The Cuban civil society organizations, with the support of regional and international organizations based in Cuba, join their voices to the international demand of independence for Puerto Rico, in tribute to the 148thanniversary of the proclamation of Lares (Grito de Lares) and in evidence of the solidarity that characterizes our people. That nation today is one of the world’s oldest colonies, disguised by the status of Free Associated State imposed by the United States, making the world believe that it is accepted by the Puerto Rican people.

The Cuban civil society organizations, with the support of regional and international organizations based in Cuba, state their satisfaction with the emphasized demand for the inalienable right of all peoples to self-determination   contained in the Statement of the 17th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the NonAligned Movement (MNOAL, its Spanish acronym), since that right continues to be denied to Puerto Rico, a nation forged before its occupation by the United States in 1898, with a culture, history, language and traditions that define it as a Latin American and Caribbean nation.

Puerto Ricans continue to be denied the possibility to decide over their future, and those men and women who fight for the independence of their nation are persecuted, imprisoned and even assassinated. Examples of this are Oscar López Rivera, who has been unjustly jailed in U.S. penitentiaries for thirty-five years, being the political prisoner with the longest incarceration worldwide; and Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, assassinated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations of the United States eleven years ago while those to blame still have not been convicted.

We appreciate and celebrate the work of the Decolonization Committee concerning the treatment of the Puerto Rican case and the passing of resolutions that urge the government of the United States of America, among other matters, to facilitate a process to allow the Puerto Rican people to exert their right to free determination and independence, in accordance with Resolution 1514(XV) of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Cuban civil society organizations – worthy representatives of the will and spirit of our people –, together with regional and international organizations based in Cuba, will not cease in the struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico and in presenting the Puerto Rican demand in multilateral forums such as the Decolonization Committee and the Human Rights Council of the UN.

Still present in our minds are the memorable verses of the poem “A Cuba” of Puerto Rican poet Lola Rodríguez Tió: “Cuba and Puerto Rico are the two wings of a bird: they receive flowers and bullets in the same heart”.

OSPAAAL has signed this Statement

Havana, September 21, 2016