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20 June 2016

Mr. Chairman and Members of the UN Decolonization Committee:

My name is Jose Nieves Seise and I am the president of the Reunification of
Puerto Rico with Spain Movement (Movimiento de Reunificación de Puerto
Rico con España in spanish), also speaking today on behalf of the Insular
Committee and all the members of the reunification movement.

The Reunification of Puerto Rico with Spain Movement is a political and civic
movement that favors the reunification of the island with its motherland
Spain. We are a new movement in the policial landscape of the island that
seeks to rescue the historical memory of Puerto Rico. We are claiming the
natural right that we have to exist as one of the historical nationalities of the
Spanish nation-state. A historical nationality of Spain is what we were before
the foreign invasion, what we are today and what we will continue to be.
The island of Puerto Rico was discovered in the year 1493 and was conquered
in 1508 by the Kingdom of Spain. This is the main event that gave birth to
Puerto Rico, it was not before that event or after the foreign invasion of 1898.
We are Puerto Ricans because we are the sons and daughters of our
motherland Spain, nothing more and nothing less. This needs to be well
understood by this honourable committee and we are here to point out this
irrefutable fact. The intermingling and intermarrying of the indigenous people

In 1809 we became an overseas province of Spain. Puerto Ricans asked for a special treatment due to the island's geographical distance from the nation's capital. Ramón Power y Giralt. We were an integral part of Spain. Our history is intertwined with the development and growth of Spain as a nation-state. A reminder that in the 19th century they did not have the communications technology that we enjoy today. In 1812 the first constitution of Spain was signed by a Puerto Rican. .with the Spaniards is a fact in our history that it is also shared with our sister islands of the Canary Islands located in the Atlantic Ocean. which today is one of the Autonomous Communities and one of the historical nationalities of Spain. as a historical nationality of Spain the Caribbean. In 1897 Puerto Rico achieves provincial autonomy granted by a Spanish charter called Carta Autonómica and then democratically elects an autonomous provincial government which is lead by Luis Muñoz Rivera. not a colonial outpost. This is the reason why the people of Puerto Rico have reaffirmed time and time again that their language is the Spanish language. We have been. that the Catholic church is still the major church by far and that their culture and traditions are still predominantly Spanish. For many decades. That is the truth about the archipelago of Puerto Rico. We are not something apart or different. we were the Province of Puerto Rico and all Puerto Ricans were Spanish citizens by birth. The following spanish constitutions reaffirmed what was our political reality. who then became the vice-president of the first national sovereign assembly of Spain. an integral part of the Kingdom of Spain since it's early days.

for example. Puerto Rico was at peace in the same way that in the Atlantic Ocean the Canary Islands was also at peace. Puerto Rico was celebrating the accomplishment that was achieved with the provincial autonomy in permanent union with the Spanish nation. Sadly we are still living and suffering the . the victory against the British in 1797. While Cuba was since 1895 fighting an independence war against Spain.Puerto Rico became Spain´s first autonomous province. In the Caribbean. we did not want independence from Spain. That accomplishment meant greater economic powers for the province. today there are seventeen and the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands are two of them. It is said that Puerto Rico was Spain's most loyal land in the Americas. We were at peace because we were content to be a part of the Spanish nation and that reason alone explains why we never grew apart from our motherland Spain unlike the rest of the Americas. Unlike Cuba. You can find examples of this loyalty throughout our history. the sense of loyalty to our Spanish nation was deeply ingrained in all of us. The invasion separated us from our motherland Spain against our wish and without our consent. powers that we do not have today under the present colonial status as a US nonincorporated territory. At that moment the self-determination of a province that wanted to remain permanently united with its nation and that was achieving economic and social prosperity was shattered. the heroic Battle of the Asomante and the memory of all the Puerto Ricans who defended with great honour the Spanish flag in 1898. On 25 of July 1898. we are invaded by the United States of America even though Puerto Rico was not involved in the War of Cuba.

the celebration of the Three Kings Day. Spain was forced to cede the island after negotiations to keep Puerto Rico failed. We were forced to admire George Washington instead of Ramon Power y Giralt. and tried unsuccessfully to remove the Spanish language in the schools forcing teachers to use English as the language of instruction in all the state schools. The Treaty of Paris stripped Puerto Ricans from their nationality of origin and exposed them to a cultural genocide. The Treaty of Paris was a monumental violation of the human rights of each and every one of the inhabitants of the Province of Puerto Rico. The Treaty of Paris snatched an overseas province of Spain which was at peace and had an elected government. The spreading of . From being an integral part of the sovereign territory of Spain as a province we ended up being a colony of the United States . We were invaded by an Anglo-Saxon nation who did not speak our language and which had a different religion. not as citizens who belonged to a sovereign state. different customs and traditions. They wanted Puerto Ricans to completely forget their past and their real identity. it was part of the sovereign territory of the spanish nation. The invalidity of the treaty concerning the Province of Puerto Rico has been widely discussed and studied for over a century. Puerto Rico was not an uninhabited archipelago when the US invaded in 1898. for example.results of this historic trauma in 2016. Right after the invasion the anti-spanish propaganda was planted strongly in the school system to alienate Puerto Ricans from their motherland. The Treaty of Paris treated one million of spanish citizens as a piece of furniture or object. a language no one understood and which was eventually rejected by the population. They tried unsuccessfully to erase important Spanish holidays.

