republic in the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas, as well as the abiding interest of the countries of the region in the resumption of negotiations between the Governments of the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in order to find, as soon as possible, a peaceful and definitive solution to the dispute, pursuant to United Nations General Assembly resolution 2065 (XX) and other relevant resolutions of that body and of the Organization of American States, as expressed by them in the previous declarations of the Rio Group and the Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development, in particular the Declaration of the Latin American and Caribbean Unity Summit, held in Riviera Maya, Mexico, on 23 February 2010, which are part of the historical heritage of CELAC;

2. In this context, the Heads of State and Government of CELAC welcome the new initiative to request the Secretary-General of the United Nations to renew his efforts to carry out the mission of good offices entrusted to him by the General Assembly through successive resolutions, with a view to achieving the resumption of negotiations aimed at finding, as soon as possible, a peaceful solution to the above-mentioned dispute, and to inform them of the progress made in the fulfilment of that mission;

3. Furthermore, they reiterate the importance of observing United Nations General Assembly resolution 31/49, which calls upon the two parties to refrain from taking decisions that would imply introducing unilateral modifications in the situation while the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas are going through the process recommended by the General Assembly;

4. They highlight the continuous constructive attitude and willingness of the Argentine Government to reach, by means of negotiations, a peaceful and definitive solution to this anachronistic colonial situation on the soil of the Americas.

Quito, 27 January 2016

15 March 2016

Regional Integration and Self-Determination

Imi Pono

Speech delivered to the World Bank, Fragility Forum,”The Pacific Way? Mobilizing SDGs for Peace and Security”

March 3, 2016, Washington, D.C., by invitation of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat. Speakers included: Sarah Mecartney, Pacifc Urban Specialist; Ashwin Raj, Governance, Democracy and Human Rights Specialist; Jane Sansbury, Country Program Coordinator, the World Bank; and Arnie Saiki, Coordinator, Moana Nui Alliance.

Moderated by: Timothy Bryar, Conflict Prevention Advisor, Pacific Island Forum Secretariat.

I’m going to be speaking about regional integration and self-determination in the Pacific Island region in the context of both States and Territories. It may sound strange to speak about a kind of self-determination in this context, because it usually just applies to territories that are still bound by the tethers of Administering Powers. But after yesterday’s conference on the changing landscape of negotiation and dialogue—a discussion that looked at Boko Haram and ISIS as being examples of the changing state and strategic landscape, I’m sure that what I’ll be speaking about will fit right in.


14 March 2016

Reaction to Dutch settlers in the Caribbean dependencies assessed

ABC-islands not fond of European Dutch

The Newspaper of Country St. Maarten

LEIDEN – European Dutch and foreigners are not always that welcome in Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. This appears from new data presented by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean studies (KITLV), John Samson reports on Caribisch Netwerk.

The researchers asked inhabitants of the Caribbean parts of the kingdom their opinion about the presence of immigrants and tourists. In Curacao, 54 percent says that there are too many European Dutch living on the island and in Aruba that percentage is 42 percent. In Bonaire the sentiment is the most negative: 73 percent. According to KITLV, this has mainly to do with the new constitutional structure that came into being on 10-10-10.

When it is specifically about Dutch tourists, the islanders are not that positive either. In Bonaire and Curacao, 45 percent says that there are too many tourists arriving from the Netherlands. According to lead researcher Wouter Veenendaal there are a remarkable number of complaints about the way Dutch tourists behave on the islands. In Aruba on the other hand, 58 percent is positive about the Dutch tourists that come to the island.

West Papuans seek African support on quest for self-determination

The people of West Papua are sending desperate calls on government officials and leaders of Ghana to assist them in their bid to join the United Nations.

Nobel peace prize nominee and Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Chief Benny Wenda joined Ghanaians to mark Ghana's 59th independence anniversary on 6th March, 2016. 

During his stay, he interacted with prominent people in the country, including Reverend Dr Fred Deegbe, former head of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), and former presidents Kufuor and Rawlings.

Reverend Deegbe prayed for the people of West Papua and Chief Benny Wenda for his visit to Ghana. "God made people and wants people everywhere to be free". He also promised to raise the issue of West Papua at an upcoming church meetings in the USA.

