Saludos desde Mayaguez, Puerto Rico:
Just got back from the Summit of the Non Aligned Nations. We had a Puerto Rican delegation of 12 people. We were treated with great respect and dignity by everyone we met.
Ironically the only place where we encountered server problems was in Puerto Rico both at our departure and our return.
Our delegation went openly to Cuba as Puerto Rican independentistas and others from Puerto Rico traditionally do. We have a long historical connection between our nations which predates the US invasion in 1898. At departure Homeland Security officers inspected every item in our luggage with special tissues. The process took so long that four members of our delegation missed the plane to the Dominican Republic. Nevertheless our reception there by Dominican governmental officials who treated us with great respect and solidarity allowed us to make the connection to Cuba successfully.
While in Cuba we had communications with the delegations of all the Latin American Nations present. The Presidents of Panama, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Bolivia meet with our delegation. The government of Cuba as is their tradition gave us special attention. The head of our delegation Julio Muriente met with Raul Castro. Just before the Puerto Rican honorary delegation head Juan Mari Bras spoke to all the delegates at the Summit, Raul Castro presented him by referring to the poem of Lola Rodriguez de Tio which states: "Cuba and Puerto Rico are like the two wings of the same bird." After our delegation's speech we presented a framed poster as a gift to the Cuban delegation at the Summit
Our purpose at the Non Aligned Nation Summit was to get international support for our demand that the UN General Assembly finally discuss in general session the question of Puerto Rican colonialism. We have at this point more than 20 resolutions from the UN Committee on Decolonization asking backing our right to self determination and independence from the US.
In the final statement of the conference Puerto Rico received the support that we asked for. There is a statement reaffirming the Non Aligned Movement condemnation of colonialism. A statement backing Puerto Rico's right to self determination and independence by any means necessary thus distinguishing between a terrorist and a freedom fighter and finally a statement backing our request for a hearing before the UN General Assembly of our case.
A happy Puerto Rican delegation started our journey home. Cuban officials accompanied us to the airport and facilitated boarding. When we arrived at the Dominican Republic, Dominican officials were there to greet us. Take us to lunch and facilitate our plane connection.
Ironically the problems started again with our arrival in Puerto Rico, the nation of our birth. Homeland Security Officials detained members of our delegation for more than two and a half hours. Again they went through our luggage inspecting and passing a tissue over every item. Again they asked many questions. Again, as we did in our departure, we stated that we had gone to Cuba to the Non Aligned Nation Summit. Our purpose, to espouse the case for Puerto Rican independence.
Each time a Puerto Rican "independentista" leaves our islands we confront "up close and personal" the fact that we are a colony of the most powerful nation on this planet.
Each day of life in this colony, especially during these trying times of Homeland Security, we have a constant reminder of the fact that we unlike our Latin American brothers and sisters are a colony and not a free nation. Today's reminder was provided by the intervention early this morning by the US FBI, for us the colonial police, in the apartment of a Puerto Rican "independentista" couple in San Juan.
Maria M Ramirez
Member of the Movimiento Independentista Nacional Hostosiano de Puerto Rico Delegation to the XIC Non Aligned Summit in La Habana, Cuba.