Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 17:34:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mov.Cubano por la Paz)
International meeting of solidarity with the Puerto Rican political prisoners
Havana, Cuba, November 18-20, 1996
Ever since its inception thirty years ago. The Organization of Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America (OSPAAAL), has featured a continued solidarity with the struggle and just demands of people throughout the world.
The legitimate and long-lasting struggle against first Spanish and then US colonial oppression waged by Puerto Rico in the defence of its full right to independence, as well as the demands for freedom to its patriots in prision for their commitment to this emancipating endeavor, have been permanent banners of solidarity that OSPAAAL has waved since its founding in support of its Puerto Rican brothers and sisters.
The just solidarity generated by this case is summarized by Ch Guevara when he states: "...in spite of that powerful transgression of its will and historical destiny, the Puerto Rican people has preserved its culture, hispanic heritage and national sentiments which show an inexorable vocation for independence in the masses of that Latin American island."
It is outrageous that at the threshold of the 21st century, UN Resolution 1514 (XV) for the elimination of colonialism in all its phases and manifestation; the agreements of the Committee on the Decolonization of Puerto Rico and the declaration of support by various multilateral fora-including the Non-Aligned Movement and a large number of public opinion sectors and the international community - appear to be a dead letter for the US government, that has consistently opposed that Puerto Rico exercises its legitimate right to self-determination and independence.
Owing to these colonial ties, the Puerto Ricans have been subjected to: massive sterilization of women, forced transfer of its population, the plunder of its natural resources, global environmental poisoning, and the permanent attack to its language and culture, compulsory military draft of its nationals to take part in the US wars under the threat of imprisionment, the militarization of its country, and the use of its territory for imperialist adventures in the Caribbean and Latin America, and, finally, the persecusion, imprisionment, torture and assessination of those opposing the occupation regime of the US.
The persistence of colonialism in Puerto Rico is responsable for the series of inhuman and political imprisionment of some of its patriots: Pedro Albizu Campos' during the '30s, Lolita Lebr"n's, Rafael Cancel Miranda's and his comrades in 1950, and the fifteen prisoners during the '80s that are still in prision in the US, are examples of this dramatic history.
These fifteen Puerto Ricans have been in prision, in general terms, for more than fifteen years. Five women and ten men have been sentenced to disproportionate sentences which are much more severe than the standard ones imposed to rapists and drug-traffickers in the US. Their exile and geographical estrangement from their relatives and supporting groups constitute an additional punishment. Moreover, the jail conditions both infringe and violate their basic Human Rights, including body search, daily inspection of their body cavities and language and sleep sensorial deprivation.
The cruelty and arrogance of the intervening nation against the Puerto Rican prisoners have brought about an increasing outcry in favor of their release among Puerto Ricans, regardless of their party affiliations, and have grouped religious denominations - catholics and protestants, and different civic, cultural and social sectors.
It is a summons for world consciousness advocating Puerto Rico's right to independence, an appeal to every one who feels it is its duty to join with its personal commitment and experience to this just and humanitarian call for freedom for the Puerto Rican political prisoners. It is a reciprocal commitment for those who have suffered political imprisionment, a rostrum for all activists and defenders of Human Rights of the peoples of the world.