Rev Deegbe who is a Senior Pastor at the Calvary Baptist Church served the CCG as General Secretary from July 2003 until April 2013. 

In a meeting with former President John Agyekum Kufuor and former AU Chair, the former president pledged support for the liberation of the people of West Papua. "It is important that humanity should be central to everything. As a human being you are entitled to humanity. 

In due course humanity will prevail and you will be free." "The whole world will support you. Not even Indonesia can stop it" "Ghana was once a colony for 100 years, Nkrumah was our liberator, he was a pan africanist and you see yourselves as Africans. What you are doing is the right way. 

The photos of your people bear witness to a true leader of your people. Some of our paramount chiefs wear feathers. The same but eagle feathers. Despite the distances between our places we are the same. Clearly you are not Indonesian."

Former President Jerry John Rawlings has also pledged his support to fight for the independence of the West Papuans. He said "we are honoured to fight for your people. We share a similar history."

"It is no surprise to me that you had support from Ghana at the UN in 1969 and that we accepted West Papuan refugees in the 1980's. West Africa has seen slavery, colonial struggles and independence"

"Chief you find yourself in a very painful situation. I suggest that you contact and lobby every congressman, senator and parliamentarian. The European Commission, the AU and all organisations. Keep knocking and knock again, don't let them sleep"

"We will contribute by reminding them who is still colonised"

"Keep fighting"

Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, former President of Ghana made the statements when he met with Chief Benny Wenda, spokesman for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) and Nobel Peace prize nominee.

All across Africa and around the world people are finding out about Indonesia's Genocide and illegal colonisation of West Papua. West Papua has a legal right to self determination, de colonisation and independence. 

West Papua is the western half of the Melanesian island of New Guinea, in the Pacific Ocean, bordering the independent nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG). It lies just 200km north of Australia and the indigenous Melanesian people have lived there for over 40,000 years. 

West Papua was colonised by the Dutch in 1898 and always administered as “Dutch New Guinea” separate from their “Dutch East Indies” which is now Indonesia. With the promise of independence on 1st December 1970 and on 1st December 1961, the West Papuan national flag was raised with the beginnings of a democratically elected government formed, announcing a 9 year period of peaceful transition towards independence. 

Politics before Papuans But within months the dream was dead. The newly independent state of Indonesia wanted access to West Papua's vast wealth and the military promptly invaded West Papua. Conflict broke out between the Netherlands, Indonesia and the indigenous population regarding control of the territory.

Due to US' fear that failing to appease Indonesia could result in the spread of South East Asian communism, the US government intervened and engineered an agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands, which in 1962 gave control of West Papua to the United Nations and one year later transferred control to Indonesia. 

The Papuans were never consulted and after a sham referendum in 1969 with 1026 people handpicked Papuans being forced to vote for Indonesian sovereignty, West Papua officially became part of Indonesia. 

The military occupation and secret genocide The West Papuan people never accepted Indonesia in their country and ever since 1963, have resisted Indonesian rule, first with bows and arrows and what little guns they could and then with peaceful civil resistance.

The people of West Papua have regularly organise mass protests for self determination and independence and continue to appeal to the international community from speaking out through media to diplomatic pleas by exiled Papuans.

Through a vast wealth of natural resources, like the largest goldmine on Earth (Grasberg), West Papua has become Indonesia’s largest GDP contributor, and with the prospect of an independent West Papua looking with international support, Indonesia does not want Papuans telling the outside world the truth.

Not only has the Indonesian government banned all foreign journalists and human rights groups from West Papua but the Indonesian military and police also systematically target any West Papuans campaigning for independence and brands them as “separatists” and “terrorists”.

13 March 2016

Indonesian President Reiterates Support for Palestinian Independence

Indonesian President Reiterates Support for Palestinian Independence

JAKARTA – As the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit got underway in Jakarta on Monday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The Indonesian leader said in his opening remarks that international patience with the Israeli occupation has “long run out.”

Delegates from 49 of the 57 OIC member countries are attending the summit, which was organized at the request of the Palestinian Authority.

A handful of countries have sent heads of state, while most are represented by foreign ministers or other officials.

The two-day summit will discuss the deteriorating situation in Palestinian territories. A resolution is also expected to be passed reaffirming the group’s support for an independent Palestine.