They did not want Puerto Ricans see themselves as Spaniards or as part of the Spanish nation any more. The attempt to separate motherland Spain from its own citizens in Puerto Rico has been a constant goal of US colonialism since 1898.this colonial propaganda had a purpose: to erase Spain from the history of Puerto Rico. The voters have the power in the Spanish nation-state to influence their present local and national government and to place the reunification issue on the national agenda. The Island is not self-governing because the sovereignty of Puerto Rico is being held by the US Congress. We urge voters in the Spanish nation-state to promote within their respective political parties the issue of the reunification of Puerto Rico with Spain. the US Ambassador made a request to the United Nations to take Puerto Rico out of the list of colonies. The UN was clearly deceived and that is why we are here today at the Decolonization Committee discussing the colonial case of Puerto Rico along with other organizations and political parties. It is the Spanish nation-state the one that can invoke the . On 6 th of November 2012 there was a referendum in which 54 percent of Puerto Ricans voted against the current US colonial unincorporated territorial status (called Estado Libre Asociado in spanish) and the government of the United States has completely ignored the democratic will expressed in the polls by the people. the same way it has been done with the colonial case of Gibraltar. With the passage of time this had an effect in some part of the population but never reached a majority. which officially admits that we are a colony as an unincorporated territory belonging to the United States. In 1952.

That said. they called for a referendum and in this referendum it was denied the right of Puerto Ricans to reunify their island with its nation. This principle is endorsed by the UN Resolution 1514 (XV) and I quote paragraph 6 of the resolution ''Any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations''. also was denied the fundamental right to hold their nationality. Puerto Rico was not a colony or a territory occupied by Spain. being loyal to Spain. we present the following: In 1951. The same happened in 1993. 1998 and finally in 2012. It is not fair and reasonable to talk in this honourable committee about Self-determination if reunification . self-determined itself more than a century ago when the people of Puerto Rico endorsed the provincial autonomy charter in 1897 and elected its own provincial government. Puerto Rico was an integral part of the Spanish nation. The Principle of Self-Determination is the principle that this honourable committee has insisted on the colonial case of Puerto Rico. 53 years after the invasion. Puerto Rico was not the ''Casus Bellis'' of the War of Cuba. That self-determination was shattered by the invasion. The invasion of Puerto Rico has been without a doubt one of the most tragic events in Spain's history and it is up to this new generation to raise the reunification issue. In the second referendum (1967) for the second time it was denied the right to reunify the island with its nation. for the second time in a referendum it was denied the fundamental right to hold their nationality.Principle of Territorial Integrity. We remind you that Puerto Rico. The invasion of Puerto Rico by the United States in 1898 broke the territorial integrity of Spain.

Self-determination can not be used to deprive citizens of their nationality. Today we say respectfully but firmly: We have the right to exist as one of the historic nationalities of Spain and the right to return to our one and only nation which is Spain! . It would deny basic human rights to all Puerto ignored as a natural right. Without reunification as an option there can be no real and serious decolonization process for Puerto Rico. and to hold their nationality of origin. to deny them their right to be reintegrated with their nation. Failure to include Reunification as an option in the resolution of this honourable committee would perpetuate the outrage committed against Puerto Ricans by the Treaty of Paris. Self-determination can not be used to endorse and promote colonialism and the product of that colonialism. Puerto Rico as the eighteenth Autonomous Community of Spain and as part of the European Union guarantees economic prosperity and political stability to the Island and the region. There is no greater decolonization process than to reintegrate the Island with its nation from which it was separated by an invasion. a free association between those being colonised and the coloniser or the island's sovereignty as decolonizing options when the fundamental and unique right of all Puerto Ricans is ignored: the right to belong to its nation. It would make invisible more than 400 years of history and would disregard the spanish nation and its people. Spain. Reunification is the only status option that really belongs to Puerto Ricans. It is not fair and reasonable that in this honourable committee we can consider the annexation to the United States. the Spanish nationality. It would obliterate the Province of Puerto Rico and it would obliterate the nationality of Puerto Ricans.

That same day the US Congress passed a bill that could impose a Fiscal Control Board on Puerto Rico. the sovereignty of the island is owned by the US Congress. to the motherland's bosom.Finally. Thank you . The people of Puerto Rico deserve to be free from this historical injustice. Puerto Rico's colonial case needs to be discussed again in the UN General Assembly in an urgent manner and the archipelago of Puerto Rico needs to be included again (it was removed in 1953) in the list of Non-Self governing colonies. Puerto Rico's colonial case is not a domestic issue of the United States. this Board would consist of 7 people who would have complete ruling power over the elected government of Puerto Rico. On the 9th of June 2016 the Supreme Court of the United States said that Puerto Rico does not have any sovereignty. it is an international issue. it is time for Puerto Ricans to return back to their home which is the spanish nation.