Statement by Yuri Gala López, Deputy Permanent Representative at the  Permanent Mission of Cuba to  the United Nations to the Special Committee on Decolonization to present the draft resolution on the question of Puerto Rico (A/AC./2023/L.)

New York, June 22nd, 2023.

Ms. President,

Our delegation has the honor to submit to the Special Committee on Decolonization, on behalf of Cuba, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, the Republic of Nicaragua, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Syrian Arab Republic, and the Russian Federation, the draft resolution on the Question of Puerto Rico, contained in the document A/AC./2023/L.

We welcome a significant number of Puerto Rican petitioners, whose contributions are essential to the work of this Committee.

The interventions of the different political and social forces of that nation converge in the request to put an end to the colonial status of Puerto Rico. We have witnessed the urgent appeal to the international community to act in favor of the will of the Puerto Rican people.

For Cuba, the presentation of the current draft resolution is a sign of our historical commitment to the brotherly people of Puerto Rico and to its patriots, who for several centuries have given moving examples in the struggle for self-determination and independence.

Ms. President,

The draft resolution we present today reiterates that Puerto Rico is a Latin American and Caribbean nation, with its own unmistakable national identity, which Puerto Ricans have been able to defend despite the long process of colonization to which they have been subjected.

The text recognizes that, in the context of the significant worsening of the economic and fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico, the current status prevents the Puerto Rican people from making sovereign decisions to meet their needs and define their future, especially to address the serious economic and social problems affecting them.

The draft includes concerns regarding the imposition on Puerto Rico by the United States Congress of a Fiscal Control Board that, invoking the plenary powers of Congress under the Territorial Clause of its Constitution, exercises control powers over the elected officials and legislators of the government of Puerto Rico in all matters relating to fiscal, economic and budgetary matters, as well as all matters concerning the restructuring of Puerto Rico’s public debt.

It also reiterates its concern about the actions carried out against Puerto Rican independence supporters, including repression and intimidation known from documents declassified by U.S. federal agencies.

The text recognizes the statements of the Summits of CELAC, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA), as well as other forums.

I wish to take this opportunity to convey our appreciation to Ambassador Bassam Sabbagh, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic and Rapporteur of the Committee, and to the Secretariat for the comprehensive, detailed and useful report submitted on the issue of Puerto Rico, which is noted with satisfaction in the draft resolution.

We are convinced that the approval of the text, with the support of all the members of the Committee, at this important juncture for the cause of decolonization, is the most effective contribution that this body can make to the just cause of the people of Puerto Rico in their unwavering struggle for their right to self-determination.

Thank you