“Indonesia is consistent in voicing the rights of the peoples of Palestine, including by the establishment of an independent, democratic and viable state of Palestine,” Widodo said in a statement Sunday, as reported by the Jakarta Globe.

12 March 2016

Jones Act application a major cause of Puerto Rico economic crisis?

by Salim Furth, 

Puerto Rican legislators and lobbyists have flooded Capitol Hill this year asking Congress to intervene on the debt-ridden island’s behalf. Sadly, the bailouts and bankruptcy law changes that Puerto Rico’s lobbyists seek would benefit Puerto Rico’s government without creating jobs or wage growth for most Puerto Ricans.

Although most congressmen were not elected with Puerto Rico in mind, they were sent to Washington to tame the deficit, to enable job creation, and to protect prosperity. Addressing federal policies that have held Puerto Rico’s economy back will help Congress meet those priorities.

If Puerto Rico does not find a path to prosperity, more Puerto Ricans will give up looking for work and accept welfare or disability benefits, adding to the federal deficit. And without job opportunities at home, more will move to the mainland to look for work. In the hardest-hit congressional districts, where residents have struggled to find work since the end of the recession, adding new job-seekers could extend the slow recovery.

In some ways, Puerto Rico is well integrated into the U.S. economy, buying goods and services from producers all around the U.S. But the maritime Jones Act has severed Puerto Rico from U.S. energy markets. While Puerto Rico is allowed to import natural gas, coal, and oil from Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, and Venezuela, for example, the Jones Act—which requires that all goods shipped between two U.S. locations be transported on a U.S-built, U.S.-flagged, and 75 percent U.S.-crewed ship—makes imports from Pennsylvania, Wyoming, or Texas untenable. In fact, no tanker routinely supplies Puerto Rico with U.S. energy.

Heritage Foundation research found that job-creating manufacturing has proven untenable in Puerto Rico, due to artificially high prices of energy, shipping, and labor. Without federal legislation that allows those prices to fall to market-determined levels, Puerto Rico will not find its way to robust, job-creating growth.

Bailouts, bankruptcy, and even beneficial fiscal reforms are not going to overcome the basic math: Why do business in Puerto Rico when the costs are higher than anywhere else?

Exempting Puerto Rico from the Jones Act—a privilege already granted to the U.S. Virgin Islands—is the single most important step Congress can take toward enabling economic growth in Puerto Rico. With the Jones Act waived, Puerto Rico’s power companies would be able to replace foreign-sourced oil with cheaper, cleaner, U.S.-sourced natural gas.

Manufacturers in Puerto Rico would no longer be at a cost disadvantage relative to Asia and other Latin American countries when shipping goods to the U.S. And the cost of living in Puerto Rico would fall, allowing residents to stretch their wages further.

Another valuable policy reform would be for Congress to give Puerto Rico the authority to set its own minimum wage. Median wages in Puerto Rico are much lower than in any mainland state, but Puerto Rican employers must pay $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum. As a result, fewer jobs are available, and many Puerto Ricans work off the books for low wages, and without legal protections, and without earning a stake in Social Security and Medicare benefits.

A lower minimum wage, set by Puerto Rico’s own government, would bring some of those workers out of the shadows, enable economic growth, broaden the tax base, and decrease net migration to the mainland.

Congress cannot afford to ignore U.S. citizens whose ability to make a living has been stifled by the Jones Act and a one-size-fits-all minimum wage. The fiscal crisis Puerto Rico faces is really an economic crisis, and a narrow focus on the Commonwealth’s deficits and debt will not overcome the policy barriers to growth that federal policy has erected.

BREXIT THREAT: Spain will ‘take control' of Gibraltar as soon as Britain leaves EU’


SPANISH officials have sent a chilling warning to Britain after claiming they will take Gibraltar the day after Britain potentially exits the European Union.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has made clear that the UKGovernment will meet its constitutional commitments to the people of Gibraltar and will not compromise on sovereignty.

“Our differences with Spain on Gibraltar will be resolved by political means through our relationship as EU partners, not through disproportionate measures such as the border delays we have seen over the past week.
"We have many common interests with Spain and wish to continue to have a strong relationship at every level with the Government of Spain.”


