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Puerto Rico is a colony, then nothing will be solved by these hearings: we would be repeating the futile exercise of 1967 and would be holding the same mockery of a plebiscite. You Sir, Senator Johnston, are well versed in that process, since you were a participant in the same. The fact that you are here, after twenty two years, is the best evidence of that failure.

2) Our second question is: Are you willing to renounce the sovereignty that Congress holds over Puerto Rico under the Territorial Clausea nd under which yuo act as a result of the military invasion of 1898? If your answer is NO, we must forcefully come to the conclusion that these hearings are but a confirmation of the colonial status of Puerto Rico. There can be no solution to colonialism while Congress exerts its sovereignty over us. If, on the contrary, you are willing to renounce that power, then we would be clearing the way for a process that would put an end to the oppressive problem of colonization which our people have withstood for close to 500 years.

3) Our third question is: Will you comply with the current dispositions of international law as stated in Resolution 1514 (XV) known as the Mana Carta of Decolonization of the United Nations (Organization) and with other international norms which apply to the decolonization of nations? We would like a loud and clear answer to this. For a true dialogue, consultation and negotiation to take place, it is indispensable that you, Senator, as President of this Committee or in your personal capacity, as someone who carries weight in the legislation, give us an answer.

The failure to answer these questions would only lead to strengthen the mistrust of a people who has been fooled and deceived repeatedly in their claims and aspirations for political freedom.

These aspirations to independence, liberty and justice we have kept allve since the previous century and we shall never renounce them. They have cost many of us Incarceration and blood and some have paid the ultimate prize: their lives.

Today, there are more than twenty Puerto Rican patriots imprisoned in the United States. They have been condemned to lengthy terms for what YOU consider a felony but we deem an honor and a legal and moral right: to fight for the independence of our country. Just yesterday, one of us, Juan Segarra Palmer was condemned to 65 years in prison. Last week another three independentistas were sentenced in a federal court in Hartford, Connnecticut. These are not criminals, neither are they "terrorists" They are patriots in the same way that they share the common motives and ideals of the men your proclaimed "The Founding Fathers" of your country.

Should you really mean to open a meaningful dialogue and understandig with us, you MUST show your disposition to grant immediate amnesty to all of our political prisoners.

If, on the contrary, you insist on asserting the colonial rule or in forcefeeding us the culmination of that rule which is statehood, you would find youselves not with the 51 state but with a Northern Ireland within your confederation.

We favor a peaceful and viable route to Independence, one that is convenient to both you and ourselves. The Puerto Rican Independence Party has submitted a proposal to you which -as a working paper- is a good start towards a rational approach to end this shameful colonial status of the People of Puerto Rico.

The road to take, to a large measure, is up to you. For the time being. we demand that you provide answers to the three essential questions we have placed before you today.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Gallisa.
Can you understand English?

The CHAIRMAN. You stated at the end of your statement that the Puerto Rican Independence Party has submitted a proposal to you which, as a working paper, is a good start. If this is a good start, and assuming that we could approve some proposal similar to what they have proposed, submit it to the people of Puerto Rico to vote on, which, if they approved, would give the choice between independence, as they defined it, or something similar, statehood and commonwealth, is that a rational approach?

Mr. GALLISA. But you must see this process before reaching the process or at the precise moment of the vote of the content of an independence formula. That is why I am asking you these questions.

Do you understand that you are facing a colonial problem in Puerto Rico? That is basic. If you say no, well, then, communication has broken down with us, the independence movement, because you would give validity to the colonial status of the commonwealth in Puerto Rico as a solution to the problem of Puerto Rico. And there is no proposal of the Independence Party or any other that can be considered. That is why you must talk and define yourselves first.

In the second place, you cannot vote in a plebiscite under the present conditions that we vote in a general election. Ninety-one years of colonial power produces the greatest deformation in a human being and his mentality, his emotions.

The problem that you have with the citizenship memorandum has a sector of this country on the edge of hysteria. The colonial formation believes that losing American citizenship is losing oxygen to continue to live, and they believe that you cannot survive without American citizenship in that colonial confusion. You cannot vote.

That is why we need what the United Nations has compiled in the decolonizing experience of humanity. A transfer of power to place its people in a condition that they can express themselves without fears, without intimidation, and that requires a process that will be placing these people in a condition of sovereignty, which is the only way that they can assert the right to free determination, because for free determination you must be free, by definition.

That is why I want you to analyze what is, prior to the formulas that are submitted in a ballot to vote on, and your responsibility is, as a colonial power, in defining the positions. If you do not define them, then we are not going to resolve anything, and this would be a great loss of time.

The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you one additional question. Suppose we go through this process, the Puerto Rican Independence Party submits its proposal, that is included on the ballot, and the majority of the people of Puerto Rico approve independence. Would you respect that choice?

