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Congress’s Financial Control Board for Puerto Rico Violates UN Resolutions

June 21, 2016 (EIRNS)—In a strongly-worded speech before the UN Decolonization Committee June 20, Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla charged that H.R. 5278, which includes the creation of a financial control board to supervise the island’s finances (to the exclusion of local legislators and the Governor), is a violation of the terms of the 1953 UN Resolution 748 stating that Puerto Rico enjoys the "attributes of political sovereignty which clearly identify the status of self-government attained by the people of Puerto Rico as an autonomous political entity."

Garcia pointed out that the U.S. delegate to the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Francis P. Bolton, stated at that time, that Puerto Rico would, from then on, be governed "by a bilateral pact whose terms can only be altered by mutual consent." The control board, Garcia emphasized, violates that principle,

"usurps the powers the people of Puerto Rico have delegated to the Governor and Legislative Assembly," and eliminates political sovereignty.

The Governor explained that he reluctantly accepted H.R. 5278, which must be passed in the Senate, because it provides a mechanism for debt restructuring, given the island’s horrific humanitarian crisis; but the control board is a threat to Puerto Rico’s democracy, he added. The people of Puerto Rico demand that the terms of Resolution 748 be respected, "and that no backtracking be accepted."

In response to the Governor’s request that the Decolonization Committee take Puerto Rico’s case to the UNGA and the Human Rights Committee, the Committee voted up a resolution by consensus, proposed by Cuba, to do exactly that, urging the UNGA to make a determination on this issue "as soon as possible." The Committee has voted the same way for the past 16 years, although this year, several of the committee’s Ibero-American members stated their concern about the control board and the humanitarian crisis. Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Syria, Ecuador, and Russia cosponsored the resolution.

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