11 March 2016

How the United States will STEAL Puerto Rico…a second time

Escrito por Nelson A. Denis

The United States is preparing to rule over Puerto Rico through a “Financial Control Board.” U.S. Congressman Jeffrey D. Duncan – Chairman of the House Committee on the Western Hemisphere – is demanding this Financial Control Board right now, immediately, “for the good of the Puerto Rican people.”

Implicit in Duncan’s demand is the unspoken attitude that Puerto Ricans are unfit to manage their own economy, or their own government. The demand also indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between Puerto Rico and the U.S.

Let’s try to correct that.

The U.S. “liberated” Puerto Rico from Spain in 1898. Later that year, Hurricane San Ciriaco demolished thousands of the island’s farms and almost the entire year’s coffee crop. Of fifty million pounds, only five million were rescued.

American hurricane relief was strange. The U.S. government sent no money. Instead, the following year it outlawed all Puerto Rican currency and announced the island’s peso, whose international value was equal to the U.S. dollar, to be worth only sixty American cents. Every Puerto Rican lost 40% of their money overnight.

In 1901, the U.S. passed the Hollander Act, which imposed new taxes on every farmer in Puerto Rico.

With higher taxes, crippled farms, and 40% less cash, the farmers had to seek loans from U.S. banks. But with no usury law restrictions, interest rates were so high that within ten years, the farmers defaulted on their loans and the banks foreclosed on their farms.

The banks aggregated all these farms, and turned a diversified island harvest (coffee, tobacco, sugar, and fruit) into a one-crop, cash-cow economy.


10 March 2016

Bonaire activist wants follow-up to Bonaire referendum rejecting 'partial integration (Papiamentu)

Special to Overseas Territories Review

Address of James Finies Nos Ke Boneiru Bek

Bon nochi na : sr Gezaghebber i griffier, miembronan di konseho, deputadonan, i tur presente i na esnan ku ta sigui e reunion aki via di radio o televishon

Awe a bira un dia historiko ku ratifikashon di e resultado di e referendum di 18 desember 2015. Mi ta korda den prome karta ku Hulanda a kontestami na komienso di e lucha aki, nan a skirbi “ku ta stap voor stap nan ta traha”, awel awe nos, Boneiru, tambe a dal un stap mas den e bon direkshon. Ku ta parse chiki i simpel pero ku lo por ta e diferensia den e proseso pa rekobra nos derechonan i felisidat komo pueblo Boneriano bek. 

Pesey nos ta felisita i gradisi nos representashon di pueblo i nos gobiernu ku awe di berdat ta uni bek ku e pueblo i ofisialmente ta ratifika i rekonose i respeta e bos di pueblo.  Boso lo rekonose i respeta i seja 18 desember komo e dia ku e pueblo masalmente a lanta i eksigi un kambio, i a bai urna i a defende su mes ku su uniko arma siviko, sivilisa, i demokratiko ku ta e referendum i a disidi ku 5040 voto No, ku e No ke i No por sigui mas den e situashon ku e la bin ta biba pa 5 anja largu desde 10-10-10. Kaminda ku a bin sistematikamente ta kitando tiki tiki su derechonan i su libertatnan i a rebiba i eksperesia di nobo e dominio i opreshon di wordu goberna pa un gobiernu di un otro un pueblo. 

E mesun pueblo ku a kolonisa nos pa mas ku 300 anja a hanja e oportunidat pa bolbe hasie di nobo,naturalmente den un forma moderno.  Ami sa ku nos no gusta tende di terminonan manera kolonial, ke tene esaki taboe bao di e pueblo, pero despues di 10-10-10 nos ta den un epoka real di neokolonisashon Hulandes, i esaki no ta emoshonal. Neokolonisashon ta nifika, Hulanda ku tin e poder major ta usa manehonan ekonomiko i politiko pa indirektamente i den nos kaso asta direktamente pa influensia un otro pueblo, pues nos pueblo Boneriano. 

Ta esey ta e resultado di 10-10-10 i ta esey nos a eksperensia i ta bibando desde 10-10-10.
Nos ta na altura ku e proseso di kambio aki, ku e pueblo Boneriano sin ningun duda pa interpretashon a demanda e kambio aki, lo no ta fasil, pasobra nos counter-partner Hulanda tin demasiado medionan di poder, demokratiko, ekonomiko, finiansiero, administrativo, edukativo i legal nan su bentaha pa e logra lokual ku Hulanda ke i nos alkontrario a perde kasimente tur.  