Mr. GALLISA. I cannot respect which is given in conditions such as I have explained. You see, I am in favor of the greatest expression and exercise of democracy of the people of Puerto Rico. But to

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this moment you have seen equality, what you call the fairness of the process, because you are going to give half a million dollars to each party, and that does not overcome the deficiencies. It does not overcome the enormous disadvantages of independence in a plebiscite.

Look, there are 91 years of colonial power, of telling us, the independence movement, that we are illegal in this country, of suffering persecution, by the FBI, the agencies, here, there and everywhere, that to be a member of the Independence Party is bad because you can lose your jobs, and there are few jobs in the country.

And the policy of North America has been in Puerto Rico to be synonyms of independence with something illegal, and that is not erased in one or two years. That requires a process of healing.

And that is why I say that international has compiled this experience in the decolonization of people, and the established transfer of power, and giving sovereignty to that people, and what is free determination. How do you think that a Puerto Rican can vote freely, because he is locked into a job and he is alone, and if he goes and they say if independence comes, you lose your veterans' benefits, and that is the only thing coming in; so they tell the recipient of the social security, if you vote for independence, you are going to lose you social security, lose your food stamps.

That man, that woman cannot vote freely. They cannot exercise the right to free determination, and that is what I want you to understand; that this cannot be an exclusive, normal process as any other colonial-congressional legislation, I am sorry. And this process we have lived under.

Senator Moynihan was an Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations and was one of the big opponents that we should take this case to the Decolonizing Committee. And he knows what international law applies to colonial people.

So this is not an internal affairs of yours, as you have tried to make it seem in the international community. Do not involve the international community with Puerto Rico because that is an internal matter of the United States. Colonial matters are not internal matters of the metropolis.

That is why humanity has declared the decade of the 1990s to the year 2000 for the total eradication of colonialism, and that is an international matter. And in your international policies, the colonial status of Puerto Rico is and you are in the bench as the biggest colonial power of this decade.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.

Let me say one thing on which we clearly disagree. Freedom of speech exists in Puerto Rico.

Mr. GALLISA. Not here, not here today. We have paid a very high price, we who favor independence, to make our right to free expression. We had to recently defy a ruling from Federal court which prohibited us from carrying out demonstrations and picketing in the streets next to that Federal court.

So it has not been easy, and if we have a newspaper today like Claridad for our movement, it is because it has cost a lot of blood and work to be able to have this paper in Puerto Rico. So it has not been easy to have freedom of expression for us who favor independence in Puerto Rico.

The CHAIRMAN. Senator McClure.
Senator McCLURE. I have no questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Moynihan.

Senator MOYNIHAN. Mr. Chairman, just for the record, I would like to thank Mr. Gallisa for his views, with which I am generally familiar. I would like to make it a point not to dispute but simply with respect to the United Nations resolution, General Assembly resolutions. They have standing in international affairs and command attention, but they are not international law and would not be recognized in a court as such.


The CHAIRMAN. I appreciate that comment from the former United States representative to the United States.

Thank you very much, Mr. Gallisa.

Finally, this morning we would like to welcome Mr. Juan Mari Bras, former Secretary General of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. He is accompanied by Dr. Jose Milton Soltero.



Mr. BRAS. Senators, the presentation we have brought to you from the two organizations that I represent, which are Cause Comun Independentista, a nonsectarian, nonpolitical organization, and the other one, the Puerto Rican Committee at the United Nations, the first one dedicated to promotion of Puerto Rican cultural values and the ideal of independence for our people, which is dedicated towards coordinating the international effort at the level of the United Nations between the different patriotic organizations.

This presentation, to be brief, since I see that you are anxious to leave for lunch, I would leave it to be introduced in the record in its totality. And I will say to you that the two organizations that I represent are 100 percent in favor, with no dissidence of the presentation that was given to you by Ruben Berrios Martinez, the President of the Partido Independentista Puerto Rico, and the one that was given to you this morning by Carlos Gallisa, the General Secretary of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party.

As you can see, both participations present different aspects, but equally important, of the colonial problem in Puerto Rico from the point of view of the independence movement. And you will see that the whole of the independence movement shares a common starting point.

Puerto Rico is still a colony in the modern sense of the word. It is people who are run by a foreign government, and in that sense, your participation in this process is the participation of the legislation.

When you analyze the constitutional authority that is invested upon you to legislate on behalf of the United States, this authority emanates from a glorious independence revolution which produced the Declaration of Independence and the foundation of the first independent, sovereign states in the American hemisphere.

But it is not that glorious, not even that, your participation, your dominion over Puerto Rico, the beginning of that was an armed in

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