Taíno join opposition to Financial Control Board for Borikén (Puerto Rico)

Vanessa Inarunikia Pastrana and Roberto Mukaro Borrero sound the guamo 
(conch shells) to open the demonstration in New York opposing the 
U.S. imposed Financial Oversight and Management Board for Borikén 
(Puerto Rico). Photo courtesy of Mario Rubén Carrión
New York, NY (UCTP Taino News) - On Friday, September 30, a diverse group of human rights defenders rallied in New York to voice their opposition to the first formal meeting the newly created and U.S. imposed Financial Oversight and Management Board for Borikén (Puerto Rico). The rally was held outside the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in New York, home to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in NY. The rally opened with an indigenous Taíno invocation to the 4 directions and followed with about 3 hours of passionate calls to abolish the board and end colonialism for Puerto Rico. 

The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico was created by the Obama administration’s Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act, or Promesa as a way to deal with Puerto Rico’s economic crisis, which includes a debt of over 70 Billion dollars. Many activists and analysts note that it is the colonial condition of Puerto Rico that has created the crisis and the U.S. should be accountable for the debt. This control board named Jose Carrión III as chairman, clearing the way to officially take over financial decision-making from Puerto Rico’s government. A Republican, Carrión was recommended by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). He also presides over the Puerto Rico subsidiary of HUB International, a global insurance brokerage company. His appointment is controversial as he is the brother-in-law of Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s non-voting member in Congress. 

At the demonstration, Roberto Múkaro Borrero stated the “imposition of this financial control board by the United States violates Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination.” Borrero continued stating that “Promesa and along with the continuance of the Jones Act are clear proof of the island’s colonial status.” Borrero is a community leader representing the Guainia Taíno Tribe and is the current President of the United Confederation of Taíno People. Borrero continued stating that a specific area of concern with the legislation is that “it gives the board the power to expedite approvals of energy and other projects they deem critical, which could have severe consequences to the island’s environment if the projects are not evaluated properly.” 

Puerto Rico’s central government, three retirement systems (teachers, judicial and employees), university (UPR) and all its public corporations, including the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority and Electric Power Authority, are now under the immediate control of the new entity. The board also has oversight over the restructuring negotiations with creditors. The governor of Puerto Rico holds a non-voting position on the board, In addition, the board and its employees are exempt from liability claims. 

There is no information as to when the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico will meet next. 

UCTPTN 09.30.2016


Taino Flag flying at Oceti Sakowin Camp

Guainia Taino Tribal member Nova Saigo at the Oceti Sakowin camp with the 
flag of the United Confederation of Taino People 
and other flags of Indigenous Peoples 
Oceti Sakowin Camp, ND (UCTP Taino News) – The flag of the United Confederation of Taino People joins the other flags of Indigenous Peoples flying in solidarity at the Oceti Sakowin Camp in North Dakota where thousands of American Indians and their allies are opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline threatens the only fresh drinking water source of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its construction will destroy sacred sites and burial grounds of the area’s Tribal Nations. The flag was presented by Nova Saigo a member of the Guainia Taino Tribe registered with the United Confederation of Taino People. During the flag presentation, Saigo also read an official solidarity message from the Confederation to the “Protectors” at the camp and was assisted by Cliff Standing Deer Mathias, President of the Redrum Motorcycle Club of which Saigo is also a member. 

UCTPTN 09.25.2016