Pero awor ku e deseo i desishon i mandato di e pueblo nos ta den posibilidat pa kambia e posishon aki, pueblo a papia i mester respeta mandato i bos di pueblo. Hulanda sigur lo bai na respeta esaki, pasobra Hulanda no por bisa o para riba mas ku “ta boso mes skohe” i “ta boso mes gobiernunan di diferente konstelashon no kier kambia e rumbu aki” 

Pa nos komo Boneiru logra mas i pa nos derechonan wordu respeta nos mester di tur  judansa posibel den e proseso i trajekto aki. Ku esaki nos kier ta spesifiko ku pa logra mas ku Hulanda nos mester di eksplora e posibilidat di involvi instansianan pafor di Boneiru i forma aliansa formal i informal ku otronan den situashon semejante ku nos riba diferente nivel. Si komprende e manera pa konkista i domina un pueblo ta di dividie i esey esnan ku no kier e pueblo aki bon a hasi i lo sigui hasi, dividi nos, i esey nos a bibe pa anjos i a trese nos den e situashon aktual, i nos a sinja di esaki i mira nos a sa di para riba politika i a uni i awe e reunion aki ta resultado di e union aki. 

E tema referendum i derecho di pueblo ta para riba politika. No tin un Boneiru kolo berde, ni kora, ni blou, ni tur e otro kolonan, pero ta un Boneiru nos tin. Pesey por ehempel nos lo mester hasi esfuerso pa uni ku Sint Eustatius ku ta den mesun lucha ku nos, tambe buska aserkamentu ku nos otro rumannan den Reino, tambe riba nivel internashonal, pues varios kaminda ku por juda nos kausa Boneriano.

Den e parti aki nos di Nos Ke Boneiru Bek, nos kier juda un tiki mas, pa juda ku e voto No di e pueblo lo hanja mas forsa pa trese e kambionan nesesario, i ku boso bendishon, ku por ta formal o no-formal, nos kier tuma e inisiativa pa entre otro juda buska posibilidatnan pa reforsa e kausa Boneriano. Un ehempel ta e desishon ku konseho insular a tuma kaba na 2014 i a manda karta pa Hulanda ku e petishon aki, pa re-enskribi nos komo teritorio-sin-propio-gobernashon riba lista di Nashonan Uni i nos ke tuma inisiativa pa eksplora esaki. Den e kaso aki NKBB komo un organisashon independiente, gobiernu lo no ta responsabel pa nos akshonan i ta safe i si nan ta na agrado o ta juda, gobiernu por use sea formal o no-formal, ofisial o no-ofisial pasobra e lo benefisio nos tur. I si no ta e kaso no tin ningun responsabilidat di parti gobiernu mara na esaki.

 Ku otro palabra gobiernu i nos representante nan di pueblo lo tin e ultimo palabra.  I nos ta di opinion ku esaki lo promove i sigui engrandese e union ku ta e kaminda pa nos eksito pasobra nos tur lo sigui lucha i trahando i aspirando lo mehor pa e pueblo Boneriano. 

Si nos logra hanja e aliansa o koperashon i nos kaso jega na e nivel ey, sigur lo juda nos den nos posishon ante Hulanda, pueblo Boneriano a vota na nivel di pueblo, “no”, pueblo no a skohe pa esaki, i awor a skohe i eksigi un kambio. I ku respaldo na e nivel ey, nos lo por tin mas posibilidatnan nobo. Hulanda lo sa di respeta nos union i e akuerdonan di e komunidat internashonal pasobra ta e mes a bai di akuerdo ku esaki nan.                                                    

Por ultimo nos ta di opinion ku nos tin e derechonan aki kaba, ta buska nos tin ku buska pa realisa esakinan, di un manera o otro. Pueblo Boneriano no ta dividi mas, nos a uni, esey a sosode 18 desember i awe boso ta ratifika i rekonose i duna respet na esaki i nos por sigui padilanti huntu, nos tur uni ku e mesun meta, pa realisa nos derechonan ku mester soru pa trese bek bienestar i felisidat pa e pueblo Boneriano.

Danki i bon nochi.

James Finies, Nos Ke Boneiru Bek.